Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things Aren't Always What They Seem!

Neighbors say they never suspected a thing...

I would hear them cry sometimes like normal,
and you would hear some yelling.
You know, mothers will yell.

But I never would have imagined
she would have been beating on her kids.
Reported by Melissa Duran

Can't help wondering... when you look at this child... do you see an angel...complete with her shiny halo?
With her angelic looks that's an easy mistake to make
if you aren't being totally aware!

But she is no more an "angel complete with halo"
than this child is a "devil with horns" because she has an impish grin and we all suspect she could be develish at times!

Both children, like most children, act like a little bit of both so we know better than to judge their overall behaviors on the basis of a snapshot in time.

Things really aren't what they seem in more cases than we might like to admit. Remember the picture of the young girl and old crone, or the vase and two profiles? Our expectations influence what we see. Our biases alter how we see even simple things. The perspective from which we view something also impacts what we see. And if there is incomplete information available, we are even more likely to make misjudgements.

Three stories of child abuse in recent days make it very clear how easy we can misinterpret what our senses seem to tell us, and what will drive us to action, when faced with what might be child abuse. In one case a child was reported and "rescued" when people heard him crying in a dark van. In another, children were not even checked on when the mother was heard yelling and children were crying. In a third, no one hesitated to report two children, outside, without supervision.

In the first case, the child was 7, the father couldn't get childcare so left the child in the van while he worked, coming out on breaks to check on the child. Not a good thing, but maybe not abuse in and of itself. More needs to be known before deciding with any certaintly. Most of us probably would have reported the situation...and that's understandable.

In the second case, the mother and her girlfriend brutally beat a seven year old girl and 9 year old boy the name of discipline. The girl remains in a coma, after two months and is not expected to recover. A neighbor says, "I never saw any marks or bruises. The kids were always laughing and smiling." Sad to say, most of us, as with the neighbors, would not have reported this situation.

In the third case, as of this writing, a mysterious circumstance remains. Two children, one about one and the other between one and two, were discovered alone outside an apartment complex. They haven't yet been identified. Maybe abuse? Maybe not? At this point there isn't enough known about the children or how they came to be there to even guess. This one is easy... no one would hesitate to report a situation like this.

So what do we do? "Dream Mommy" has an excellent blog today where she attempts to sort out similar complex issues with regard to when to adopt a child and when to try for reunification. The line is not easily drawn on that either.

But perhaps what makes all these issues more difficult than they need be, are the failures in the child welfare systems...around the world. Child abuse and related attempts to deal with it is a global issue.

Louise Uccio in her Blog, "Disgusted with the System," offers a fighting-mad personal view. However she supports her view with that of others. In a piece she entitles, "This is child protection?" Uccio provides an in depth perspective on the system written by Gregory A. Hession, J.D. in The New American , that is extensive and thought provoking.

A Child is Waiting.
Take care…be aware,
Nancy Lee

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