This blog has sat in my drafts for too long, I thought that if I ignored the task of writing it I would be able to somehow dodge the harsh realities of the children who come through my house. That I would be able to shift through everyday tasks a little easier, I figured I wouldn’t feel and remember the stories of each child. For the protection of the children their names have been changed, but unfortunately their stories still remain the same. I believe that story telling can change the world and bring awareness, I believe in the redeeming love of Jesus and I hope that one day every child who has passed through my house will come to know that love. My biggest prayer is that after reading these stories you are compelled into action.
I ask that you pray for protection and strength over this young girl *Rene who was returned to her mother. *For her safety her name has been changed*
On the evening of March 8 I received a girl named Rene who unexpectedly arrived to my house. She was brought by two social workers in the DINAF truck, crying and extremely distraught. Since I did not receive a call that she was coming to the house I guess you could say I was not prepared in anyway. As I quickly walked to the door to receive her, Rene’s shaking hands and slurred speech brought tears to my eyes as I tried to comfort her and assure her that she is safe here.
Rene had already been removed from her mother’s house before with reports of abuse. She arrived to my house with blood stained jeans and heavy eyes. As I am still learning silence is ok I just sat with her at the table and listened to her soft cries, my heart ached for her. The psychologist came that night to do the evaluation, and Rene shared her story. Her mother had beaten her and slammed her head against the wall after Rene was caught doing drugs. Her mom had ripped her clothes, schoolbooks, and almost everything she had called hers once before. As if that wasn’t enough she had a large cut on the inside of her mouth from when her mom had beaten her, needless to say I was broken for this girl.
The next morning DINAF picked her back up, and she was once again returned to her mother. Last Saturday Rene showed up at my doorstep, she had come back to visit and spend the morning at the house. I am once again reminded of God’s goodness, I am continually reminded through the small things that His love prevails in every circumstance. I have been keeping a journal of all the children who have come through my house. There are prayer requests, thoughts, and stories of each child within my journal. I found that writing everything out has become a release for me. It wasn’t until this month that I realized I was holding everything inside, that I wasn’t giving it fully to Jesus. It wasn’t until 3/9/16 that I fully realized I needed to surrender, that these kids weren’t and are not mine, their stories are not my burden to bear. These children are in the hands of a Heavenly Father who is sovereign and all knowing, He makes beauty from ashes. I needed to release and fully trust Him.
This story is hard to swallow, as I look back at the tear stained page in my journal I take myself back to this date. *Names have been changed for the protection of these children*
The morning Rene was picked up I was asked how I felt about taking a little girl with severe medical issues. Child services explained she was at an orphanage and they had overdosed her on the medicine she was taking. They informed me that *Hannah is 8 years old and would be soon be admitted from the hospital with nowhere to go. I told them we would absolutely take her along with the boy *Joshua whom they were working on finding a safe place for. Later that evening Child Services showed up at my doorstep. The social worker knocked on the door while the kids waited in the truck. She explained to me that the little girl was in a rough state, seconds after she said that the truck door swung open and Hannah came storming out of the truck walked herself right into the house and started walking in circles through each room. The social worker looked at me awkwardly laughed and said she needs to be watched at all times (no kidding)… The teenage boy slowly got out of the truck nervous and unsure. He had a stained yellow shirt on that was about 4 sizes too small, dirty pants, and shoes that barely fit.
As we all made our way into the kitchen Hannah was running circles around us, holding tightly to a pink bunny that she had brought with her. Child Services explained her medical condition and why she was in the hospital, after I was given a list of medicine that was longer than my arm I began to get flustered. As Hannah ran circles around me and kept trying to pull her pants down to go to the bathroom in the kitchen I knew I was going to have a long week ahead of me.
Once child services left I felt helpless and extremely incapable of what was just dropped on my doorstep. As I locked eyes with Samantha (my roommate) we both just looked at each other in silence. As the evening went on I began to understand this little girl had more going on than just health issues. As dinner was served she hovered over her plate as if she were an animal, using her hands to shove the food down her throat as fast as she could. At bedtime she went off like a light switch, fighting me, screaming, and refusing to lie down. I remember at one point just sitting down and watching her bang the door until I thought it was going to break off the hinges.
