I adopted Cierre when he was three years old. I knew he had suffered from abuse and neglect, but I did not realize just how deeply this experience would affect him. As a toddler, Cierre was withdrawn, listless, unable to answer even the simplest question.
It was frustrating to try to make him laugh or smile. If I asked him what game he wanted to play or what he wanted to eat, he would just look around the room as though I wasn’t speaking to him. Cierre has a rare condition seen in children who have suffered profound neglect that prevents him from establishing healthy attachments or relationships.
Dealing with Cierre’s day-to-day issues was hard for me and for my entire family, which included my three other children. It was exhausting trying to meet his needs and bring him happiness when he could not tell me what he wanted or needed. Years went by and we still did not have an emotional connection.
I love my son and I was doing the best I could, but I needed help.
In 2012, I was referred to The Children’s Village (CV). For the first time in Cierre’s life, I felt hopeful about his future.
Cierre’s fantastic worker, Wanda, gives him fulfilling experiences while giving me an opportunity to take care of myself and the rest of my family. Wanda took him on a train ride, to a parade, and to a basketball game. I am grateful because I wouldn’t have been able to do those things with him. She works with him to develop socially appropriate behaviors and she teaches me how to meet his needs and help him develop empathy.
CV is more than just services, though. They are a family of support. Wanda and I are a team, but I also have support from other CV staff members who respect me and care for me so that together we can give Cierre the care he needs. CV events, like the annual Luau, give us an opportunity to meet families who are going through similar experiences and help us feel much less alone.
I am so grateful for the help that CV has given me, but even more grateful for the support and connections that help me feel like I can care for Cierre and keep my family together.
Cierre is eight years old now. For the first time in the five years I have been his mother, he is reaching out to hug me. The joy this brings me is indescribable and it would not have happened without CV.
I hope that this holiday season, when you are hugging your family and friends, you think of Cierre hugging me for the very first time and you find it in your hearts to support The Children’s Village for making this possible.