(Elyse recently asked me to share this on Facebook)
We have been studying the human body. We were talking about fingerprints and how every single one is different. It was a wonderful talk about how each of us is unique and different. Later that evening Elyse asked me this question.
Elyse – Mom, how come your fingerprints don’t scar? I mean I have scars all over my body but I don’t have them on my finger. It was cool what we learned about in school today. You lose your skin but you still have the same fingerprints.
Me – Do you mean your finger tips? Why would you have scars on your fingers sweetie? Did you burn them? Did something happen?
Elyse – No, when I was really bad. I mean really bad. The nanny would pick up the skin on the end and cut them with a scissors but I don’t have any scars.
Me – (Trying to stay unemotional because she stated this fact with no emotion whatsoever. It was like she was discussing someone styling her hair.) Why would she do that?
Elyse – It was only when I was really bad. Like when I asked her why she was being mean to someone. I think she just wanted people to be afraid of her so we wouldn’t tell on her and she wouldn’t get in trouble. She finally got fired though.
Me – They finally fired her? I’m happy to hear that. You know that no one should touch you like that or hurt you like that. You know you don’t deserve that right? No one deserves that.
Elyse – Yes, I know that now. No one should hurt me. It’s just the way it is mom. Some people didn’t care and left us alone. Some people were just mean. No one really cared about me because my legs didn’t work or at least that’s how I felt. It’s just the way it is.
Mom – I’m sure people cared. It’s just different. It’s a different culture and your love language is hugs. No one really hugs there so you had a hard time.
Elyse – Mom, do you think people understand that it’s not a good place to be a kid? Do you think they understand how much these kids want mommies and daddies? Why don’t more kids get adopted? Do you think it’s just because people don’t know that they need familes? Why can’t we adopt mom? It’s not fair! We should adopt 3 more. Could we tell them we will stop at 3 more? Please mom.
These are the things that are hardest for me. Things that are part of their past that just become an every day occurrence. It doesn’t stand out as something that was horrible. It just is what it is. These are the hard things. It’s not hard to help Elyse cath, or help her in and out of her wheelchair. It’s not hard to reach the things she can’t reach or help her get into the tub. What is hard is trying to heal the pain of past hurts. The trauma is so much bigger than the physical issues. Elyse is a blessing. She is joyful, sweet, caring, and so very bright. How many Elyse’s are just waiting for a family of their own?
I know it’s hard. I know it’s out of your comfort zone. I know it’s ridiculously expensive. I know it’s scary beyond anything you could even imagine BUT the longer they wait, the harder it is.
Last year internationally adoptions were at their lowest. 5,647 children got families. It is estimated that there are millions of orphans waiting worldwide. There is a foster care crisis in this country right now. There are 400,000 kids in foster care. 100,000 wait to be adopted. 20,000 will age out without ever receiving a family. (Adoptuskids.org) This isn’t ok. Don’t kid yourself into thinking this is ok and someone else will do it.
Do something! Anything! Just don’t close your eyes and pretend it isn’t happening. Elyse, who was adopted at the age of 9, has asked me to share this story so that people understand that kids are waiting. She says they want families so much! She wants you to understand that bad things happen, but the very worst thing that happens is feeling like you just don’t matter.