Little Leah was recently brought to Neve Michael Children’s Emergency Center. She is slight and brittle and the look in those sad dark eyes tells an awful tale. There is a desolate place in her soul emanating through those cheerless eyes, as if someone took the light out of her life.
The circumstances of Leah’s arrival at Neve Michael are similar to those of so many of our children. She was brought here by Court order after the Welfare authorities determined that her natural parents were no longer capable of raising her in a normal family environment. They were alerted of Leah’s plight when the neighbors heard screaming sounds coming from her apartment. The story behind those screams was horrifying. They were made by Leah’s mother, who was subjected to regular beatings at the hands of Leah’s father. We learned through neighbors that the beatings weren’t the worst part, as they would often hear the cry: “no, not my little girl!” ringing down the hallway.
Poor Leah was panic stricken when she had been taken from her home. We asked her if she knew why she was brought to us, and she said in a small voice that broke our hearts: “Is it because my daddy was touching me?”
Since her arrival Leah has gone through a most painful transition. Slowly, she is coming to understand that her parents are no longer the main figures in her life. That role has been passed on to the caring folks at our Children’s Home, who Leah is now turning to with trusting eyes and depending on to take care of her.
The housemother at our children’s dormitory is heartened by the sight of Leah sitting with the other children to eat her meals without coaxing. Her appetite has come back, along with the color in her cheeks. Of late, she has even rewarded our housemother with hugs, and she is smiling more every day.
There are different ways of touching a little girl. One leaves a scar for life. The other is that special human touch that we give so tenderly at Neve Michael. It brings our children hope, reassurance, and restores the joy that was taken from their childhood.