The Effects of Alcohol and Drug Abuse During Pregnancy
A Smile That Goes On Forever
I watched Jacob play today – trying to build a tower with the blocks around him. He always has a crooked smile on his little face – there is nothing you can do to take that smile away. He doesn’t understand right from wrong – he really doesn’t just get it. He tries. He tries to write his name – he tries to count the blocks – tries to sit still. But he just can’t.
Jacob is a kindergartner – new to me this year. I didn’t get much information about him before he came. I knew that he had been adopted by a wonderful couple who also adopted his younger sister. I know that he has a mild form of cerebral palsy. I know that he probably has at least some degree of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD.) And I know that he has a killer smile!
Today, I learned more about this little guy. Jason was born prematurely at 27 weeks – a full 13 weeks – early. I found out that he was born early because his mother tried to perform a late term abortion – her words – by using cocaine and other drugs in an effort to kill her unborn child. I know now that he was put into protective custody at three days old so that his mother would not harm him. I also know that this “mother” gave birth to a little girl barely eight months later and that little girl was also taken from her.
I learned that Jacob had been sexually assaulted for months before he turned a year old – in a foster home that was supposed to care for him and love him. I found out that in his next foster home he was placed in scalding hot water for several minutes because he had an accident in his pants – when he was 18 months old. I was told today that he was placed in a dark room for hours – sometimes days – on end with just a bottle every once in awhile in yet another foster care home.
I knew that Jacob was afraid of the dark. I knew he didn’t like anything hot. I knew that he had more fears than any other five year old child I had ever seen. And today I found out why.
How could adults treat children so horribly? How can people who are supposed to care about and love a child, treat him, instead, as if they were his own personal torture team. People who wouldn’t treat their pets this way, have no qualms about treating a poor, helpless little boy this way.
I also learned today that he (and his little sister) now has wonderful parents that would give their lives for him. So maybe today, I also learned that there is still hope in a world where so many horrors exist….
I look back at Jacob - my heart just melts - he is still smiling....