Monday, November 5, 2007

Alone Inside Themselves

Trapped in a world - So misunderstood

The warmth in the eyes - Says all that it should

Although sometimes silent - Express loud and clear

Their needs, wants, desires - A friendly face to be near

Their shape has no preference - Nor age young or old

To teach them to triumph - Your heart they will hold

Someday perhaps science - Will bless us with cure

Till then we will nurture - May our patience endure

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Revealing Phone Call

I returned home in a great mood after my first session back with Ben. As I pulled my car into the driveway, I was still smiling, and all I thought about was how happy I was to see him in a safe and loving environment.

I walked into my door, and before I had a chance to even put my things down, the phone rang.

"Hello?" I answered.

"Hi, may I please speak with Mindy?" the woman on the other end asked.

"Speaking," I responded. "How may I help you?"

"Mindy, this is Anita; I'm calling from the Department of Social Services.

My stuff dropped to the floor, and I plopped into a chair.

“How can…um, how can I help you?” I stammered.

“Do you have a few minutes?” She asked. “I really need to speak to you regarding Ben Holmes.”

My heart started to beat fast. I told Anita that I had all the time in the world. She proceeded to tell me that Sally had been harassing the department for information regarding Ben, and that I was not allowed to answer the phone if she called me. Of course I had asked why, but didn’t expect this response:

“Mindy, Ben was witnessing domestic violence in the home. We pulled him and Emily out as soon as we were privy to this information. Sally, his prior foster mother has been lying. Apparently she hid it quite well.”

I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

First Session Back

I don't quite remember exactly how long I was holding Ben. It seemed like an eternity, but when I let go, it wasn't long enough. I threw him up in the air and he giggled.

“Ben! I’m so happy to see you!” I exclaimed. Truthfully, what I really meant to say was, “I am praising the Lord that you remember me!” That had meant the world to me. If only I could’ve expressed to Ben how much I had been thinking of him over the last three months, and how I’d been praying for his wellbeing… but the truth was, the smile on his face said it all.

“Go show Mindy you’re room, Ben,” Lisa said. Upon hearing that, Ben took my hand and although he didn’t meet eyes with me, said, “c’mon!” and pulled me in the direction of his bedroom.

I was….baffled. Was I delirious, or did Ben just initiate contact, respond to a command, and want to interact with me? Oh, and appropriate language, might I add??

Never had I imagined the last three months resulting in this kind of behavior from Ben. This poor child, at two years old, had experienced a series of traumatic events, but still smiled, still laughed, just wanted to play with me and enjoy life. I couldn’t help but wish I could be like him; to only take the good out of life; to appreciate the fact that I’m alive and breathing, and not let extraneous circumstances bring me down. This child was just happy to be in the world.

I opened the door to Ben’s room and he trotted right in. He seemed excited to show me his new room. “Wow, Ben!” I said. “You have a new room! I love it! What’s this?” I asked, as I pointed to his bed.

“Bed.” He responded.

“That’s right, Ben! It’s your bed, and what is on it?”

He made some sort of a “pfhsh” approximation, and with that I high fived him and said, “That’s right! It’s fish.”

Lisa had decorated his room adorably. He had a Finding Nemo theme, cute table and chairs, a bed filled with stuffed animals, and a large toy chest. The woman is going straight to heaven.

I spent the rest of the session getting reacquainted with Ben. We played on the floor, at the table, just enjoying each others’ company. Before I knew it, the hour was up, and after discussing the new program book and scheduling with Lisa, I left.

I was thrilled.