After a long night of no sleep the next few days did not seem to get any easier. Long days of cleaning bodily fluids off the floors and walls, watching her every move to make sure she wasn’t hurting herself, changing her in and out of diapers since she could not control her bladder or anything really for that matter. Having to give her cold showers because that was the only thing that would calm her down when she was in rage, endless hitting, hair pulling, and biting.
I locked myself in my room and just began to cry. I felt so deeply burned, I had one child after the next for about 3 weeks at this point. The stories so deeply burdensome, I had not given it to God. I could feel myself getting frustrated with Hannah, wanting her to leave, wishing she would be picked up and brought somewhere else. In this moment I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit ever so powerfully, I was reminded to be still and rest in Him. Resting in Him was something I was not doing, I was having my quite time and reading His word but I was not resting in Him. To rest in Him means giving myself and all my burdens FULLY to my Heavenly Father, this is something I was not doing. I felt like I was in autopilot moving from one child to the next, the same routine. Caring for them, saying goodbye, then onto the next. A process I am just now beginning to get a hold of.
Hannah broke me in the best way, as I knew I would be having her for a week I came out of my room and put my best foot forward. From that moment on something changed within me, I knew I had given everything bottled up inside me to Jesus. I could see Hannah slowly let her guard down and beginning to feel more comfortable. She would sit by me, follow me around the house, and watch my every move. Constantly confirming with me that she was going to be fed breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack, with her shower following dinner, as I would repeatedly reply “Yes Hannah” to her every question. The days seemed to feel more like normal instead of a Rock em Sock em Robots game (I was always the loosing robot).
One day that week Hannah woke up restless, she spent the whole day angry at me and anyone who was within range of her, it seemed as if we were going backwards and I didn’t understand. Once again the day was spent pulling hair, biting, hitting, banging on the walls, doors, anything that was insight really. That evening the power had went off, the house was pitch black. Hannah’s little light switch went off and she went ballistic, as I struggled to find candles to put around the house for some light Samantha tried to keep her contained in the bedroom. The power had finally come back on but Hannah was not calming down. She started throwing herself and banging her head against the wall. As I tried to restrain her I was being bit and punched. While she kept telling me to tie her hands to the door and leave her there, my heart ached as I wondered what this little girl had been through. She eventually fell asleep, then once again spent the rest of the night pacing around my bedroom.
That Monday her uncle had requested to visit her. Hannah was elated when she saw him, she completely changed, she was smiling and filled with joy as she spent time with him and the psychologist. This was the day everything changed, you see this little girl didn’t talk. She used very few words, noises, and her hands to communicate. March 14th is that day that Hannah told her story, she told it very clear with details, remembering very clearly each part.
Her mother had abandoned her when she was a child, so her father raised her. Hannah’s father worked in a coffee plantation and would sometimes bring her to work with him. One-day men who worked at the coffee farm called Hannah over to where they were gathered and stated they had candy to give her. Within minutes she was being brutally raped. While she was being raped her father saw, and began to beat her. After this little girl was raped she was beat by her own father… days later her father was killed by the same men who raped Hannah. Then she was moved once again to an orphanage, from the orphanage to the hospital, and from the hospital to my house. In 8 short years this girl has experienced more than I probably will in a lifetime. Come to find out while she was in the hospital the nurses would have to tie her hands so she wouldn’t hurt herself at night time, she was traumatized at a coffee farm, and those words remain in her head, “La Finca”. I once again feel myself going back into my autopilot mode, as the same day Hannah told her story I received another teenage girl, and two teenagers who were within my care ran away.
*all of this is from the mouth of the little girl, but nothing has been proved to be true by law*
As I have stated before, I thank God for His grace and mercy as I need more and more of it each day. I thank Him for His goodness and patience, for His love. I know He has these children in His hands and His light overcomes every form of darkness. I have been journaling, diving into my bible, and now truly resting in him. This blog was my release, my burdens, and my heart. I hope that as I move forward you will choose to do the same. My biggest prayer is that you will join me in lifting up the voices of children who are not heard and continually look for His goodness in every circumstance.
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.