Dear reader: this is the kind of imaginary letter I sometimes find myself writing in my head/heart to the mothers of so many of “our” Vida Joven kids. I say “mother” rather than “father” because often we have no idea who the children’s fathers are. Please do not hear any judgment in the tone of my letter; none is intended. ~Beth Beall
Dear [Vida Joven child’s] Mom,
I want to say, first, that your child is safe. She is surrounded by adults who care for her, adults who protect her. You do not need to worry for her safety.
Also, she is going to school. She is older than many of the children in her grade, but this doesn’t seem to bother her. Your daughter likes school, and she gets along well with her classmates.
And, your daughter is loved. From the time your daughter has come into our care, we have loved her with our whole hearts. We treat her with respect, and we are doing everything in our power to help her blossom and flourish.
She asks questions about you, of course. She wonders why you have never come to visit her. She wonders if maybe soon—or someday, or any day, ever—you will visit her. She hopes with all her heart that you’ll come to visit. And she hopes that, once you see her, you’ll want her to live with you again.
Since your daughter is getting older, social service workers recently told her the truth about your long battle with drug addiction. As you can imagine, that was painful news for your daughter.
Your daughter still believes that you love her. (We believe you love her too.) She still believes that you will come back for her some day. She still believes that she will get to live with you again some day. And now, she has this new information about your struggles.
We will make sure your daughter has the support and resources she needs as she walks this difficult journey.
You have a strong, thoughtful, beautiful daughter. She would rather be with you than with anyone. But, the reality is that she is with us. And we will love, protect, and educate her for as long as she is entrusted to us.
The Ever-Growing, Always-Caring Vida Joven Family