Hero Week Day 6 – Honoring Childhood Victims of Domestic and Substance Abuse
Today we honor children who are suffering or have suffered the effects of domestic violence and/or substance abuse and addictions. Senseless; a word that best describes the results of these circumstances. Karen and Adam Owens addressed the 0530 and 0930 crowds, saying this:
Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the US involving more than 6 million children (a report can include multiple children).
The US has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.
Yearly, referrals to state child protective services involve 6.3 million children, and around 3 million of those children are subject to an investigated report.
Our family is directly affected by this epidemic. At the age of 5 weeks, our son Jayden was beaten by his biological parents. He was left with no signs of life for over 20 minutes but was later revived by the many rescue workers called to the scene. The little boy born in August of 2009 was gone — a new child had taken his place, a new Jayden who’s life was drastically changed by the senseless acts of violence. Jayden suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. He was left with broken bones, blind, deaf and dependent on a ventilator. We adopted Jayden when he was 2 years old and are so thankful for the progress he has made but also grieve the child he could have been.
Physical abuse is just one way the children in our country are suffering. Our daughter Harper comes from a history of severe substance abuse and neglect. Harper was born addicted to a long list of substances including alcohol. Fetal alcohol syndrome is an epidemic — it’s a diagnosis that will impact her life forever.
These children are a good reminder for us all to simply live aware — aware that while some children live with comfort and endless love — many do not.
Not included in the 0530 class was Michelle Peterson’s story about her adopted son, Stevie, also a baby born addicted to many drugs. Stevie was born a day late and spent the first 3 months of life in the NICU. According to Michelle (a CF early AMer), he went into an amazing foster family who saw his potential. He was on a feeding tube and heart monitor, and his foster mother lovingly and diligently spent many sleepless nights caring for him. At 8 mos. old, Stevie came into the Peterson home, but functioning as a newborn. Along the way, Stevie has had many developmental delays, but a strong will, a loving family, and an incredible physical therapist named Erin (also a CF early AMer), has helped along the way. Stevie still has many delays and struggles, but he has so many great abilities and personality traits, most important of which is a great love for life. Michelle says that while bear crawling in today’s workout, she lovingly thought of her Stevie as he would scoot on his backside with a smile on his face because he did not have the strength to crawl. A picture of Stevie today in 3rd grade is below. What a good looking young dude!
So, while we honor these kids who have suffered greatly so senselessly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also acknowledge these wonderful families within our larger Corps Fitness family who see the potential in their children, love them, encourage them, and give them the all they need to live the best life possible! Kudos to the Owens’ (including big sister Madison!), the Peterson’s and all other families who help these children!