He was such a sweet young boy. About twelve years old, just beginning to realize he was a “man”, he was full of playfulness and personality. I couldn't understand how anybody would not be proud to have him for a son. But, the painful truth was exactly that.
Scott came to live with us as a foster child when I was just a brand new mother myself. Just learning how to navigate the rapids of motherhood, my first child, Christy, was only about two years old when Scott came to live with us. They took to each other like fish to the sea. She adored him as a big brother who played with her as only big brothers do. And he embraced the opportunity to be a big brother with someone to look up to him and run to him when he came home from school. Our little daughter, Christy, unable to get her mouth around the name, Scott, nicknamed him 'Dot'. It made my day to see my baby running across the room to greet 'Dot' whenever he returned home. Scott would grin from ear to ear and returned the affection from his little admirer in full measure.
I was quite young – definitely not old enough to be his mama. But to know Scott was to love Scott. I would sit with him in the evening, inviting him to talk and tell me his story. He was one of the first of over sixteen foster children we opened our home to over the years. But, Scott was one of my favorites. He stole my heart almost the minute I met him.
I could not understand what would have happened in his young life that would have brought him to the Chicago Juvenile Court System that removed him from his home. Until one evening, after he had been with us a few months, he told me. Very quietly. Very softly, Very shamefully. He told me the story of how he had gone to school one day, after having been beaten mercilessly by his father, who had hung him by his wrists in the garage of their home and beat him senseless on his bare back. The scars were all over his back, even months later, as he told me the story. A counselor at school had suspected abuse and had investigated and discovered the scars. She had moved to have him removed from the home for his own protection. My eyes filled with tears as this young boy, a child I would have been proud to call my son, shared with me the truth of the horrible abuse he had been living with at the hands of his own father. I wanted to beat the father myself. I wanted to protect Scott from ever having to deal with this sadist again.
This was not to be. The simple, unbearable truth was, Scott wanted to go home. He excused his
father's abuse. It really wasn't that bad, he told me. His father just got a little too angry. The school was making too much of it. These were his parents. That was his home. And he wanted to go back.
I could not believe what I was hearing. I didn't know much about the psychology of the victim of abuse at that time. Now, I realize, it is often characteristic of a child victim of abuse to blame themselves. But, back then, I had no idea of that. All I knew was that this wonderful young boy, welcomed with open arms into our home, already beginning to become a part of our family, wanted to return to the nightmare life he had left. No matter the circumstances of his life, this was his family and he missed them and wanted to go home. I realized fully, for the first time in my life, the incredible loyalty a child has to his parents. No matter what they did to him, Scott defended them. His father wasn't a monster to him. His father was his father. And he desperately wanted to be with him, to gain his approval and love. Such a sacred trust is parenthood... I believe God has implanted in a child's heart a devotion and loyalty for his parents that is unequaled by almost any other relationship in life. How great is our accountability before God, if we violate that trust...
I couldn't keep Scott against his will and so he left our home. I never saw him again after he left. That's the way it was back then in the foster care system. Once a child left your home, you seldom heard what happened to them. But, I have never forgotten 'Dot'. I often think of him to this day and whisper a prayer for him to be blessed by the God Who fashioned him by His own hand. I hope he made it. I hope he overcame all of the abuse that was dumped on his young shoulders, quite literally. I hope I see him in heaven some day. I hope he met his Savior and the Father who loved him from the beginning of time. Yes. I remember 'Dot'...
Scripture Reference: Psalm 127:3 NKJV
“Behold, children are a gift from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.”