Sunday, April 21, 2013

Million March Against Child Abuse

I have to admit that as I scroll through my Facebook posts, I will move my mouse a little faster when I see some of author, children's advocate, and public speaker Jane LeMond Alvarez' pictures. They are graphic and disturbing to say the least and make me very, very angry. I've even thought of 'unfriending' her page but I won't do it. I have just begun my mission to help children who suffer maltreatment of any kind and I will not turn away. I will begin my CASA training in autumn.

Jane and her husband, Leo, are the founders of the not-for-profit organization The Children's Wall of Tears that:

  1. Educates and increases awareness on child cruelty and abuse.
  2. Memorializes and honors the innocent, helpless children who are brutally killed at the hands of their caregivers and predators in the U.S. daily.
  3. Works to generate donations to help educate the public about dangerous laws such as Title 42USC that protects child abusers but not the child.

Tomorrow is the nationwide Million March Against Child Abuse when thousands of caring individuals as well as law enforcement officials or 'foot soldiers' in the fight against child abuse will throng to capital cities in the United States to raise awareness and affect change.

In New York, it's in Albany. Alas, I cannot go. My health limitations prevent me.

But I sometimes force myself to look at the pictures Jane posts. The brutal maiming and killing of innocent children is just so alien to me but must be brought to light. According to the Wall of Tears statistics, 7.8 children are killed each day in the United States at the hands of relatives, strangers or caregivers. This is simply unacceptable.

Many of you know that my husband and I were certified as foster parents years ago. Although we were blessed with just one foster child whom we later adopted (I got sick with Stage IVB cancer or I would have taken in more) current laws still side on the rights of the biological parents and/or abusers, regardless of the child's plight.

My son weighed 19 pounds when he came to live with us at a little over two years old. He had a malnourished, distended tummy and was extremely ill. He had been a victim of, primarily, neglect but also physical abuse. We were told we would be caring for him for about three months. After just two weeks, he clung to us in the presence of his birth mother. While we were fully prepared to return him to his mother - which was the right thing to do if she followed through with some parenting protocols to regain custody - we quickly read his cues and sensed his fear. He adopted us as much as the caseworkers, social workers and we tried to steer him towards his biological family.

Seventeen years later, I am so very grateful that my son did not end up on any Wall of Tears. He has reunited with his biological family to some extent and that is something I never wanted to deny him unless it were to hurt him. But he can figure that out on his own, now. He's an adult and I no longer need to protect him, just help him understand and come to terms with his early life and how he came to be with us.

Every single day a child is crying or dying due to unimaginable pain. My childhood was also tainted with pain; but it was of an emotional nature and while I certainly can tie it to the tumor that wrapped itself around my heart at age 36, I was not physically assaulted in any way.

What will I do tomorrow? I will look for news reports of the Million March amid continued Boston Bomb coverage (that also took the life of a child and critically injured others). I will pray for children across the globe for freedom from vicious acts from vicious people. Twenty angels were added after Newton, Connecticut. How many more will Jane be adding this year?

Jane dutifully adds names to the list of murdered children every day. This list tops 15,000. 

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