Took the afternoon off to go read Speedy’s CPS case file yesterday. Not a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon off, but very enlightening.
We sat in a little room with an eighteen inch stack of documents and combed through it all over three hours. Buried in the legal documents, medical forms, school reports were little nuggets of insight, small windows of perspective into what Speedy’s little life has been up unto this point. The perspective of the neighbors who reported the neglect. The perspective of case workers, the birth parents, the lawyers, the other foster parents – all with little bits of the picture. Like looking through a glass darkly at the early life of an abused and neglected little boy.
We didn’t read anything too shocking or surprising. What we got from that stack of paper was confirmation, context, and a bit of affirmation. We now know more about the source of Speedy’s anger, his insatiable thirst for attention, his need for control, his quirks about food. What we also got was a bit of affirmation that our family is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Granted that’s not saying much. The poor kid’s been through a lot.
What haunts me still is the fact that this huge stack of paper is just one story. Just one kid out of thousands in this city alone. You can only do so much, but it doesn’t mean you don’t want to do more.