As a counselor in a different city I was working with a young girl who had unfortunately had been molested by her mother's boyfriend. When she related the happenings to me, I advised her mother that I was mandated to report this to be investigated, and I did so. Unfortunately, the child's mother was able to convince the child to change her story because the mother loved her boyfriend and didn't want to lose him. When the investigators interviewed the child, she indeed did change her story. Unfortunately, this happens all too often, and as a result child protection workers, law enforcement officers, and the courts are then limited in their abilities to protect the child from further abuse. Of course, since the child changed her story, there was nothing further that could be done. And as so often happens, the mother withdrew her from counseling and actually she and the boyfriend moved the child to another state.
Probably about 6 months later I saw a phone call on my cell phone from another state....I recognized the area code and prefix of the phone number because it was from the same town in which my mom used to live in the other state. As I checked my voice-mail, I realized the caller was a detective from the Sheriff's Dept. in that town. Since my mom had not lived there for a few years, this puzzled me, but when I returned the detectives phone call, the detective told me that she was calling me about the little girl I used to counsel because the little girl had told her about me. Again, as often happens in these cases, the mom's boyfriend had done more unspeakable things to this little girl, and even worse she now had a disease as a result. Needless to say, I was very upset to hear this and asked the detective what I could do to help. The detective advised that she would like copies of my records and the mom signed the necessary paperwork for me to send them. Probably about a month later, the detective called to tell me that perpetrator was in jail and they would likely subpoena me to testify. She also advised that in the meantime, the mother wanted to move back to her home state with her child and she told the mother that even if she did so, she would be required to return to this other state at the time of trial and bring the child and the only way she could take the child out of the state was if the mother would commit to bringing the child back to counseling with me to deal with the trauma she had experienced as well as work with her to prepare her for her testimony in trial. The mother and child did move back to their home state and the child began seeing me for counseling again and the detective kept in touch with me a couple of times a month to ensure this requirement was being met. (At this point in time, I want to note that in my previous work with Children's Services here in Missouri and in my work even over the last ten years as a a counselor, I have worked with many law enforcement officers, child protection workers, attorneys and the courts to work together to protect children and I appreciate each and every one that I've worked with to that end, but this particular detective was amazing and gave well over 100% in ensuring this child was protected, received help, and in making sure the perpetrator of these crimes was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law). As time went by, my respect for this detective grew by leaps and bounds. Eventually the perpetrator went to trial and received a sentence of 25 years in prison, for which I am very happy. Unfortunately, again the mother disengaged her daughter from counseling. This happens often, and because I care greatly about my clients and in particular my clients who are children, I can get rather worried about my clients. Unfortunately this is beyond my control, so I have had to rely on my faith in God and prayer and I pray often for the well-being of my clients. Now, it is at this point that the inspirational part of the story begins. About 6 months after the trial in this case, I was invited by a very good friend of my family to his retirement ceremony from the army in the very state where these later events had occurred, and since my mom used to live there, I asked if she'd like to go along and we could stay in the town where she used to live for a couple of nights before taking her back home. She agreed to this, and off we went. As we were arriving in this town, mom wanted to take the car through a car wash that would also clean the inside of her car, so we did so. Probably about 10 minutes prior to that, I had told my mom that I wished we had more time and had gotten there earlier because I would have liked to have gone by the Sheriff's Dept. and meet the detective I had talked to so frequently on the phone in the case I noted above because she had really impressed me. When we got to the car wash, we went inside the building as mom's car was being detailed. As we were waiting, I heard the voice of a woman giving her co-worker a hard time and saying "don't let that detective's shield clipped to your belt go to your head". Believe it or not, it was the voice of the very detective I had just 10 minutes previously told mom I wished I had more time so that I could meet her. I recognized her voice from the many phone conversations we had and went around the corner to see if I could see her.....sure enough, there was a female detective standing there, and I asked her if she was Detective Liotta, and she confirmed that she was. I introduced myself and we were able to visit for a few minutes.
I refer to moments such as that chance meeting with Detective Liotta as "aha moments". To me, God was giving me the opportunity to meet this person that I had worked so closely with via phone and he used my friend, Dave's, retirement ceremony and my mom's presence to bring about the events that would make that happen. In my work with trauma, I call upon God frequently and I pray frequently that He will help me help my clients. To me, this chance meeting with Detective Liotta was God's way of reminding me that He is present and that He would be watching over the little one that I could no longer watch over and that Detective Liotta and I had done our part to getting that little one to a better place because He had placed us there and He would provide to her what she needed. When I question whether the work we do in this field is as effective as I'd like it to be, I am reminded of that "aha moment":) And I am so very thankful to my family and to the many inspiring people in my life, particularly my parents and grandparents, for introducing me to having faith. I am also so very thankful to God for providing those people we need to help us through our own trials and tribulations. God does that for all of us, we just have to look for them in our lives....they are definitely there somewhere.