Sam’s short life had been marked by unimaginable neglect at the hands of his parents. His father left out the loaded gun that Sam was playing with when he shot himself. Abuse, neglect, trauma. It is no surprise he was unruly and easily frustrated, given to outbursts of anger.
Five-year-old Sam arrived at Christian City in diapers, behind in most markers of child development. With the energy and daring of a host of young children combined, he rarely stopped moving. Our remarkable house parents showered Sam with love and structure.
One of eight children in their care, they guided Sam, understanding the trauma he’d suffered and what it would take to help him heal. The other boys in the home, all wrestling with their own trauma, took pride in setting an example for their “little brother.” It wasn’t long before Sam shed the diapers. The boys taught him to ride a bike. In the school carpool line reports of improvement in Sam’s behavior moved his housemother to tears of joy.
Sam swelled with pride as he learned to receive and give love to his Christian City family.
The juvenile court judge, who feared Sam had been permanently damaged by his parents, was stunned by his transformation. Cousins, living in another state, adopted him. The year Sam spent in the Children’s Village was life changing – for Sam and for us.