A bit of a downer...be warned

I don’t know if this is something that’s going on all over the country, but this year we’ve had several children killed by the boyfriend (usually) or the girlfriend (most recently) of the child’s parent. Here you have a single parent, usually a mom (and in most of these cases, very young) who trusts her lover to take care of her child. Now, you know what it’s like to see a man with a child, how something just turns over in you when you see how tender he can be.

I’ll give these young women the benefit of the doubt. Maybe in her presence, he was gentle with the child, was affectionate, if not loving. Maybe she asked him to watch the child, usually a toddler. Maybe he volunteered. Maybe she hesitated, realizing how difficult it would be for someone inexperienced with children to care for one.

Like I said, I’m trying to give these women, and the one man, the benefit of the doubt. After all, they lost a child. I’m hoping that it was just misplaced trust, that they had no idea what these murderers were capable of.

One man slammed the child against the bed, hitting the headboard, repeatedly, and then called 911.

The woman, the most recent one, held the child under scalding water, then threw his little body in the apartment pool and said he drowned. The police saw the steam burns on his face and realized what happened. My mother-in-law said that woman should suffer the same punishment.

At the beginning of the school year, I met the mother of one of my students. She told me her child was going through hell because the stepfather was so mean to the child, so the mother was going to divorce him. I told her it took a rare woman these days to choose their child over their man, and I was proud of her for doing it.

My mother chose my brother and me over a man, marrying a family-oriented man when I was 14. My mother-in-law chose my husband over a man, remaining single instead. Women do have good judgment, most of the time. Is it the need for security that has them putting up with abuse? Is it a fear of being alone? Of being responsible? I can’t understand it, but then, I’m not in their shoes. But I think – I hope – my maternal instincts are strong enough to fight for my child.

But I can't leave this on that note. There are people who put themselves on the line for kids. I happen to work with a real life hero and a real life heroine who both stepped out of their ordinary lives for children. Both are in their 50s, and each of them is an adoptive parent.

The hero and his wife started out as foster parents before they adopted a family group, the youngest of whom is now going into middle school, the oldest just turned 16, and the boy has some emotional problems. This man (who became a teacher at the age of 55, pursuing his degree after one of the local AFBs closed) has opened his heart to these troubled children, and went above and beyond to keep their family together.

The heroine and her husband married later in life. She already had a grown son, but her husband wanted a child, and so they adopted a little boy from Eastern Europe. When the little boy, now 8, asks why they picked him, she tells him because God told them to. To this child, who lived in an orphanage with dozens of other children until he was two, these people saved him, offered him everything he never could have had.

My friends would be embarrassed to be called "hero" and "heroine." To them, they just followed their hearts.

8 comments:

Bonnie Ferguson said...

It's terrible when people hurt children }:( or when we hear examples of women who choose a horrible boyfriend over the welfare of their child. I think it would be very hard to argue your Mother-In-Law's point. Stuff like that just angers(to put it mildly) me.

Yay to your Mom and you Mother-In-Law :) And thanks for sharing the wonderful story about your heroic friends!

MaryF said...

It's just so hard to wrap your mind around, right, Bonnie? I wouldn't treat my animals the way some people treat their children.

Suzanne said...

Aw, that's so sad, but what a wonderful story at the end!

MaryF said...

Yeah, I just couldn't leave it on that sad note. Must be the romance writer in me!

Michelle said...

As a mom, stories like that really bother me. I can't imagine how anyone could do things like that to a child.

But thank goodness there are adoptive parents out there who will give a child a second chance at a good life. :)

MaryF said...

Michelle, don't you just wonder where THEIR maternal instincts are? I've been a teacher 17 years and I've seen cats with better instincts when it came to their babies.

Amie Stuart said...

Yeah to your heros--esp your mom and MIL. I've chosen my kids, and getting my life in order over a man (unless I find one who's not egotistical nad knows more about computers than me LOL).

It's HARD to walk away from relationships like that...I know I've done it and you get so mentally beaten down you believe you're worthless. For me, the breaking point was my kids and I walked 9 years ago this month. =)

MaryF said...

Cece, I can't imagine how hard that must be. You are definitely a heroine. I hope you find a man worthy of you and your kids.

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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