A couple nights ago while out to eat I spotted a girl who used to live at the children's home. The mere sight of her, although far away, left me shaken again. When I saw her I was in the process of removing my on the verge of tantruming two year old who had just spit a mouthful of milk on the table. By the time I'd walked outside she'd already gone.
The last time I saw this girl she was being taken away by police for striking another child with a bat. At least I think it was a bat, I don't quite remember.
It was a Tuesday evening and like all my other Tuesdays I was on the way to the children's home with a bag of activities. As I walked out of my car this girl, lets call her Jane, ran over to me with a big smile on her face. She threw her arms around my neck and gave me a giant hug. "Hi sweetie! I'm so glad to see you!" I said, and we walked towards the front of the house arm in arm.
As we walked through the front door the staff saw Jane and exclaimed, "What are you doing out of your room?! Did you escape through the window?" They escorted her to the office to be supervised until the police arrived.
Inside the kitchen area I put my bag on the table. A few of the other kids came over to see what activity we were going to do. I pulled out duck tape and promised to teach how to make wallets, bowls, flowers, etc. Several kids sat down at the table, eager to get started. After a little while the staff let Jane out of the office and allowed her to participate in our activity.
The police arrived and Jane went with them to answer questions. Mark, the boy she hit, came in and suddenly I realized this wasn't just some little pre-teen spat. The entire right side of his face was covered with blood. He paced the room angrily and talked under his breath. His eyes were wild and his body tense, ready for a fight. I closed my eyes and began to pray.
Another police car arrived and as the officer entered the home he shouted, "Hey! Some kid is coughing up blood out front!" Everyone ran outside. James was biting the inside of his mouth hard in order to make it bleed. Then he would spit pools of blood in front of the police car. A someonecame back inside and said, "It's ok. It's just James. He always does that." No, it's not ok. I thought and continued to pray.
Eventually Jane came out. She was crying. The police took her away in handcuffs. The other kids told me she'd never been arrested before so she was just scared. It would be ok though, juvy isn't that bad.
I continued to pray and tried to teach the other kids how to make wallets. The whole experience was unreal. Nobody seemed the least bit upset besides Jane and Mark. The other kids acted like this was no big deal. My heart was in a million pieces.
I've often thought back on that night as both my best and worst night at the children's home. The best because with all the business of police questioning I actually got to spend a lot of solid quality time with the other children. The worst because Jane had been violent, Mark was hurt, and now Jane was gone.
In just two hours I'd experienced first hand the world in which these children live everyday and it was sobering. So when I saw Jane again the other day, even just for a second, it brought everything back. My heart again in my throat I am pushed back to prayer. Lord, Jane needs to know and see your love for her. I really hope she's does.
*Names of all children changed.