Last weekend was father’s day, and that signals the beginning of summer. Lately I have found myself thinking about the children I have come to know. The children I hold forever in my heart. I think about these children daily. Most of these children I have never met and I will likely never meet them. Yet, each of these children has a life story that will remain etched into my heart until the day I die.
It is strange how throughout my life as I would hear about a missing, abducted, or endangered child their story would stay with me even decades later, I can tell you there names. I can see their faces. I remember where they lived. I can tell you whether they are still missing or have been found safe, or if the worst-case scenario happened and they are dead.
Almost daily, I search the news media looking for, hoping to find the story that a missing or abducted child is now safe back at home. Sadly, the stories are not as frequent as the ones that tell me that someone else’s child is missing without a trace, or that a once loving family is divorcing and mom or dad choose to flee the area and take their children.
When I hear an AMBER Alert sound I read the description and post the information on Facebook and Twitter while praying for a safe ending. The hardest stories are however are the ones that I read about children being physically, emotionally, or sexually exploited and abused.
This week in Saint Louis, multiple news sources report a young mother arrested after police determine that the man she met online was a sex offender. She met him online and while they chatted he told her about the horrible things, he wanted to do to her infant daughter. Police say she responded that she wanted him to do these things to her baby.
Then she took her baby to his residence and while the mother slept in another room, he physically and sexually abused the 4-month-old little girl. Eventually he strangled the child, before, during, or after raping her. The coroner listed the cause of death as asphyxiation.
As a mother, I do not even begin to allow my mind try to comprehend the pain and suffering this little girl endured. She was an infant, barely 4 months old. I cannot allow myself to go down that rabbit hole again. If I do I may never make it back out.
Instead, I pray for that baby. I pray for the children taken from their families, for the mothers who do not know where their child sleeps tonight, for the fathers who cannot hug their babies. I pray to the angels asking them to fly above, and below, and all around the children and their families. I ask the angels to hold them safely inside their soft protective wings, and to bathe them in warm white healing light.
Then I write their stories here. I write so that the world does not forget that a family is broken. I pray that perhaps just one story will make a difference somehow.
I write so that one day a child like the Saint Louis Jane Doe will have her name and identity back. I write so that even though their family may not come forward to identify them, they will never be forgotten. Perhaps someone will finally decide to help identify her.
This is why I am the editor of BellaOnline’s Missing and Exploited Children site.