As I was walking down a long hall at the end I was seeing a room with a desk. Behind that desk was a little girl who would stick her head around the corner of the desk to watch me for a few seconds and then disappear behind the desk. She continued to play her peeking game with me until I reached the end of the hall. When I stepped into the room where the desk stood that hid her small body she jumped up, ran to me, grabbed me around my waist and said “Are you my new mama?” I took her by the hand and told her that I was not her mama but that she may be coming to stay with me for awhile.
Hand in hand we walked on into the room where we met the little girl’s social worker. Indeed she was the little girl that I had come to take home with me. She was to be our first foster child. She had just turned five, was cute as she could be with beautiful brown eyes, brown hair and a smile that would melt your heart.
After taking care of the necessary business I once again walked down the long hall but this time I was not alone, that little girl and I were walking hand in hand out of the building and to my car. We drove to my home where we found my hubby standing on the porch watching as I drove into the driveway. I barely got the car stopped before the little girl jumped out, ran to the porch with her arms out-stretched saying “Daddy, daddy, daddy!” She climbed the steps and gave my hubby a great big hug. He was a bit surprised at becoming and instant dad but took it in stride as the three of us walked inside.
This little girl was not in our home very long before we knew that she did not know what many things were. She did not even know the names of common household items. When we went out in public she would call every lady she saw her mama. When talking about different ladies she would refer to them as ‘my mama at the office’, ‘my mama at the store’, ‘my mama at home’ and so forth. She could not speak well and her vocabulary was very limited.
Soon after she came to us I was told she had spent most of her life in the backseat of a car with her baby brother and a very large dog. She had rarely been taken from the car and when she was it was for very short periods of time and it was usually to be spanked or abused in some way. Food was thrown in the backseat and she was in competition with the dog to get food for herself and her little brother. She had been sexually and physically abused.
Because of the abuse and neglect and her limited vocabulary it took several years of psychiatric therapy as well as speech therapy to get her caught up to her age level and to teach her among many other things that every lady was not her mother nor was every man her daddy.
She had never bonded with anyone so to get her to bond the psychiatrist had me rock her, put her in diapers, let her sleep in a baby bed and give her a bottle and/or pacifier if she wanted either or both of them. He told me to basically treat her as if she were an infant and do for her just like I would if she was still a little baby. She only sucked a bottle a few times and did not wear the diaper for long but she slept in the baby bed quite awhile and I rocked her a lot for a long time. After a few months she bonded with me and made great progress after that.
When I did things around the house I would tell her the name of everything I used and explained to her what was to be done with it, for example when I swept the floor I would say “This is a broom, we use it to sweep the floor so it will be clean and no longer dirty.” I named everything I used and that we saw when she was with me and continued to do so day and night for years so she could learn what she should have learned the first five years of her life and was not given the opportunity.
Psychiatrist and doctors tested her many times giving her several different tests. I was told that she had ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and that she was Hypo-Active which caused her to be inattentive and sluggish in her movements and actions. I was also told she would have a reading problem and may never read at all. I refused to believe that. I purchased books and began working with her and she did learn to read. I used flash cards to teach her words, hung notes with names of things around the house on them so that when she looked at things she could see the word and learn to read what each thing was. Everywhere we went if we saw words she and I would read and spell them. I didn’t remember ever hearing the word “diphthong” before this little girl started speech therapy but I learned all about them right along with her.
When someone tells me something cannot be done or may not be possible, well that just fires me up and I have to see if that is true or not. I believed with all my heart this little girl could read and learn if given the chance and she did. I am thankful I was allowed to give her that chance. It was a pleasure and honor for me to be the one to teach her and give her a fair start in life after the horrible beginning that was given to her.
This beautiful girl was adopted, graduated high school, grew into a beautiful lady, met a nice looking man that she married, and they have two wonderful children. At her job she works with special needs children, loves her work and is doing great in her chosen profession. She has never walked out of my life for she was not only our first foster child but our first adopted child. I am so proud of her and what she has made of her life. She has a heart as large as the world.