Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Someone Else's Child

I am facing a huge delima. I have never been in this situation before, and my mind is consumed by it, day and night, and I know that I need to take steps to make it better. But how?

I have been witnessing, for quite some time, a family of three children with single mother that is going downhill. There is no lack of love, or of a desire on the mom's behalf, to help these young children grow up happy and healthy. But despite that desire, there is an extreme lack of parenting skills and understanding of how to raise children. It breaks my heart every day.

I watch this woman, my friend since I was a teenager, as she continues to make efforts, but fails nearly every time. She has had many other people (extended family, state agencies, school professionals) try to step in and help with the raising of her children, but every time the responsibility falls back on her, the kids become more and more difficult, violent, and emotionally withdrawn. There are no fathers in the picture, no male influence at all. My friend is hanging on to the very end of the rope, about ready to let go.

In the past several months, her oldest daughter has been sent to live in a "children's home" for kids with severe behavioral challenges. She was initially sent there for 2 weeks, but it ended up being a 3 months stay. This child is 11. Now she has returned home and is reverting back to the behavior that she was committed for.

The middle child, a boy, has had the police called 7 times for aggression towards his mom and sisters. He has a court date next week for an assault 4 charge. The result of this court may very well be sending him to JV. He is nine. I was at this boy's birth. I have seen the different sides of his personality, and I don't think it is too late for change.

The youngest child, a little girl, has been ok until very recently. All around her she is seeing aggression and neglect and has become a victim. I know she recognizes the attention her older siblings are receiving, and must think the only way to get some of that attention for herself is to act as they do. And who can blame her? Every day is a war zone in that home.

I want to bring the boy to live with us here in Iowa. We are far from perfect ourselves, but my family has love to spare, and a strong desire to show this little boy he is loveable, and to teach him how to be happy.   He loves no human beings more than he loves my son, Tyler and my husband. They could be a great example for kindness and gentleness and love for him.

It would be a difficult transition, no doubt. An extra body to feed and clothe and care for. But the chance that we could make a difference by helping this precious boy to feel loved and wanted, how could I not offer that? I know it would be worth it.

I am stretching out my arms, ready to love another woman's child. And she is there, grabbing my hands and begging for a safe place for her baby. Can I do this?

1 comment:

M said...

I am sorry to be so behind on your blog, which I absolutely adore. First of all, your photos are AMAZING. I have had a prejudice about the "flatness" of Iowa and you have put that deeply to rest. Second, I am incredibly touched by your compassion to this child given everything you have on your plate. I can relate as I feel compassion much greater than my ability to deliver. I know that this is something that I would not be able to do, because I am barely hanging on as it is. But keep us posted, and thank you for letting us into your life!