Of Butterflies and Bunnies
When he was just 14 months old, he seemed to understand the concept of love completely. He knew instinctively who cared for him and who didn't. And why? Because for those first 14 months, his life had been turmoil. He had not lived in one place longer than a few months at a time, his parents were drug addicts, he had been used in a horrible manner as a baby victim in a home-produced zombie film and who knows whatever else his young life had tolerated. Finally, that part of his life seemed to end.
But now...at 14 months...he gradually began to develop an ease with us that he had not expressed to anyone else. You see, he is a loving child and as he grows, that nature comes out even more.
He never had problems sleeping in his own room, in his own bed, with his own toys. But then, almost 3 years later....those that had hurt him in his younger years were back in his life. Suddenly, the peace, calm, loving way of life was gone for him. He no longer had his own room, his own bed, his own toys, his own place in a loving home. He was an outcast from his own parents.
From time to time, he would return to us. Always running into our arms, smiling, oftentimes crying that he had missed us so much. He would spend countless hours playing again with his toys, in his room, in a home that loved him and that he loved. Unfortunately, his nights weren't as peaceful anymore. He had trouble going to sleep...now afraid of the dark. He had bad dreams, and was afraid to go to sleep. So, enter 'butterflies and bunnies'.
I well remember one night after we had all gone to bed, that he came into our room, sobbing that he was scared. I got up, cradled him in my arms and sat with him in my chair until he calmed. Then, taking him back into his room, he began crying that he was afraid that someone would come take him away. As he lay there in the shadow of the nightlight, I sat beside him and gently said "then just don't dream about butterflies or bunnies anymore!"
His crying slowed to a sob, and he replied "But I don't dream about butterflies and bunnies." I replied "Really...you must be. But, just don't do it anymore, then you won't be afraid."
While this little darlings life hasn't gotten any better, he knows he is loved. While he still isn't with us as much as either of us would like, he knows that he has his own room, his own toys, his own bed and that if he doesn't think or dream about butterflies and bunnies at bedtime, he will sleep peacefully through the night. I can only pray that he remembers this when he is away from us.
Good night my sweet little prince....and don't dream of Butterflies and Bunnies.
Open Letter to Society
This story is a truth that exist for thousands, perhaps millions, of children in this country and around the world. They live in constant abuse including but not limited to physical and emotional .... but often the lack of food, clothing, shelter and love. The court systems in the U.S. especially need to take a closer look at what they are putting these children through.
To remove a child due to neglect and abuse from the natural parents is traumatic enough for a child, but when they (the parents) make no efforts to become the loving parents they should be and actually express an interest in the child and don't expect them to just a source of income through welfare.....why return the child to them? Especially when the child is happy, cared for and loved in the current environment.
The child described above is now a lonely, unhappy, beautiful little boy who lives in a house full of arguments, verbal and physical abuse and doesn't want to be there! But, will the State move in and help him? No. They will do nothing to help him until he is injured, and even then, there are no guarantees.
It's a sad state of society that allows this to happen. If you don't want to care for and love your children you have two choices - either give them up for adoption or let others who want them adopt them. Don't continue to punish your child for your mistakes, or feel that you are punishing your family for not letting them live with you. You are only hurting the children. And they won't forget it.....the hurt you inflict on them in their younger years will stay with them.....IF they can learn love through others, they might be fortunate enough to survive emotionally. Otherwise, they will probably turn out just like you!
Sad, isn't it!
For those of you who do care....continue to try making a difference in a child's life. And, if those happen to be members of your own family, don't let them discourage you to do the right thing! Those children need you! They need to know that someone loves them and will care for them! Every waking moment you spend with a child, teaching them love and respect, will help build their character, even living in adverse conditions because they will know it means PEACE for them.
Love the children and don't let them forget what it means to be loved!