Will you help me prevent a young girl of thirteen going on fourteen not give up ? Her name is Renee.
When I met her, she was homeless, a ten year old child on the streets by herself, as she was attempting to escape her mother who was a prostitute. Her mother expected her to "turn tricks" now that she was ten. So she ran, and then experienced the ugliest and darkest side on humanity at the hands of men who sexually assaulted her because they could.
Her abusers were not just men of the streets, but a school custodian and a principal. Yes they treated her like trash. Why? Because she was just a homeless kid, and because they could. They were punished for what they did, but that did not erase the scars, the deep hurt and distrust she had for mankind.
I was lucky enough to find a family who took her in, and eventually adopted her. Now at thirteen, you might expect a happy ending. Not yet! Besides the ongoing health problems she still experiences due to her ordeals as a child on the streets, foraging for food in dumpsters, trying to heal a broken immune system, she is so far behind her new sisters and other kids younger than her, that she is frustrated, shamed and angry. She talks of giving up.
She just wants to be loved like other kids. She just wants to be normal. In my eyes she is special as she survived more than I could imagine, but sadly what I know is true. However, in her new world, she is different. She does not fit in yet.Other kids make fun of her because she is not as well formally educated, even though she has the street sense that allowed her to survive, where most others her age would have perished.
I tell her how special she is. I tell her that we each have skills, something special we can do with our lives if we only could see beyond our fears.
I tell her she has a loving heart even after all she has been through, and that she could teach others a thing or two about life.
I want her to write so that she can see that she has things to say that could move people. I may be close to getting a nod from her to do just that, but she needs encouragement from the world that she feels at times has cursed her.
If you have the mind to send her a supportive note, please do and I will forward it to her. It might just help turn the tide of her life. She may actually believe there is life after all she has been through.
I remember something special about her that might help. When she was on the streets, my friends and I wanted to send her food gift cards for something decent to eatwhile we were working to get her off the streets. She refused any gifts, even food. She needed to remain strong, and if nothing else, she felt strong on the streets. She did not wish to be dependent as that would make her weak. She did not wish to TRUST anyone, to then find out their real agenda.
Instead, since it was the time of the Tsunami in Japan, she asked if we could do something for those kids. That should tell you something about this special little girl.
She needs to know her life matters. She needs to see the purpose in her life as we all do.