Not an Animal

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She was given away by her mother at the age of five.  The details for this decision are unclear.  Desperate people in desperate situations do desperate things.  This is almost understandable.  The thinking could have been, “I don’t have the resources to take care of my child, so someone else may be better able to take care of her”.  If this was the case, then it’s almost understandable.  At least there is reasonable logic behind it.  But it’s what happened next that is unconscionable.

Posing as a family who could take care of the little girl with curly hair, was easy.  Anyone can lie and manipulate.  We all do to some extent.  Unfortunately, the desperate mother was too easily deceived.  The family too deceptive.  And because of their deception, the mother released the curly headed girl into the (un)care of the deceivers.

The mother never returned to the home of the family to check on her daughter.  For whatever reason she simply disappeared.  It’s unknown if the family had anything to do with the disappearance.  But it is definitely known they had everything to do with what was to happen next to the girl.  She in fact did not become a part of the family - at least not in the proper way.

She did live with them, but not “with” them.  She lived on their property, but not in the house.  Instead of the people becoming her family, the animals did. To be specific, the hogs.  She, in their eyes, was an animal.  Another pig perhaps.  Perhaps not even on the level of a pig.  Because pigs are fed and fattened, for a purpose.  But her only purpose was to satisfy the men of the house.  A toy.  A plaything.  An object.

No one can imagine what this girl truly went through. No one!  And as you can imagine, she still suffers from the effects of sleeping with the pigs, chickens, and dogs.  As time passed she began to see herself as one of them.  Unworthy of love.  Unworthy of respect and decency.  When you have to fight over table scraps with animals that are your equals, the damage it does to you lasts a lifetime.  Unless.

Unless one encounters the God who restores, the Godless actions of others is forever damaging.  Unless one meets the God who loves, the loveless will be the god of your life.  Unless one surrenders to the God who saves, one must surrender to the god that destroys.

Fortunately for the girl who lived with pigs, she has met the One and Only God that restores, loves, and saves.

She has come a very long way in her road of recovery, but you can still see the pain and fear.  She doesn’t trust easily, how could she? She doesn’t love recklessly, who could blame her?  She doesn’t socialize comfortably, why would she? She keeps her distance and guards herself.  But she also smiles, then gets embarrassed.  She hugs, then runs away.  She engages, then gives space.  Little by little she has changed.  And it’s a beautiful thing. 

 

12 and Pregnant

*The children in the photo are not necessarily the children in the story.

Being 12 years old and pregnant is probably one of the worst things you could imagine for a young girl.  No more hope. No more future.  No more innocence.  This girl’s opportunities for a successful life were taken away.  Her chances of a completed education are slim.  Her chances of living above the poverty line are no more. The possibility of finding a husband who will accept her baby is not likely.  But unfortunately, being pregnant at 12 is not the deplorable part of this story.  The horrifying part is who the father of the baby is.  

Unbelievably, this story gets worse.  You see, the pregnant girl is one of three daughters that could have been impregnated by their father.  The one who happened to get pregnant is a twin.  The other sister is 11.  So in reality, any of the three could be carrying their father’s baby.  All three were at risk of doing so in the future.  Because all three were being raped by the man who is supposed to be their protecter.

The good news is the three girls were rescued.  The bad news is only two came to Shadow.  The new mother is still in the hospital with her baby/sister.  She will not be joining her sisters at Shadow, but instead will be taken to another home.  This is heartbreaking to say the least, but also necessary.  We pray the sisters will be reunited as some point, but we don’t know when or where.  We also pray that Shadow will be able to accommodate young pregnant teens in the future.  In fact, it’s something we must do.  The need is too great.  The delay too long.

The words “no hope” and “no future” used above, only apply to the physical life of this victim.  There is “a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) in the spiritual life of this child, if she gives her life to the Lord.  We can only pray she does.  This is why we must pray for the resources to support young girls who find themselves in similar situations.  The calls to accept pregnant teens at Shadow come frequently.  And the answer is always a very painful “no”.  

The dream is there.  The call is there.  The desire is there.  But the resources are not.  A new home must be built.  It will be named Casa Maria (Mary) after another unwed pregnant teen you may have heard of. House grandparents must be found.  They will help these young mothers raise their child, show them how to parent in a Godly manner, and teach them the love and patience of Jesus.  Generations will be altered for the better and futures will be changed forever.  Physically and spiritually.

 

 

The Stolen Child

*Picture do not necessarily reflect the child in the story

The new mother struggled to survive after giving birth to her one and only daughter.  After many days in the hospital she was sent home, still unable to walk or take care of herself.  The complications continued as she struggled to make it on her own.  So bad was her health that a “friend” offered to take care of the new baby while she recovered.  This was a mistake that would haunt her the rest of her life.

The mother’s health issues would go on for years.  But regardless of her health, what happened changed the course and the future of the baby’s life forever.  The “friend” grew so fond of the new baby that she never returned her to the mother.  In fact, the decision to keep her is what brought her to us.  Only after the mother decided she was healthy enough, did she want her daughter back.  But by this time it was too late.  The baby and the “friend” had disappeared.

For 12 years the mother has been looking for her baby.  For 12 years she has lived with an emptiness that most of us cannot imagine.  For 12 years the wrong person was raising her child.  And for 12 years the baby grew up with a lie.  The woman who raised her was not the woman who gave her birth.  The woman who she knows as “mama” is a liar and kidnapper.  The life she has known will never be the same.  All because of an opportunistic woman who wanted a baby of her own.

We don’t know why she stole the baby.  All we know is that she did a horrifically selfish thing.  She loves the girl like her own.  In fact, she was caught and exposed while trying to adopt the girl.  In her own twisted way she wants the best for the girl.  But she wants to fulfill her own desires of being a mother first.  Her love for the child is real.  But the love of herself is greater.

Because of one unthinkable act, the girl is now separated from the only mother she has ever known and the mother who gave birth to her.  As the courts try to sort it all out, the girl will stay at Shadow.  The psychological stress on this girl is more than anyone should have to deal with.  The broken trust, the lies, the confusion, the separation are all weighing heavily upon her.  She feels lost, betrayed, and deceived.  But she also feels hope.

Despite all that she is dealing with, she now knows to whom she truly belongs.  She has been introduced to a Father that will never leave her or forsake her.  A Father that will always love her, guide her, and protect her.  He is a Father that does not lie, does not deceive, does not betray.  And even though her case may take years to figure out, she knows her Heavenly Father is in control.  No matter where she ends up or who she ends up living with, she has a Father that will be with her wherever she goes.