Unconditional love, little acts of kindness, support and reassurance – aren’t these common things parents do? What happens when a child who has never experienced these small gestures of love isn’t sure what you mean by them? This is exactly what happened to Sarah when she stuck a small note, written out of love, into her niece Corey’s backpack before Corey headed back to her group home.
You see Corey has spent quite a few years in state custody with no family contact. As she got older Corey felt more and more alone, but was able to tell her FOCUS case worker about an aunt she had good memories of from her childhood. FOCUS was able to locate her great aunt Sarah and reconnect them. Corey started spending weekends with her aunt, and it was during one of these weekends together that this little lesson in love was learned. Sarah decided to do something she had always done for her own children as they were growing up, not realizing the effects it would have on Corey.
After a very nice weekend of hiking, picnicking, and riding bikes together their time was over, and it was time for Corey to return to her group home. Sarah wrote Corey a little note about how much she enjoyed their weekend together, how blessed she was to have her back in her life, and she wished her a good week at school. Sarah closed the note by telling her she loved her and snuck it in Corey’s backpack. “Aren’t these common things a parent or a loved one says to another loved one, Sarah asked her FOCUS worker?” You see that night, when Corey returned to her group home, she was surprised to find her aunt Sarah’s note. She read it several times, each time trying harder and harder to understand why her aunt would do this to her. You see Corey, not ever experiencing anything like this in her life, thought that her aunt was telling her goodbye. She immediately picked up the phone and called her aunt Sarah to ask what she had done wrong. Sarah was confused at first by this conversation. The note, written completely out of love and meant to bring joy to Corey, was instead having the opposite effect.
After much reassurance Sarah was able to explain to Corey how much she enjoyed having her back in her life and how she was never going to leave her. It was after this phone call that Sarah called the FOCUS case worker to just cry. She cried for feeling as if she had done something wrong that caused worry and hurt to Corey. Then she cried when she realized how hurt and broken a child Corey is. And finally she cried thinking about how much she can’t wait to give and show Corey what unconditional love feels like.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” ― Mother Teresa
Harmony’s FOCUS program (Finding Our Children Unconditional Support) is dedicated to finding safe, loving families for children in the State welfare system.