Monday, August 18, 2008

The girl in the window

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.


Unknown said...

My first instinct when I hear stories like this is anger. Anger at the birth parent. Anger at the situation. Anger at the world for even housing such people.

But you're right. The anger can't change what's been done. I'm not the "good Christian" sort who can dole out forgiveness. And I suck at letting go. But I can change my focus.

Thank God for these people. You're right, they are angels. And we should all be able to hold on to the happy ending to the story. That people were able to show her the love she had been denied. That there are people out there who want to help, who have so much love in their hearts they can seek out those who need to receive it the most.

Thank you for the post, and the Monday morning tear up. ;)

Dakota Rebel

Anne Rainey said...

Hi Dakota--yes, it's certainly a tear jerker. It took me awhile to even write the blog. I get very angry over situations involving children. And Dani's situation in particular broke my heart. There are so many couples out there wanting children but can't have them for whatever reason. To see a perfectly healthy little girl come into the world and be treated like a piece of dirt is hard for to swallow.

My first questions is always, 'why?' But I don't think there will ever be an answer good enough. Not for me. I fully admit I'm completely intollerant of child abuse.

On a good note, Diane, Bernie and their wonderful son William seem to be making a lot of strides with Dani. I really hope they keep us all informed on her progress.

I think Dani will surprise us all and prove that no matter how hard you try you just can't break the human spirit. :)

Megan Rose said...

It always makes me sad to hear that people don't recognize the precious gift they have, when they have a child.Why some people treat them badly is a huge mystery to me.

I have a friend who works in social services and sadly, dealing with children in this type of situation is not new to her.

But it is indeed wonderful to know that there are caring and loving people out there, who can make a difference in the life of a child who has been mistreated.

I'm not a religious person, but it does make me wonder about the angels on earth theory.

Kelley Nyrae said...

That breaks my heart. I'm so glad for people like her adoptive parents. Both my mom and my husbands mom are adopted. I have so much respect for people who adopt especially in situations like this one.

Desirée Lee said...

Thank goodness she was adopted by a loving couple. No child deserves the horrid treatment she endured.

Carpe Noctem,

Desirée Lee
Putting the Romance Back in Necromancy

Anne Rainey said...

Megan--I thought the same thing. Diane and Bernier are certainly angels!

Des--I know. If they hadn't adopted her she prboably would have ended up in a nursing home or something. How sad that would've been.

Regina Carlysle said...

Sorry I've been out of town, Anne, or I would've commented sooner. God Bless people like this. One life can touch another and create a ripple effect that could change so many things for the better. There's a special place in heaven for people like this. As to the monster who did this? Like you, I'll keep my thoughts private but DAMN. Is there a punishment severe enough???