Stories of Hope
Showing Lisa she has Value in her New Family
We met Lisa a few months ago when she came to the Center. She thought she might be in trouble, because she had run away from home, when actually her older sister brought her to the Center because of what she learned after Lisa got to her house.
Lisa told her older sister, “I don’t care what you have to do, but I can’t go back there.” Lisa is 14 years old, but she wears a child size 7 clothing. If you have children, you know that their sizes are roughly numbered to match their age … a 2 year old would probably wear about size 2T; a 7 year old would probably wear about size 7. Lisa was clearly medically underweight and undernourished.
It did not take long for Lisa to realize that we were here to help her, and that she was not to blame for what had happened to her. Our Forensic Interviewer spoke with Lisa and learned that she was not allowed to eat at home; in fact, the refrigerator was locked and kept in the parent’s bedroom. After the interview, Lisa had a medical exam to make sure she was going to be okay. Lisa apologized to our nurse at the start of her exam, saying, “I’m sorry for how I smell, but it’s been a long time since I was allowed to shower.” It was truly heartbreaking.
We were able to give Lisa a healthy snack, and offer her a shower while she was at the Center. Her sister, who is in her early 20’s and just starting her own family, never imagined she would be raising her teenage sister. Through the generous support of our donors, we were able to give her a grocery store gift card. We also taught her about reintroducing food, and connected Lisa with other resources she will need, including ongoing counseling.
We checked in with Lisa’s new family recently, and learned that she is getting ready to start school soon. She had missed many school days in the past, because of the time and gas that would have been “wasted” getting her there. To help her be ready for the new school year, we were happy to give her school supplies, a new outfit and shoes, and personal hygiene items to support her new family, and to show Lisa that she has value. To a young girl like Lisa, who has been told through words and actions for a long time that she does not matter, these small personal items make a big difference.