Monday, August 15, 2016

The Lost Children

                         The Lost Children


                                                  Sam James

      The Lord loves little children. I myself have come to a growing realization of how vulnerable to the whims of their parents and other adults little children are. We trade them about as though they are items in a flea market, pass them from hand to hand: Buy and Sell: Little Children---Get them while you can.......
      Every one of us knows of a little boy or a little girl torn asunder by their parents, the courts, and the agencies designed to protect them---or not.
      For the sake of simplicity, I will use the example of a little boy to avoid using he or she each time. For clarity, little girls remain as well these small victims.
      This little boy is born into this world, a gift from God.
      He arrives to biological parents who haven't a clue what being a parent is all about: responsibility from Day One to Moving Out Day many years later. Yet they are part of a family themselves, loved by someone, raised by someone, two families now joined together, and Baby Makes Three.
     Mommy is indifferent to him, not knowing what to do with this growing little boy. Daddy only wants what is his---never mind that "he" is a living soul created by God, and deserves what all little children should have: a loving, stable home--A responsible  mom and dad, grandparents and cousins who delight in him and play with him, and teach him values, and love him, friends and neighbors who care.
       Instead, his life is torn asunder, this little boy with the winning smile. Ripped apart by a Daddy on drugs or booze or an ego trip or a temper rage and a Mommy who has been programmed to think Daddy can do no wrong, no matter how cruel or controlling he might be.. Or by a feuding couple of adults who each want his or her own way without compromise. Never mind their child. Oh how sweet he is, this little boy only over one. One year of life, and he is a happy child. He doesn't know that Daddy downs cases of beer almost every day, that Daddy loves his drugs more than he loves the Little Guy, that Daddy rules the roost and dictates all the family is allowed. That Mommy does whatever Daddy says, and hasn't a chance to develop any ideas of her own. Never mind that Daddy one night does terrible things, smashes the windows, barricades the door, afraid that his enemies, both real and imagined, are out to get him. Never mind that Mommy fears for her child's life,  and calls for help.
        But, that is later....Now this child  is so loved by other family members who have taken care of him and played with him, in whose  arms he has cradled and slept; Aunts, uncles, grammas and grampas., loving him  maybe more than anything in the world except The Lord. He doesn't know them all who might have loved him, the ones God has taken home maybe before he was born. Maybe The Someone who might have loved him best.  Then his shelter, the one in whose arms he cradled and slept, age very old---maybe Gramma, or Uncle somebody  is gone, taken to be with the Lord. He does not know this. He comes over, just having learned to walk, and toddles down the hallway to look for that person in the  room. He looks in, but that one is not there. He comes back to the living room, but-- not here, either.. How much fun it was to push the  wheeley thing  around the house and laugh up at the one whose arms are  held out  to him......but that one is gone, and is not coming back.
     Little Guy does not know this. 
        So now it is just him, this little boy so full of life from the very moment life was given him in this world.
         Daddy has gone crazy, Mommy is crying and screaming, trying to protect him. The cops are at the door but they cannot get in because the door is barricaded from the inside. Now Little Guy is screaming, awakened from sleep by confusion, noise, cries, screams, not knowing what is happening because he is too little.  But the cops get in and Daddy squeezes his son so tight he might die, but he won't let go.  Somehow Little Guy is rescued, Daddy is gone, and Mommy is distraught.
          This is little Guy's life now. Daddy off to jail, Mommy's trying to rebuild. Friends and family rally round, and good people help with Little Guy, caring for him more and more. He is loved by many, and then trouble begins when Daddy gets out of jail and does what Daddy does best: Please Daddy. He lies and plots and schemes and gets people believing him. He has lived his life this way and it has always worked. It works now. Mama and Daddy take Little Guy and flee from the police.....and things go from bad to worse., and The Authorities are in the Mix.
           Little Guy is in their hands . He is placed in foster care or guardianship under The Authorities. At first he doesn't sense what is being done to him. At first he does what all children do: Trust the Grownups in whose care they are.
        But the Grownups don't act Grownup.
       Little Guy is being tugged back and forth in the courts and handed from home to home, like a discarded but valuable package somebody wants for some reason, even if it's because "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, too......" He doesn't know this, but he begins to be uncertain and confused. Or maybe he was lucky  has been placed  in a loving home with a loving family, and now this is all he knows.
        So when he is taken in to meet Daddy and Mommy, he thinks he is just going somewhere else for a little while, and Mama will come and get him and take him to Papa, which he now calls-- by his own choice--, the parents in the family who are raising him. He thinks he belongs to them and is secure in knowing that they are his and he is theirs.
