Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My broken heart

My heart is breaking. I can't stop the tears. I have to keep this child's identity hidden but for those who know me just know this is about he child that has stolen my heart. They all have a piece of my heart but this one is more capable of tearing through my soul than any child I have ever met in all my years of child welfare. He is 7 years old. He carries the biggest burden. He tries to be strong as is as strong as any man that I have ever known - probably stronger than most men I know. He has been being good. Today he had a horrible day. He disrespected the teacher very badly. He couldn't, therefore, go to drumming. I went to get him out of drumming and he looked so hurt. I took him into another room and said, "What is wrong, what has happened that you had such a bad day?" He started crying, trying hard to not cry but his tears started flowing and would not stop. He had a t-shirt under his shirt and her took it out from being tucked in to wipe his tears and nose. My heart broke again. How many times can my heart break for one child? How many pieces can my heart be in and still keep beating?

I asked him if he was still being beat at home and he shook his head no. I told him that what he said to his teacher makes me think that he knows too much about sex - more than a boy his age should know. I asked him if someone was hurting him in a sexual way and he shook his head yes. For my friends in child welfare - you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when a child admits this to you...for those of you who have never had this experience...I hope you never have it. It is the worst. I can't even compare it to someone dying. I believe when someone dies they are in a better place. There is no more suffering as we have on this earth. The joys in heavan can not even compare to the joys on earth. When a child tells me that someone is hurting them - I have to be able to help them - I have to be able to make the suffering stop. It is what I am trained to do. This child is carrying this burden alone. He is too frightened to tell me who. He will not tell. I tried to tell him that I can't help him if I do not know who it is that is hurting him. He just cried and cried.

I was holding it together and he stopped crying so hard and I looked at him and said, "Is it because you are thinking about not being in school for two weeks - having to be home for two weeks with no school?" He began crying so hard and shook his head yes.

My God. Where is my God? What child does not look forward to being home from school on a break? I pray for this child every day. I pray for all the children everyday. I hope everyone reading this prays also. I do not doubt that God is here. I see Him everyday working in the lives of these children. I do not know why these things happen to children. I have to believe He is helping this child cope. This child has so much love to give and he is so intelligent. He is an angel but what is happening to him is because of the evil that is allowed to roam.

When he let me know that he just did not want to be home for 2 weeks. I lost it. I couldn't help it. All the years of training went down the drain. I just cried. I held him and rocked him and just cried with him. How can I tell him that I love him when he knows I won't always be here for him? How can a little 7 year old boy know that a day won't go by that I do not think of him and all the children who have touched my heart?

He calmed and he began to read me a book. when he finished I told him that I needed to go to the bathroom. I really was going to find Ms. Grace, the principal. I found her and she was with his teacher. I tried to talk to her but I started crying again. I told them that I know he can be impossible but please know he is trying to control himself. He just can't. Ms. Grace has the right name. She is so full of grace. she went immediately to him and tried to talk to him. She told me that he would think about it tonight about whether he could tell us what is happening to him. He told me he had to go home because if he was late he would get a lashing.

I let him go. I went back to see the drummers and they were finishing. they asked me if I heard how good they were today. I just smiled and said "yes, I heard you. I was listening. You are doing so good." they just beamed. There smiles can take away some of the pain I feel. At night, when I am alone, the pain returns.

I hear the ocean. I watched it today. The ocean calms me. Somehow, the ocean and the sky in Belize makes me feel so close to God. It is so big. It is so powerful. The colors are like no where else in the world. God is here. No other way to explain the beauty or how people can exist day to day with such hard lives and still be so happy.

When I was leaving the school today a man pulled up in a golf cart in the school yard. He asked me if I was a part of this school. I said yes. He said tell me about this school. How can I put into words what this school means to the children here?

I love you all and miss you.


  1. my heart is breaking for you and the boy
    i send up prayers and wishes for both of you

  2. I asked the grad class tonight to pray for you if they prayed, and if not, to do whatever it was they did in lieu of praying.

  3. heartbreaking those kids are so lucky you turned up

  4. Hi Dr. Shakelford,

    I can't even imagine what it is like there. I almost don't want to. But, you and those children are in my prayers. I couldn't stop crying while reading your last post. All I can say is you are an angel to those children. How awesome that God has given you the strength to do what you are doing there. I don't think there are a lot of people with the strength to reach out like you are. I will keep praying and praying. With Love in Him! Dana Garner

  5. Thank God you were there during this time for him. I am sure that your support is more than he ever had. It will make all the difference in the world, when as an adult he looks back on his life, and recalls the person that showed him love and acceptance.


  6. Sorry Kim,

    I wonder if you could post this one on the facebook group. It is just shows the need that is in the school, and is so heartfelt it can not be explained any better than your words.


  7. Thank you for your prayers. I truly believe that God is listening. the little boy is handling things better. He has not told me yet who or what but he has been given some peace. You guys can tell whoever you want and post what you want. I hope I have kept the identity of the child secret enough. there are so many with needs I can't imagine anyone figuring out who it is at any one point. I really appreciate your support and I awoke with a peace in my heart the next morning and the abilty to face another day with a smile on my face.

  8. Hey Kim. Don't forget in the midst of your pain what you know about caring. We know that just caring can make a difference. With that in mind, all I can say is wow. What a difference you 've made in his life and the other lives...Sometimes people quit caring - they don't want to care in the first place or don't want to keep caring.. but when you are willing to hold a hurting child and let their tears mix with your yours I think they become caring tears. I love you. Now, breath. Your God is there. He traveled with you. Everywhere. Be still. I miss you so much.