The Thing No One Wants to Talk About

I have been quiet on this forum lately, mostly thanks to technological issues that always seem to crop up in the quiet pre-dawn hours while my 5 children are abed and I have time to write. And also, frankly, because there has been something lurking below the surface. Let’s just say I had “a bad taste in my mouth.”

1391259_after_the_stormI left in May with 4 of my 5 kids on a 3-week road trip to see my parents. Only 3 days into my trip, I got the call that every foster parent dreads. My 13-year-old was on the phone, “CPS is here and they think one of our former foster kids has been sexually abused.  They already interviewed me and now they are interviewing Dad.  They want to talk to you.”

I did my best to calm down my child. She was pretty freaked out, not because she thought anything would happen to us (which frankly never occurred to her), but because this little child we all loved so much had been harmed. It freaked me out too.

So for three weeks while I was thousands of miles from home, this dark cloud followed me that I could not shake. I lay awake at night and prayed for her and her adoptive parents. I worried about her future. I fretted over my own teens, whose innocent faith in the goodness of people had been shaken to its foundation. It was terrible.

The day after I got home, I was interviewed as well. I worried about the innocence of my 3 little ones who know nothing about anything. I had nothing to fear. I was very impressed with the professional way in which the CPS interviewer talked to my 5-year-old; the only one, it turned out, who was even mildly cooperative with being interviewed. The other two acted as if they had been shaken out of a barrel of monkeys on Mars. They spoke gibberish and hung upside down in their chairs. They did tricks and kept trying to touch the interviewer’s keyboard. Oh my.

The investigation is closed now, but they did not find the perpetrator. I was not surprised. This particular child had been passed around since infancy and left in the care of anyone who could help her poor and struggling single dad. He did his best for her, but it looks like somewhere along the way, he trusted the wrong person. And in a moment or a day or a series of days, her life — and the lives of all who love her– was forever changed. I want to be very clear in saying that the alleged abuse did not occur in the foster care system but apparently in the informal network of friends and acquaintances who helped him in the 3 years before he made the difficult and loving decision to create an adoption plan for her.

It’s a tough thing. It’s the thing that no one wants to talk about.  And it is happening every day to innocents. God bless them.