When children are born, they are one of the most helpless creatures on Earth. They need someone to feed them, keep them warm, and keep them safe. This responsibility usually falls on the shoulders of their parents and – most often – their mother. The bond between a mother and her child is undeniably strong. It starts at conception and it continues to build throughout a person’s life. This love is one of God’s greatest gifts. It has been my perception that a child will always seek out their mother and will continue to return to her even if it is detrimental to their live. Sometimes the child needs and wants mom so badly they cannot see how harmful the relationship is to them, and sometimes the child is filling the role of mom for the mom.
While waiting for her number to be called at the social security office, the young lady with me was eager to share some of her story. It was a story of mental illness, and abuse. Now 17, she has spent the last 2 years in state custody and has not seen her mother since. She slowly told me about the last time she saw her mother, it was when “she tried to kill me and my twin brother”. Her mother is bipolar and her condition is exacerbated by a drug problem. Although this young lady is behind on high school credits she hopes to graduate and go on to nursing school. BUT the first thing she would like to do when she turns 18 is move back home with mom.
Another example of the maternal bond is a young lady who aged out of the system. Last year she graduated from high school, turned 18 and immediately moved back in with her mother. What kept this girl in the group home for 6 years? It was not a healthy parent. Why did she go back into the exact same situation she was taken from? The answer was simply “that’s my mom”.
These two children have mothers who love them, even with their faults; to them they will always be “mom”.
I have a shocking story of a very troubled young lady. She was removed from her parents because she was acting out with drugs, sex and violence. She needed counseling badly but the parents couldn’t, or wouldn’t, help her with private counseling and the State couldn’t help because she didn’t exist. You see, she was born in a motel room, and there was no record of her birth. No birth certificate and no social security number – both of which are required in order to receive state sponsored help. Into the foster care system she went, so that she could receive the court mandated counseling. Whenever I saw this child, at the time she was 15, there always seemed to be a dark cloud over her – she was obviously troubled. The girl told me she was alone in the world, and that she was raised by someone who called himself her father. She said that she did not have a mother and without that maternal bond and felt broken and alone. Now here is the weird part, it is hard to believe, but sadly it is true. The man who called himself her father was actually her biological mother and the father’s girlfriend was actually her father. The bond between mother and child had been severed when she was very young and vulnerable, leaving her with an identity crisis, seemingly unsurmountable.
I don’t want to sound crass or backward. but I truly cannot understand this sort of behavior. I understand that people have their demons like drugs and alcohol, and struggle with mental instability but mentally abusing your child in this way is beyond my comprehension. They essentially shattered this girl’s life for what, personal satisfaction? She was a child who had God’s gift of motherly love slowly torn from her as she watched the transformation of her parents. I hope and pray that she allows herself to receive God’s love and grace. She ran away from the group home and now is in juvenile detention. What will be the cost of her survival, and will she ever be whole again? Sadly, I don’t believe I will ever know the answer. It is in God’s hands now. We will pray for her and be here for her if she ever comes back.
We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.
That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.