Years and years ago (seems like almost a lifetime ago), I had someone very close to me that went through some very terrible things. Life does not always deal us hands that we think are fair. Life makes us question, at times, our faith and our purpose. This girl and her brother did not have a good start to life. Although not everything would be bad for them, there would be enough bad to make them both question at times their purpose for being alive. Their parents went through a bitter divorce when she was 5 and her brother was 2. She told me her parents spent more time fighting, arguing and worrying about adult issues than what was important and in their best interest, as is often the case in divorce and life in general.
To keep this post as short as possible, I won’t share the details of all that surrounded that divorce, but it was really bad! It would drag out for 4 years.
In the very beginning, they had a court date to determine preliminary arrangements for custody and a few other issues. The day the parents were due in court, the kids went with them. She could not remember who they rode with to court that day. She did say that she vaguely remembered seeing both of her parents, her grandparents and aunt that morning at the court house. The girl told me that they stayed somewhere upstairs in the court house while their parents were in court. They stayed with some court official until their parents were finished.
I remember her telling me that they arrived at the court early in the morning. How she remembered the details, I will never understand. Nonetheless, she said day would soon turn to dark. She told me that she spent the day waiting by the door with her brother. She stared out the window for hours and hours. As darkness fell, she said she was confused about why no one had come back yet. She always made sure that her baby brother was taken care of throughout the day. She always acted like a little Mother Hen to him, but as day turned to night, her strong spirit sank.
Finally, there was a knock on the door, but it was not their parents. This individual was from a place called Agape. The lady told them it was time to go home, but that they would not be going home with either of their parents, grandparents or aunt. She told them they would be going to stay with a family in a different part of town. She gave no explanations. This girl acted strong for her brother, but on the inside she said she was dying. She told me that she was confused and just did not know what to think. As I told her when I first heard their story, what 5 year old or 2 year old could understand something like that and at that age?
The girl and her brother would now be in the foster care system. How do 2 children, leading what seemed to them to be a normal life, get abandoned at a court house with not one good-bye, not one hug, not one kiss, not one little thing? She said that she laid in bed that first night and just cried and cried. She said that she can even remember the dress she had on that day. This event would change the course of their lives forever.
She would tell me at times, with tears in her eyes, that she just didn’t understand why the 2 people that were supposed to love them the most would be the very ones that would hurt them the most. I could see the hurt in her eyes and it broke my heart. Although she was much older when she told me the story, I could see in her eyes that the pain she felt back then was still living deep in her heart. And although she turned out well, considering all that had happened to them those 4 years in foster care and the years that would follow, the same could not be said for her brother. He had struggled through the years. It was uncertain if he would ever be able to get his life on track, and she felt responsible. She was the one that raised him and cared for him throughout the years. I would always tell her that it wasn’t her job. He was not her responsibility, but in her eyes, her young age did not hold her any less responsible for him. He was just 2, a baby. In her eyes, how could she not mother him and care for him? He was everything to her and the only constant in her life.
Now you may ask, what does any of this have to do with DCR? This story will give some insight into my bottom line, my motivation and my heart. A lot of people have questioned my intentions and don’t truly understand what I am all about. I am not an evil person that spends my days looking for others to fail so I can write about it. We all fail along the way. I just want to make sure that people with the wrong intentions, motivations and agendas are prevented from hampering the growth and success of the very children they have promised to educate and advocate for or the very people they were elected to represent.
There are people we meet along the way that touch something in us that we never knew was there. Those 2 kids I knew, they touched something in me. They didn’t get a fair start in life. No one considered what their feelings, wants or needs were and wouldn’t for a long time to come. People always wonder why I don’t just shut up and quit worrying about what goes on in our schools or in our county, and the answer is pure and simple. My heart never wants to see another child or person hurt the way that girl and boy were. I refuse to sit back and be quiet when others choose to do things that are wrong and that are hurting the very ones they are supposed to be helping.
Adults get so caught up in the hubbub of life that they lose the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child, much less their own children. Life experiences, education, career and people change us along the way, but when we let those things wipe away our ability to remember what it was like to be a child, what it was like to think and act with a pure heart, what it was like to be honest to a fault or what it was like to love unconditionally, then where have we really gotten? When we allow life to erase the memories and feelings we had as a child when someone hurt us, we erase the solution to a child’s problem today that is in that same situation. The world isn’t nearly as kind and forgiving to the broken adult version of that cute, little girl and boy that weren’t given a fair chance at life.
People can criticize me all day long, but at the end of the day, I will never quit fighting to make things better or be afraid to stand up for those that have no voice. That little girl and little boy had no one, and I can’t change that for them. What I have done is learned from them and hopefully, I can make a difference in the lives of other children that have no voice and in the lives of teachers that are overworked and afraid of speaking out.
That is my bottom line.