Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rachel's Child: Response

Kate is one of handful of writers whom I've never met, yet I have followed her life and her heart for years now. She wrote something yesterday--Rachel's Child, Part 1-- which I read this morning that left me with such a discomforting feeling, a rawness exposed without a band-aid. She recounted the story of a little girl who was her "client's child" when she was a social worker, yet she left this particular post dangling with a sense of hopelessness and despair. It is only Part 1, but my soul is already yearning to see what comes next. I'm not comfortable with this sense of dark wonder ... with the ability to only read chapter 1.

This story left its mark. I was compelled to leave a lengthy comment on her blog, and I wanted to save it here (for me) because I believe it's the catalyst to something else ... a something else I just can't quite put my finger on just yet.

I’ve read everything you’ve written since I became aware of your blog years ago, and when I became aware, I took months going back and reading everything that came before. I rarely leave you comments, maybe a couple over the span of a few years, not because I’m not “a commenter” because I am; I love to leave words that describe what your–the writer’s–effort and time has done to and for my heart, or how you have caused me to think about something I would have never considered or been exposed to. But rarely do I leave comments here, even though I would with pretty much everything you post, because … well, we’ve never met, and I often wonder if it would seem “weird” to you to have someone “that verbal” on your blog who you don’t know from Adam.
But this post … I couldn’t keep my fingers from the keyboard. This story reached inside me and grabbed, uncomfortably, at a piece of my heart that is not used to coming face-to-face with these kinds of stories–the ones that are far more prevalent than my daily life would ever allow me to assume, with too many outcomes that scream for both justice (towards the predator) and also mercy (for the child).
I know and love a little girl who is almost three and lives in circumstances so very familiar to those you have described. A housing complex replaces the hotel, but its conditions are just as dreary. Drug dealers, abusers of all kinds, and a mother who couldn’t care less that her daughter even exists–she just won’t release her to a family who would love to adopt her because she’s a part of this mother’s monthly check from the government. Instead of a daughter, she is income that can be spent on men and alcohol and drugs.
I read this line and understood it more than I’d wished: “I hugged the little girl, hating the system and its boundaries which were keeping me from taking her somewhere safe.”
My niece has had access to “our” little girl since she was a year old, originating from contact with a relative of this mom at church. And the mom has allowed her into this little one’s life because extended visits with my niece means she is free to do more of what she wants without the girl being in the way. There was even a time a year ago where she decided to allow my niece and her husband to adopt her daughter, to give her a home she knew she couldn’t and knew she couldn’t care less about trying to give her. But money and pressure from those around her got in the way and a month later she retracted her offer for adoption.
A year-and-a-half have passed and we’ve watched this little girl grow up some, and we’ve watched her change. When she’s with our family, she flourishes: talking, laughing, interacting and receiving love that is foreign to her in her home. But when she is returned to her “mom”, she retreats emotionally. They believe she is autistic because they’ve never heard her speak a word. When she’s with us she uses full sentences, and at three her vocabulary and level of communication is astounding. She’s potty trained with us; she’s in diapers at “home”. She is fully alive with us, yet they say she looks dead behind the eyes when she’s with them (little girl’s mom and grandma). It’s heartbreaking and leaves a sense of emptiness and hopelessness for the future of this little life. Will she ever become who God intended her to be when the life that surrounds her is one she knows (even at three) to retreat from?
I was so hoping that your words wouldn’t leave me dangling, but they have. I’m not sure what to do with what I’ve read … except pray for that little girl, oh that God would provide a way out of despair and into healing and love and a home where she would be surrounded by safety and not danger … and also the ones (and so many like them) who were in that hotel room, drowning in the darkness of sin and their life choices and the choices that were probably made against them too when they were younger.
But, in the end, I am left (for now) not knowing what to do with these words of yours except to wait for Part 2 and see if any light of redemption is shed into this darkness. Oh, please say that light is coming?

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