Melissa's Story

Hello, my name is Melissa. I’m 9 years old. I love painting, swimming, pretty dresses and making cup cakes with my Mommy.

I didn’t always have this Mommy and I don’t know if my name was always Melissa. I can’t really remember.

What I do remember is that when I was very little, I lived in one small room with my other Mommy. That room was dirty, dark, and smelly. I was sometimes smelly too because my Mommy said that she didn’t have time to bath me. Anyway, the water was cold, so I didn’t mind so much. She also made me eat horrible food like those slimy beans from a tin. When I didn’t want to eat them, she smacked me and shouted at me.

She shouted a lot and cried a lot. She made me scared. She was like that when we were by ourselves but when the uncles, I did not know, came to visit she would make herself smell nice and smile. I don’t know why but those uncles made her tired and she always went to bed. I think they made her feel better, but when they left Mommy always started crying and had to take medicine to make her happy again. She never gave me medicine like that when I was sick and I’m happy she didn't ‘cause it was a powder she sniffed up her nose. I think it would make me sneeze. When she was happy, she cuddled me and played with me. I loved that, but it didn’t happen a lot.

Nighttime was really scary ….. Mommy made a lot of noises like she was hurting, but then there was always an uncle helping mommy, making her feel better.  I hated those noises so I just put the pillow over my head so I didn’t hear Mommy and the uncles. I was so scared that I couldn’t go to sleep. I just lay there and tried to think about playing in the park.

I didn’t know what to do to make Mommy get better and that made me sad.

One day an angry uncle was shouting at Mommy to pay him money for the medicine.  I was so scared because he said he was going to hurt Mommy and take me away from her. I just sat under the table trying to be quiet and fix my broken doll

And then everything changed ……. On a rainy day, a man who didn’t look like any uncle I had seen before, came to our room with a friend of my Mommy’s.  The uncles were never nice to me, but this man was so friendly. He stroked my tangly hair and told me that he wanted to take me somewhere where they were going to give me nice food, hot baths, and a proper bed.  I was going to live with my Mommy’s friend for a while until mommy got better.

I didn’t want to leave my Mommy. I loved her. I was scared she was going get really sick without me or get badly hurt if I wasn’t there to look after her. I struggled and cried when the kind man picked me up to take me away. Mommy was screaming and crying. She was hanging onto the man’s legs. Everyone was crying but the rain was washing away my tears……

I went to stay with Mommy’s friend. She was so nice to me and made me feel safe. I was sad because Mommy did not visit me or even phone me. I loved my Mommy so much and I missed her. I didn’t know why she didn’t visit me – maybe she forgot about me? 

I felt so alone....

Then, they told me I couldn’t stay with Mommy’s friend anymore and that I had to go to a new home.  That was horrible. What was happening? I felt really frightened and all alone. Nobody loved me. Was there something wrong with me?

They took me to a big house where a smiling lady and man (I later heard it was her husband) met me.  They hugged me and then a little boy and girl came running to meet me too.  Everyone hugged me and said they were so glad to meet me.  They said I was going to live with them, go to school, learn to ride a bike, swim, and even get a puppy of my own. I did not believe them in the beginning, but it all came true. They played with me a lot, gave me such nice food and told me lovely stories before I went to sleep. They also helped me learn a whole lot of things that I never knew before.  Best of all I suddenly had a brother and sister to play with and I did not feel alone anymore.

I was so happy, but I was scared that somebody would take me away from them. After two years of living in such a happy place, the best thing in my life happened. They told me they were adopting me and that they would be my new Mommy and Daddy forever. Then, I knew that they really loved me.

I have not seen my real Mommy since I was 3 years old and that’s about six years ago.  I sometimes think about her and wonder what has happened to her. But I don’t do that so often anymore.

I also haven’t seen that kind man who came to fetch me when I was small. But I will always remember him. My Mommy told me that he was a social worker from a place called Child Welfare Germiston.  They help children like me and they are more than a 100 years old – WOWW that is older than my grandpa!!!  That must mean that they have helped a lot of children!!!

I am so glad that that man cared enough to come fetch me from that dark place where I always felt cold, scared, and hungry. I know that he thought I was important enough to help and that makes me feel good.

 Mommy says that we can help Child Welfare Germiston in so many ways, I give them my toys I don’t play with, my clothes that don’t fit anymore and sometimes Mommy and I go to the shop to buy baby clothes and milk for babies without their mommies.  And then the best part for me is I get to go to a big party every year with hundreds of children who sometimes feel just as afraid and unhappy as I used to.

One day when I am big I want to also help, maybe I will be a social worker or a doctor or maybe even a lawyer ….. because somebody thought I deserved to be safe and loved.

Thank you Child Welfare Germiston and to all the people that help you do your work to make sure that I and other children like me can lead a happy life, filled with love and care, you protected me when I needed it the most ...