Child abuse is a critical issue that impacts our society. Last year, I became a foster parent and saw first-hand the impact of child abuse. Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children. The US has one of the worst records among industrialized nations—losing an average of five children every day to abuse and neglect. Sadly, a report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
When we received our first foster child, our hearts went out to him. We did not get a lot of information on his background. Our job as a foster parent was to simply open up our hearts and home and assimilate him into our life until the authorities figured out all the details of the neglect. This little boy was bright, articulate, engaging and full of life. I found it hard to believe that he could have been another forgotten child in society. We provided a place for him to thrive and did everything possible to show him love.
The more we got to know the details of the story, the more we became disturbed with the lack of basic care he received in his birth home. We learned that his birth dad could not be identified. The reason he had been taken from his home was because he and his three-year-old sister were found wandering in the middle of the night. At the time, the mother was in rehab and the then dad was found at his mobile home passed out possibly from drugs.
As we tried to better understand the trauma of the child, we realized that he had been removed from the parents’ homes a few times before. One of the most disturbing times was when he and his little sister were found neglected in the back seat of a vehicle while the parents were in the front seat unconscious from drug use.
The abuse and neglect were evident. He had very little social skills, terrorized the daycare providers and bullied other children. We tried a few different daycare centres but the anger and abuse he endured were rooted deep and he could not trust anyone. We demonstrated as much love and compassion for him. We have pictures of priceless smiles that will forever be burned in our minds. We did everything possible to love him. The scars of his abuse were buried deep within. He was a scared little boy. He would beg me not to leave him in the car seat if we travelled somewhere. It was obvious that he had endured much abuse. There were significant scars all over his body.
My sense of commitment to spread the word on this issue comes after 19 years of infertility. I want to be the voice of hope for the abused children. If I can serve you in understanding the foster care system, dealing with issues of infertility or the mentoring of young parenting, please reach out.
Copyright: tatyanagl / 123RF Stock Photo
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