Let me tell you a story about family… the gritty, beautiful real thing.
Months ago, I found myself in a meeting at Yale University discussing the concepts of modern-day slavery. Following this meeting, I left to visit Brianna*, a client in our U.S. Survivor Care program. As I knocked on the door and walked into Brianna’s living room,
I could see Brianna hiding beneath blankets, her eyes peering out. I walked over and sat on the edge of the couch.
“Are you ok?” I asked.
No. (She shook her head silently.)
“Did something happen?”
“Did something happen today?”
She opened her mouth and quietly said “No one cares.”
“You know that I care?”
I told her, “I know you see me and you think I’m only one person, but I have a lot of coworkers at Love146 working hard so I can be here because they care about you. You’ll probably never see them. We can only be there because there is an even larger number of people who give money and support to Love146 because they care about you. And you’ll probably never meet them either – but when you look at me,
I want you to see the hundreds of people behind me who are supporting you, because they care about YOU.”
It’s been months since that day she was revictimized, but recently, I received a call from Brianna. Her voice was physically shaking. I was worried.
A very controlling man from her past had been sending threatening texts, saying that if she didn’t meet up with him, he would share with her father explicit information about her past. She was afraid. She had worked so hard to become free from these oppressors and build support with her father. In the past, she had gone to meet with men who had threatened her, or she simply ran away and hid. But this time, Brianna called to ask for help.
Her solution was truly brave:
She asked if I would go with her to talk to her father – to tell him herself, and take the power back from this abusive character. I was amazed at her power and her growth.
When we meet with a youth who has experienced trafficking and exploitation, we meet them where they are, and
Because Love146’s supporters stand with us, we can tell this child:
Your case will not end when you leave the child welfare system or when you turn 18 or 21.
You are not a “case” – you are a human being.
We’ll sit at the DMV with you.
We’ll take you to Denny’s for dinner after a hard day, if that’s where you want to go.
When you ask, we’ll pay and
If we come to visit and you’re crying on the kitchen floor, we’ll sit down on the floor with you.
When we watch you make unhealthy choices, we’ll have the tough conversations.
When you pass your classes, we’ll take you to the Miranda Lambert concert, because she’s your favorite.
Because that’s what family does.
A family isn’t blood, it’s sweat and tears too. And it’s the family of that sort none of us could get through life without. Love146 is a family like that. We’re in it together – with those who support us, and with the children we support.
We won’t quit, because you don’t quit your family.
Thank you for being
in this family with us.
(Names changed and models pictured for child protection)