The staff who work directly with the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will probably never know the great impact they have had on children’s lives. When our children leave the care of the Ranch, unless they choose to reach back, we may never hear from them again. That’s a good thing. They move on with their lives.
Sometimes, though, when I read reports of interactions between staff and a child, I can see the impact. I can see the trust and unburdening and the start of healing.
One of our boys hadn’t been in our care very long, and he didn’t trust the staff. One night, that changed.
“When I came on shift, Ezra* complained of a headache and stomach ache and claimed he was throwing up. We were able to get him to bed at 12:45. He woke up again at 5:15 and has been up since. He really struggled with a dream he had about mom using [drugs] and having vivid memories of this. We were able to process this for about 30 minutes. He made a few comments about his mom. He had given up hope that things would change and she would get sober. He mentioned he didn’t think she wanted to get help because she had never done it before, and she has a hard time letting go of things that had been done and said. He said he didn’t feel loved or wanted. We discussed that mom is sick. Nothing that has happened is his fault in any way. We talked about how her choices, driven by her addiction, don’t mean that he is loved or wanted any less. I assured him that having hope is not a bad thing. He was able to calm down and read a book quietly and listen to music for a bit.”
That was not a breakthrough. It was a small crack in the wall, a sliver of an opening that the child and staff could connect through. No one was healed, but the child allowed himself to speak the truth. That’s a start.
Please keep our kids and staff in your prayers.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
*Name changed to protect confidentiality
Sign up today to receive ministry updates and stories about our precious kids directly to your inbox!