Cheryl – a #OneChildNow story

Cheryl

A #OneChildNow Story

Cheryl knew it would happen one day. The fighting just kept getting worse after her mother lost her job. Little income was coming in, so when it came to food, the best meal that Cheryl and her little brother received was at their friend’s house. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to eat there all the time. Cheryl didn’t blame her mom, but she knew trouble was heading their way.She could sense it… as if it were looming over her thoughts and dreams.

That moment came. In an instant, her reality was shaken. It was all a blur…

Police lights. The bang on the door. Her mother screaming. The scary policeman. The garbage bag. The cold night air that rushed through the house as if it were trying to find her.

Cheryl was given a garbage bag to pack her belongings.

“What do I pack?” Cheryl thought to herself. She felt like she was being rushed. She felt like crying, like running, like panicking… but on the outside, she was numb. It all felt like a dream.

Cheryl packed her bag with the essentials, such as the clothes that weren’t still in the laundry room, her stuffed animals, a hand drawn picture of her mom and brother, and then her notebook. Cheryl loved to write stories. Stories of her in a different place. A different situation. Where the house was cleaner. Her schedule was more routine. She wrote of conversations at the table filled with silly laughter about how the day had gone. In these stories Cheryl was served dinner. She didn’t have to cook, serve and clean up after dinner for her little brother.

She and her brother were escorted outside of her home—her mother inside the house still carrying on loudly about her kids being taken away from her.

Cheryl walked outside and saw two cars. Her little brother was being helped in the green Corolla.

“I guess that one” she thought to herself.

“No, no… This way, Cheryl” said the man. He was pointing her toward a different car.

The reality slowly fell upon her and seeped down into her darkest fears. For the first time in her life, she was being separated from her little brother.

And yet she still showed nothing. No matter the chaos that was raging through her mind and motions. No tears… no anger… no words… she simply climbed into the car and stared into the night as the door closed.

Now Cheryl was scared. What was next? Where was she going? Why couldn’t she be with her brother? What could she have done to prevent this? Is there a restart button?

“What now?” was all Cheryl could think to herself.

Cheryl is a fictional character based off of children we encounter every day. In fact, we encounter with about 5-8 children just like her each day who are removed from their home due to neglect, abandonment, or violence in the Tampa Bay area. Many times these children have siblings and they are traumatized by having to be separated.

This is why it is the mission of A Door of Hope to have at least 300 licensed homes by 2023. We currently have 100. We’re a third of the way there. But we need more. It’s not just the foster homes we need, but also the funds to license and manage this many homes.

Help us reach our goal. Get involved by giving today. Let’s hit our goal and provide a loving, Christian home one child at a time.