It was seven o’clock on a Friday evening when we had to call the police. No one had come to pick up Aaron that evening. His mom had dropped him off at my child care center Friday morning. She brought him in, signed him in, put his backpack on his hook and had left. All the things she normally did but she did not show up that evening.
We called the hospital where she worked, and she had not shown up for work that day. They had tried all day to reach her. We called all of the contacts on Aaron’s list before we called the police. No one knew where she was. This wasn’t like mom.
While we were waiting for the police to arrive many thoughts passed through my mind. I thought about Aaron’s first day at our facility. He had come to us with the diagnoses of Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. We had taken one look at this beautiful child, and our hearts had melted immediately.
Unbeknownst to us, he would become one of our most challenging children and one of our greatest success stories. Aaron was three years old, and one of the smartest little boys to ever enter our doors.
I already knew from visiting with the therapist that we would have to work not only on bonding with Aaron, but also with the mother. As their car drove into the parking lot on that first morning, I watched from my office window, I smiled to myself, took a deep breath, and began our journey. Now here we were three years later, and mom was no-where to be found.
Aaron had come so far; mom had come so far, and things seem to be going well for their little family. Mom had just told me weeks before, “Thank you for giving me back my little boy.”
When the police arrived Aaron said, “I guess I better get my pajamas and the key to our apartment.” We all looked at each other and immediately looked over at his backpack. Inside the backpack were his pajamas, two changes of clothes, a key to their apartment, all of his medications in a zip lock bag with instructions for times to be administered and a note that said “Here are the direction to our apartment.” This mother had planned well in advance of what was to take place.
I knew immediately what was going on. Aaron’s mother had gone off to commit suicide. She proceeded to go out of town and take medications she had confiscated from the hospital where she worked.
We had to turn this six-year child over to child welfare. The older sister, who had a different father, was sent to her father’s. Aaron’s father had never been involved in his life. So at 10:30 on that Friday night I loaded this child into a police car and watched his little face looking at me through the window as they drove away. This family was a family in crisis.
The mother was discovered in a hotel room in another town the next morning. She was near death and was life-flighted to a hospital. She did survive. Eventually she got Aaron back and then we lost track of them.
Even today as I write this story, one of the saddest aspects remains that I could not find a church in our area to send this broken family to even though I had tried. I had prayed with this mom many times. I had coached her and encouraged her and witnessed to her. Aaron is only one reason I am passionate about helping children’s pastors minister to children in family crisis.
Linda Ranson Jacobs is one of the forefront leaders in the area of children and divorce. She developed and created the DivorceCare for Kids programs. DC4K is an international program for churches to use to help children of divorced parents find healing within the arms of a loving church family. As a speaker, author, trainer, program developer and child care center owner, Linda has assisted countless families by modeling and acting on the healing love she has found in Jesus Christ. More great article about how to minister to single parent families in your church can be found at Linda’s website Healthy Loving Partnerships for Our Kids (http://www.hlp4.com). Linda offers support, encouragement and suggestions to help those working with the child of divorce. She serves as Advisor and Ambassador to DC4K, DivorceCare for Kids, (http://www.dc4k.org) and can be reached via email at email@example.com.