May marks an anniversary, of sorts, for Ben, now 16 years old, for it was May 2006 when Ben was first removed from the home of his mother and entered his first residential placement.
Ben was 6 years old when his mother first started abusing him sexually.
Can you remember being 6 years old? I, personally, have a hard time remembering being 6 years old, but when I observe my 3 year old (who, in my opinion, oftentimes projects the thoughts of a 6 year old) I am taken back to what it was like to be that young and that innocent.
Six years old! and instead of experiencing 6 year old things like playing with bugs or jumping in creeks, Ben was continuing his journey of not just a smudged childhood, but a shattered childhood wrought with abuse both sexual and physical, and years of moving from placement to placement ahead of him.
However, Ben’s story doesn’t end there. At one point in Ben’s early childhood, he encountered a landlord, Mack, who took special note of Ben; watched him play, ride his bike, and through the abuse, attempt to be a normal child. After the final removal of Ben from his family, Mack lost contact with him. Years later, all Children’s Services professionals were at the end of their ropes. No one had a clue where to go with Ben. He had been placed in a home for adoption, which, through no fault of his own, fell apart and ultimately landed Ben back in another residential facility. Ben had given up hope until one day after Ben’s FOCUS worker had completed a search through his files, one sentence mentioning Mack was stumbled upon. The FOCUS worker contacted Mack and scheduled a home visit with him to discuss his history with Ben. Tears fell as Mack recounted his memories of Ben as a young child and his love and attachment for him. Within weeks, Mack and Ben were reunited.
Mack and Ben now spend most days throughout the week together. Mack visits with Ben every family day at his residential facility. Although untraditional, Ben now has redefined family for himself and has a connection and a permanent support he can claim forever.