ONE CHILD'S PERSPECTIVE: NOA'S STORY

 

Noa is eight years old. Noa's father committed suicide six years ago. When Noa was a year old, she and her brother, Ilan, were removed from their home by the welfare workers due to extreme neglect and abuse they had been exposed to. A year ago Noa and her brother were placed at the Children's Home. From birth, Noa was raised without the benefits of a caress, a soft touch, a loving hand. Her parents were incapable of providing their children with a consistent and organized world.

 

Noa's first years of life were characterized by chaos and destruction, without guidance or direction. They both suffered unfathomable parental neglect (in one instance, they were left alone for three days without food, and were found straying Both Noa and Ilan had been so badly wounded in their capacity to form relationships, that they were incapable of bonding any family with which they were placed. Ilan's behavior worsened and he was transferred to a children's shelter.

 

Noa, apparently out of extreme anxiety of being deserted once again, played out her brother's deteriorating state and her condition worsened acutely as well until she was also placed in the same shelter. A few months later, they were both placed at the Children's Home, deeply impaired by the extreme instability and changes they had experienced in their short lives. Noa and Ilan never leave the Children's Home campus during home time.

 

They are here 365 days a year, during all home time and holidays. When Noa first came to the Children's Home, she was overwhelmed with anxieties and constantly checked the caregivers' limits and boundaries. She was violent, demanding and wet herself daily. Now, nearly a year later, it is clear that Noa has calmed down, she is communicating and forming relationships, enjoying ties with adults. There is a distinct improvement in her behavior, her emotional state and her learning abilities. She has also stopped wetting herself. She awakens in others the desire to care for her and look after her. Noa often turns to staff members and asks them to take her home with them for holidays and home time.

 

The unavoidable reality of having to remain on campus during home time is very painful for her and Ilan and she often asks why she needs to stay and why no one is willing to adopt her. This year for the Passover eve seder, Noa and her brother were taken home by Ayelet, the school librarian. Noa was beside herself with joy, as she dressed up in the new clothes bought especially for her for the holiday, and prepared to 'go out' and be with a family for the major holiday celebration, just like everyone else. It was a special event for her, but – much like Cinderella – when the evening was over, she and her brother were returned to the Children's Home campus, to sleep in their own beds, in nearly empty cottages, with the few other remaining children as their companions, enveloped in a profound sense of aloneness and sadness.

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