Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Safe Place to Run

I had just dropped the boys off at school and was unloading Ruby from the car when we noticed the sound of angry voices arguing across the yard and immediately became concerned for the children living there. The oldest, who is in the first grade, was suspended from school for taking a pocket knife and the younger three children were home for sure.

In the last few weeks our apartment has become a hub of activity
and we love it. Everyday after school the kids know they can stop by for cookies or fruit. The weather has been nice enough to leave the door open so kids and neighbors come and go as they please. This particular family of children spend lots of time at our house eating and playing and they never want to go home. The youngest boy who is Ruby's age who she calls "Binky", tells David and Sean everyday that he wants to live with us. We have been praying for them each by name because we knew something wasn't right in their home.

After unloading the groceries, We came inside and went to work on the house which was still a mess from our "Lobster Fest" the night before. About thirty minutes later there was a quick knock on the door, it opened and the little boy "T" and his sister ran through, locking it behind them. "Miss Anna! Can we hide here! Our uncle is beatin' our momma!"

"Ofcourse!" I said while hugging them tightly. With an unforgettable look of terror on his face he said, "The babies are still in there!" At first, I wasn't sure what to do. Even though it is a short walk to their apartment, I didn't want to leave Ruby or take her with me not knowing what I'd be walking in to. Honestly, I thought if I knocked on their door they might either let me take the three year old and eight month old or at least they'd calm down.

Turns out they did neither. From the front door I could hear the man cursing at their mother, commanding her to "calm down" She was bawling and trying to catch her breath, responding every time with, "I'm trying, I'm sorry, I'm trying."

The best thing I could do at that point was lock the oldest kids in our apartment, call the police then call Chad to come home from work. Just as I was closing the door, in ran 3 year old "Binky"! He had made it safely across the yard. After calling for help, I gave everybody a lunchable and some milk; then at "Binky's" request turned on some cartoons.

Suddenly I heard a loud banging on our front door and the sound of the uncle's voice yelling. "Are the kids in there?" I told him through the door that the kids were eating their snacks and I'd be glad to bring them home when they were finished. Through the peep hole I could see him pacing back and forth. He knew the police had been called and I was determined to keep the children with me until the police took him away. I kept praying for either the police or Chad to walk up at that moment.

Shortly after he left our door step, the police arrived. Apparently other people from our complex had also called to complain. Watching from our front porch I was sad and disgusted to see the mother putting on her best fake smile to cover for this dirt bag. She stood there shaking with marks on her neck and face and let the guy drive away. She refused to press charges.

Later, she came over to get the kids with her bags packed. She asked Chad if he would drive her to her sisters house. I begged her to let the kids stay until she found a safe place. We offered to take her to a shelter, but she claimed to have family to stay with out of town. She went on to say, "I told the kids, 'whenever he starts beating on me, you just run to Annie and Chad's!' "

Less than 24 hours later she was right back at the guys apartment for the rest of the weekend.

On Sunday the boys came over for dinner. "T" was sitting at our table. He said, "Do you know how we got away the other day? He started beating our momma so we waited until he took her in the bedroom and closed the door. I grabbed my sister and we ran as fast as we could to your door."

We told "T" Sunday how much Jesus loves him, and promised to do everything we could to keep that man from being out on the streets. In the mean time, "T" knows God sent us here so he could have a safe place to run.

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