The picture above: Willian (10 yrs.), Dani (9 yrs.) and their mom and dad, Diane and Bernie Lierow. They're a humble bunch. Mom cleans houses and Dad remodels houses. They're a loving American family. But I consider Diane and Bernie angels.
I'm just now hearing about the story where a sweet little girl was kept in a closet. Her mother literally kept the little girl you see in the picture in a closet. When authorities found her (2005), she was 8 yrs. old and wore diapers. She couldn't speak and seemed completely unresponsive. The home she'd been living in was filthy in the extreme. Roaches, dirty diapers, human excrement on the floor and smeared on the walls. The girl's hair was filled with lice and she was what they call 'feral'. She'd never been outside. Never knew human contact. Didn't wear clothes. She slept on a moldy mattress. She didn't seem to...see through her eyes. No real emotion, other than fear and anger. Her world was basically all about survival. She weighted 46 pounds at 8 yrs old. She'd never been on a swing, never ate ice cream. Didn't understand pain. When they put an IV in her, she didn't respond, not even a little. This broke my heart. As I read the article all I could think to do was hug my daughters.
If you read about Dani's life you'll learn the whole story. I'm not going to go into huge amounts of detail here. I'm not going to try to figure out why a mother would do this to her own child, low I.Q. or not. I'm not going to debate whether she should be slapped with mere probation or thrown in prison the rest of her life. I have my own opinion on that one.
What I do want to do is applaud and recognize Dani's new parents, Diane and Bernie (seen in the picture above). They took this, pardon the expression, savage, child into their homes and their hearts. Dani never knew love, but thanks to a kind, average American couple she does now. I thank God for people like the Lierows. They make me realize that this world may be filled with some pretty awful people, but there's also good.
Dani can now look at people and let herself be held. She can chew meat, not just gum it like a baby does. She can swim. She's grown a foot and her weight has doubled. She’s tall and blond and knows her own name. She has a big brother who loves her. The room she sleeps in now is pink and cheerful and has a window. If she wants to look outside, all she has to do is raise her arms and her very loving daddy is right there. Thanks to a kind unassuming family like the Lierows, Dani has a chance of living a happy life.
There's people like Diane and Bernie everywhere. Maybe you're one of them. Maybe you've been touched by the kindness of a stranger at some point in your own life. If you have, however small, I'd love to hear about it! We can't dwell on the horrors of Dani's first eight years, the damage has already been done, but we can be grateful her next eight won't be the same.