       But enter Daddy, gone awhile, and now back with  Mommy. He has seen Mommy all this time, but who is this Daddy? Mama is on Daddy's side, Daddy is on Daddy's side,  Little Guy has come to love the family with whom he has been placed. He has been in their care for a year. They have a stable family life. He loves them.
        He does not know that  Mommy has  the say of who can and who cannot see Little Guy. Mama gets even with her own family members she thinks betrayed her and Daddy. So she dictates who now can and cannot see their beloved Little guy.   Little Guy is further robbed of those who love him too, with all the love to go around, Mommy and Daddy don't think of that.
        When Daddy comes into the Mix, the tug-of-war over Little Guy begins.
       No one is going to tell Daddy what he can do with "His Son". Never mind that Little Guy loves the family he is with, that they can give him a decent life: They have jobs, children, a stable home life. He is now two and has learned many sports and is good at many things. He calls them Mama and Papa. He has structure in his life, he has goals, he has security and is surrounded by moral decency and love and lots of fun things little boys and little girls love to do.
       Enter Daddy. The lies have not stopped. The beguiling begins. Little Guy is not wanted because Daddy wants him: Little Guy is wanted because Mama gets money from the State and having Little Guy will get them money from the State, and Daddy has declared he cannot work because he has health troubles.  But Daddy works at hard stuff when he thinks no one else is looking.
    Daddy  thinks he is fooling everyone and that, as soon as they get him back, No one is going to tell them who can see Little Guy and who can't. He and Mommy can do what they want. Daddy likes his way of life, and is careful not to show it to The Authorities. He thinks no one else knows, or can see through him. Or in some cases, maybe it is Mommy who is the strong, controlling one. Nevertheless, they will have their way, no matter who else gets in their way or gets hurt, even Little Guy, who is loved by so many and who loves so many.
        In the past their way of life has been to avoid work and live on welfare. Now it includes begging on streetcorners with a sign proclaiming they are homeless. (Most of the time they are not, but this is a way of life for the irresponsible mommies and daddies of whom we speak, of whom there are many).(Some of the Mommies and Daddies are rich, and ruthlessly battle in the courts for their property--The Little Ones)
         This is Little Guy's future when Daddy gets him back. And he knows he is getting his kid back, because he has snowed The Authorities. They see what a nice guy he is, or has become.  He claims he cannot work, but still does odd jobs for beer money and cigarette money. Or maybe this is Mommie, as we said---one or the other.
          Or maybe these irresponsible parents play on church people, claiming a new life, a reformed heart----sweettalking---anything to get their own way. Little Guy hasn't a chance.      
      Already Daddy is making demands to Little Guy about  his other family, what he is now supposed to do and say to them. Already Little Guy is confused. He has only been with Daddy a few times now, and Daddy is upsetting his world. He has become a part of his adopted family now. He has had them for over a year or two.
       Daddy does not deserve Little Guy. Mommy and Daddy have no structure in their lives, no means to support Little Guy, no way to give him a good life. Yet they want him because, probably, the state will give them money to raise their child. So now Little Guy is ripped from a stable family and put in a dysfunctional home where who knows how he'll end up.
      Mommy and Daddy beg on the streets. The possibility exists that with Little Guy along to sway the drivers, they could get a lot more.......
          Or maybe Little Guy will grow up lying and stealing to make ends meet. Most certainly no one will teach him much of value, for dysfunctional, irresponsible parents don't care about Little Guy.  They care---whoever they are---only about themselves.
         Because "No one is going to tell Daddy what to do."
       Daddy has no intention of sharing "his" son, our Little Guy, with those who love him.
      Daddy and Mommy have never cared about anyone but themselves, and nothing is different now.
       And so, hundreds of thousands of  Little Guys and Little Gals are being tossed about, fought over, torn about by The Authorities whose only goal is get the children back with their irresponsible parents---and the irresponsible parents---The Mommies and Daddies---whose only claim to these little lost children is that they gave birth to them--only want them back so they can use them to get whatever they can from the Welfare.
      How sad. How heartbreaking.
       Never mind the children. They are damaged. They are the ones on the losing end. They are lost to any kind of good life they might have had.
        All others lose except Mommy and Daddy.
         And in that case, what a blessing that children have no memory or their early years. What a blessing they have no memory of the good life they could have had in the care of their foster or adopted families or guardians.
          And what a greater blessing the God can overcome all . .
          But still,
          What heartache,
           what sorrow
          for those of us who are all
          left behind,
             and shut out
           The families: the friends, the ones who truly cared--
      All the others who once knew and loved and cherished
              The Little Guy, The Little Gal,
           All The Little Children
            Lost to us

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