The little girls, who we’ll call Blondie and Little Bit, were finally located and brought to us at 11:30 that night. They were so very scared and upset about what was going on, but as soon as they saw their aunts, they ran into their arms and hugged them so tight. The big girls assured them that they were in a safe place and that we were going to take care of them and that they would all be staying together. That seemed to ease their fears a little and made our job of helping them through this frightening transition a lot easier.
The social workers who brought them to us handed me a grocery bag full of pee-soaked clothes, a sippy cup and infant shoes. One of the workers had the displeasure of discovering the pee when she stuck her hand down in the bag to see what their mom had packed for them. I took her at her word and just dumped the whole bag in the washing machine, added extra detergent, said a prayer, turned it on and wiped the tears from my eyes before returning to the living room and the kids.
The big girls, whom we discovered were called Sissy and Manna by the little girls, volunteered to give them baths and lice treatments. I was a little unsure about them using the treatment, but they assured me they’d done it many times before. Yep, there were more tears then. Before they got into the bathtub, we measured their feet with a ruler and sent it with Todd to Wal-Mart (the only place open at midnight) so that he could purchase flip flops, underwear and a car seat for them. They had no shoes or socks and I needed them to have something to wear the next day so I could take them shopping for clothes. He was completely out of his element looking for little girl clothes, but he was a trooper and came home with just the right things for them. Good thing he did too, because I was only able to salvage one shirt and one pair of shorts from the grocery bag; everything else had to be thrown out.
Little Bit had some of the shortest bangs I’d ever seen on a child and had a few chunks missing from the back of her hair as well. I was told that it was a self-inflicted hair cut; well, actually three self-inflicted hair cuts, that resulted in what we were seeing on that poor child’s head. Sadly, I had to leave it like that until after our first court date so that the judge could see how she looked when she came into custody. I cannot tell you how happy I was when we were able to take her for a hair cut!! She ended up with a pixie cut because that’s all we could do to salvage her hair. It showed off her beautiful olive skin and big brown eyes, but she really missed her long hair.
Blondie had super long hair that she was extremely proud of; she’d never ever go near it with scissors! She had the grayest eyes I’ve ever seen and the palest skin. She was definitely the yin to her sister’s yang.
I was concerned that the girls were up so late, but Sissy and Manna assured me that they really didn’t have bed times and were used to staying up half the night watching cartoons or the Good Night Show on Nick, Jr. That was definitely one thing that had to change immediately.
We only had one set of bunk beds at the time, but the girls didn’t mind. They were happy to each have one of the little girls share their bed that night. It was their first night in custody, their first night in our home and being together was what was keeping them all sane. I so wish I would have taken a picture of what I found the next morning when I went to check on them.
All four girls were together on the bottom bunk. The big girls were lying side by side and each had one of the little girls lying on top of her. They were all intertwined and holding on to each other. That was the way they slept the whole night. It wasn’t enough to be in the same room together; they had to all be in the same bed. God love their hearts, they were trying to get through this as best as they could and that meant physical contact, even as they slept, so they would all know the others were still there. It still brings tears to my eyes, over a year later.