At work, I have one of the three shifts helping to manage the chaos of lunch time for our kids. I manage the youngest kids from kindergarten to second grade. It's nuts at times and a bit deafening, but I do find snippets of time when I get to hang out and chat with some of them. It's fun to let my hair down a bit and cut up with them.
Today as I made my rounds up and down the tables, one of my kiddos from last year stopped me with a big hug. I turned to look and she had a horrible red welt under her eye. She proudly showed me her battle wound (she's used to being adorable and eats up the spotlight) and I asked her with genuine concern what had happened. "Well, I was bad this morning and my mom slapped me."
It was all I could do not to just walk away.
Come to find out apparently on her way to school this morning her mother slapped her hard enough to leave a swollen eye with a faint outline of a palm on her face. I was appalled, saddened, and confused. I knew her mother. I also knew that this little girl was adopted. They fought for her when her parents neglected her.
Several of the other staff that knew just shook their heads and shrugged it off as a situation handled. I couldn't shake it though. It stuck with me all day. I am certain that mother didn't send her to school knowing she had a huge display of what had happened plastered across her little face. I couldn't imagine the course of events that will probably take place over the next few weeks. Will the older children resent their adopted sister for the trouble she caused? Has this been going on longer than we know? Turns out a previous teacher had suspicions of abuse but no proof. Had it really been going on that long? I can't believe that such a happy bubbly infectious child could have been rescued from abuse only to land in an abusive home again.
Hubby came from an abusive home. I make a point to listen closely to Hubby when he talks about things, even if I've heard it a million times. I think it is important to acknowledge and validate his feelings about his past. It has given me a very different perspective on some of our children's behaviors and histories than many of my colleagues. I see my husband in some of my kids' eyes and it's a horrible, humbling thing to deal with.
One of my deepest fears is that God hasn't allowed Hubby and I a child because he knows something more about us. What if we weren't meant to have kids for a reason? What if one of us can't handle parenting like we think we will? Should we stop our quest for kids and just let things be?
In the meantime I am going to use this just another reminder to never take a single child for granted. Every child no matter their behavior or situation is important and special and I have an opportunity to help them be the best they can be.