14 Mar The Path to Healing
It Began an Unimaginable Tragedy
This is a success story, but it began, as all of our children’s stories do, tragically. We were made aware of a child’s need for foster placement from a burns hospital. The child had 85% of her body was covered in burns, and we learned that she and three of her siblings were trapped in a house that their mother set on fire. We don’t usually see abuse of this magnitude, but all of our children have experienced some form of abuse, neglect, and trauma.
…the trauma this little girl endured was on a scale we rarely see. Her mother had doused her and her three other small children with accelerant, set them on fire, and left.
This child, the oldest, sustained the most burn injuries because she went back for each sibling, saving all but the youngest, who perished due to smoke inhalation and burns. He was five years old. Because of her heroism, the two of her siblings that lived, sustained far less burn injuries than she did.
…because of her heroic act, the two siblings that lived sustained far fewer burn injuries.
By the time she was transferred to our services, she was 9, and ready to re-enter school, and a more stable life. As we do for all our children who have a suffered burn injury, we went ahead of her to the school to do some education and outreach with her soon to be classmates and teachers. We explained that his appearance would be jarring. But that she was a normal kid inside, and could do all the things they could, with a few limitations due to psychological and physical trauma. The kids in her class very quickly accepted her, and made efforts to befriend and support her.
A Powerful Reminder
Then, as time passed, there was an upcoming dance at the school. We were in awe when she told us she wanted to go to what we remembered was an awkward experience, even for the most average child. She carefully planned, picking out what to wear, and expressed excitement about it. The evening came and she was welcomed by her peers, and had a great time. This was phenomenal for a child who had undergone so much devastating trauma. We see so many children in desperate, terrifying circumstances, who are scarred inside, and struggle to meet each day and achieve much beyond basic survival. To see a child who was scarred by his mother, both inside and out, manage to not just survive, but thrive, was emotional and sustaining for all of us. This is why we do the work that we do. If we can help one child manifest their true potential, we feel we have accomplished our basic mission.