And as of a month ago, a fourth.
Seth* is her nephew-by-marriage and due to circumstances beyond his control, he is, at the tender age of 10 and a mere two years into his new life here in Canada, without a home. Without family.
When the police called my friend, Molly*, because she is one of two "kin" close by, she raced to the station to get him. The police officer handed Seth over without ceremony. Handed over the boy's backpack as well - all that was left of his old life, tucked inside.
Into her car, into her heart, she tumbled the quiet, doe-eyed boy, promised him the safety of her home, the solace of her arms, the love of her family, for as long as he needed.
A month in, Seth is indeed loved and seems content in their sphere. He is polite and helpful and achingly beautiful. But he doesn't speak of the reasons he now shares a bed with his cousin and must be content with a winter coat he didn't choose and that doesn't match the snow pants Molly managed to find in his size.
As for the other things that hurt her mother's heart, Molly can barely speak of it at all, but I can:
While Molly's home is filled with love and light and laughter, it is not filled with enough money. Not nearly enough.
Of course, there are social workers involved because Seth's life has been fraught and difficult, since coming to Canada, for the chance of a better one. And so naturally, there are meetings and visits and calls and follow-ups several times a week. There is now endless driving for Molly and her husband, who ferry Seth to visits with his case workers and his stepsisters, three, sometimes four nights a week, from our city to another, half an hour away.
But there is no money.
Molly receives nothing from social services, for S's keeping. She doesn't want to need a dime from the people who are supposed to help, but the plain truth of it, she does. There is no money to be had - not now, not for Christmas, not to fill Molly's car with the extra gas needed to drive Seth to his appointments, for school trips or new shoes or a bed of his own.
Not. one. penny.
If Molly was a foster mother, vetted and approved by the very agency that hastily approved her lovely home as suitable for Seth only after she'd tucked him into it, it would be fine. Then, there would be a monthly allowance for his care, for gas, for clothing, for living. But because she is "kin", there is no funding. There is nothing in place to ease the financial burden that a growing, active boy can place on a household budget already stretched thin.
A little while ago, I sat with Molly at her kitchen table - the same one around which three social workers sat when they told her that Seth would likely be hers for several months yet.
|Photo courtesy of: Pinterest|
I sat and heard this story and watched Seth play, joyfully, laughing, with my own sons....and I cried.
I cried because Molly is trying so hard to do the right thing by this boy, who has lost everything. She remains gentle and loving and is trying to stay positive, but finds it hard. Harder still when those closest to her have begun to question whether this was the "right decision" for her family. Is there nowhere else for him to go?
She is taking on too much, they say. This is too much. He is too much.
And here is where I may have lost the plot a little and slammed my hand, HARD, upon her table, furiously wiping my tears away:
"Molly! You made the right decision when you flew down to that station to get him. You made the right decision when you promised him a soft place to land, for as long as he needs. Is it hard, doing the right thing? Absolutely. Right doesn't mean "when it is convenient, when it doesn't interfere with other plans, when it isn't too much."
Molly was speechless, so I took a deep breath and plowed on:
" This boy isn't too much. For God's sake! This boy needs you. He needs a family, a community....he needs a village. And it SUCKS that the very services designed to help create that, won't. It sucks balls, to be frank about it. But since they won't, let's find people who CAN."
In the larger scheme of things, dear readers, Seth needs more than you or I alone can give him and I hope that, in time, he will be reunited with his parents, but for now...for now, Molly is doing her best to give him a home and the love of family. They just need a little bit of help.
And so, my friends, here I am, asking for yours.
Molly could use gift cards for the following:
Phone cards (Seth's bio-mother lives out-of-country and he misses her very much)
Seth has discovered road hockey and loves it, but doesn't have a stick of his own or any equipment. Do you have any that your children have outgrown? Can you get it to me so I can get it to him?
Do you have any Belleville Bulls tickets that you might be willing to part with, to give this family of five - now six - a fun evening out?
Any other suggestions, ideas, small and grand gestures will be happily, gratefully accepted.
Will you be the village this boy deserves?
Please. Be the good.
Message me at email@example.com if you can help.
P.S. I'm turning 40 this month. In case you were thinking of getting me a little something...
In lieu of Baileys, wine, chocolate or anything else delicious I might love but surely don't need, would you consider a gift card for Seth, instead? I can't think of anything that would make me love you more.
P.P.S. Have set up a separate-from-mine bank account at Scotiabank. Any/all email money transfers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be funnelled directly into that account. I can/will provide confirmation #s and am so beyond grateful to all of you who have already sent gift cards, dropped envelopes by my house and contributed to "Molly's Magic Account"
Thank you, thank you, thank you! You're making life better for an incredible family!