Monday, November 24, 2008

Two Boys In Need. We Can Help Them Find A Home.

Dear friends,

This is a very unusual letter to send out to all of you, but I hope you read it to the end and send it to everyone you know. Maybe you know, or maybe someone else knows, how we can help these boys.

My sister Andrea is a special needs teacher in the Detroit area. She regularly tells me heartbreaking stories about the children in her class. She has worked in several public school systems and never has she seen such obvious abuse and neglect as she has with the two boys she describes below. She has tried calling protective services numerous times, until they told her to STOP CALLING because there was nowhere for these boys to go. She asked them what she could do to help in any way, and protective services told her to find someone to take the boys, so she is on a mission. She called me because she knows that Trevor and I have a wonderful faith and friends community, who in turn have wonderful friends. Maybe one of you can help, or maybe someone you know can help. Let's rally around these boys so they don't spend 2009 living in terror and abuse.

A key point: the boys go together. They check in on each other several times a day, they are united in fear and love, they need each other and absolutely should not be split up. The family who takes them in must be very special indeed.

Here is what Andrea wrote to me, to send to all of you:

J is 7 years old. His father is a foster child to Beverly and Robert and I don’t THINK is married to his mother. A few years ago, Protective Services took J and his 3-year-old brother, C, away from their parents because of too many abusive reports. All that he has told me is that they would throw him on the ground and against the walls and hit and kick him. He feels that it is his fault that he was taken away because he told people at his school and they came and took him the next day. He still feels a lot of guilt from this. Once PS took him and his brother away from their family, they were sent to Detroit, where they were placed in a foster home and attended Detroit Public Schools. J has shared numerous stories about this time in his life, but it is very difficult for him to talk about without shutting down. The boys were strapped to the toilets and beaten, had to play a game called “Scorpion” were they were forced to lay on their backs while they were molested and abused, they were hit, kicked and flat out abused. I am not sure how often mom and dad were in the picture at this point, but they did not have custody. I do know that they have been in and out of drug rehab quite a bit and that dad has been in and out of jail. After, I’m sure another PS call, the boys went to “next of kin,” Beverly and Robert.

This is where the boys are now. Beverly and Robert are their foster grandparents and currently have 9 other foster children in the house, 11 total, all who have some form of severe mental and/or emotional impairment. Beverly is approximately 400lbs and rarely leaves the house and Robert is thought to be on the Autism Spectrum. They are clearly unfit parents. Beverly has a way of brainwashing and convincing people of crazy things. PS has been called over 11 times on this family and they SOMEHOW still have all of these children. J and C have been living with them for approximately 9 months. J is very aware of what is happening in his life and will occasionally express his emotions to me, in a subtle way. He has mentioned numerous times that his grandpa is an alcoholic and does bad things to the kids. Over the summer, one of the foster girls was sexually touching the other foster kids. J has to clean the bathrooms with the same toothbrush that he brushes his teeth with. The boys sleep under the bed together because they are scared to be in the house. When they do sleep in the bed, if they are punished or if they are sick, they are chained in the bed. There has been mention that they get locked in a room with no doorknob on the other side. A few weeks ago, J came to school upset and eventually told me that grandpa was drunk again in the morning and threw a beer bottle at him and swore at him all morning. J was covered in beer. This Monday, he came to school with a black eye.

Occurrences such as these continue, daily. After the beer bottle incident, I made a phone call to PS. They said that it was the 11th call made on them and they just don’t have anywhere for these kids to go. Nobody wants to put work into them. They are so worthy of work.

The next day, after the PS call, J came to school and would not talk to me. He is usually happy to see me, but this day was obviously angry. He went through the day this way and finally at the end of the day, when I tried to make conversation, he broke out in tears and said that he thought that he could trust me and that I lied to him. He said that his grandma told him that if he talks to me anymore that he would be sent back to Detroit. He said that PS came to his house and they were the same people that took him away from his mom and dad.

It is heartbreaking and not right. J is a wonderful boy with a huge heart. He has not had a chance in life. All he needs is love and guidance. He needs to feel that he is safe and worth something. He will be a very difficult child to take care of for a while and exhibits many disruptive behaviors, but they are all behaviors that can be turned around and changed. His brother does have some acting out behaviors, but they are not at all like J. C just wants to have fun and adjusts well, where J is always trying to protect and is very untrusting.

I do know that their mother still has some kind of visitation rights, but she does not get along with the grandparents, so it has to be supervised, during our school day. She has only come once and after she left, J could barely control himself. He blamed himself for all that has happened and started shouting out all of the terrible things that have happened to him in the past. I truly think that the only reason that mom is in the picture is to get back at the grandparents. She threatens Beverly. She is just using them. I really think that she would walk away if she had the chance and knew that the boys were with a new family.

I really feel like I could go on and on about this situation. Thank you for caring about children like J. You don’t even know him and yet are investing in him. If only you knew him, you would not think twice about helping! Please let me know if you need any other specifics. I didn’t describe Josh much or his behaviors and those things are important, but let’s just start somewhere!

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