Foster child who was forced to eat candy wrappers gives special gift years later

Foster child who was forced to eat candy wrappers gives special gift years later

Parenting is one of the hardest things that a person can do. You’re responsible for another life. It’s your job to keep your kids safe and it’s your job to love them. There are some parents who fail at this utterly and their children end up in the foster care system. Sometimes it isn’t because of malicious behavior but because of circumstances. Sometimes, though, it’s because parents are simply horrible people and their children have suffered while being in their care. This is the type of situation two little girls were removed from and this is the story of their ability to overcome their horrible past.

Amy Beth Gardner

Amy Beth Gardner is a photographer and in some of her Facebook posts, she writes about parenting two young girls. Many of the posts about her daughters have gone viral. The one she wrote most recently is about her daughters and Halloween. It’s also the most recent post to have gone viral and it’s because of the tragedy and the triumph that her girls have gone through.

Amy Beth and her husband tried to have their own biological children, but they struggled with infertility like many couples do. Finally, they decided that since they couldn’t have their own biological children they would instead become foster parents. A few months after they were approved as foster parents a social worker showed up on their doorstep around midnight with two scared little girls in tow. The girls were five and nine years old. Amy Beth and her husband opened their home and their hearts to these two little girls and 509 days later the couple officially adopted Bridgett and Breona.

Overcoming the past

The girls have now been with Amy Beth and her husband for years and while they’re growing and blossoming into beautiful young women who are loved deeply and fiercely, the past can oftentimes rear its ugly head. Since the girls came from what can be described as a neglectful home old memories sometimes resurface that cause them pain. These memories can be brought on by a particular trigger, or in the case of this story, by a certain holiday.

Bad memories of Halloween

For most kids, Halloween is a time of serious delight. They get to pick out a costume, dress up, pretend they’re their favorite character, and then go around the neighborhood getting free candy that’ll last them for weeks, if not a month or two. Halloween is the second favorite holiday of every kid (Christmas being the first). But for Amy Beth’s two little girls this wasn’t the case. Halloween for them was a great source of anxiety and Amy Beth noticed that right away.

The first year that the girls lived with Amy Beth and her husband they froze every time either one of them mentioned Halloween. That isn’t a typical child’s response and so she sat the girls down and asked them if they had ever taken part in Halloween before arriving at the Gardners’ house. The two little girls told her that they had, but Amy Beth quickly realized this was going to be a horrible story.

One Halloween after trick or treating, the girls had their candy taken away from them by an adult (Amy Beth didn’t elaborate which adult in the girls’ past did this). The adult then ate it in front of them while making the girls watch. Seeing this, the girls began to cry, and the adult then gave the empty wrappers of the candy back to the girls and forced them to eat the wrappers. That was the most prominent memory that the girls had of Halloween.

First Halloween with the Gardners

After hearing the girls’ horrific story Amy Beth knew that Halloween had to be approached cautiously. This was reaffirmed when the family was out trick or treating and she noticed the girls trying to discreetly count the candy that they were gathering. When they got home she took out two plastic bags and had each girl count their candy into the plastic bag. Then they wrote down the number of pieces of candy that each one had on the outside of the bag. Amy Beth and her husband promised that they wouldn’t touch a single piece of the girls’ candy.

Each time the girls had a piece of candy Amy Beth helped them renumber their bags. The girls didn’t fully trust their foster parents yet and so every couple of nights, Amy Beth would help the girls count their candy to ensure that everything was still there. It always was. That Halloween the girls learned that their foster parents (who became their parents) could be trusted when they made a promise.

 

A little girl’s gift

The first Halloween the girls spent with the Gardners was in 2014. This year, Amy Beth was cleaning up the kitchen when her youngest daughter came into the room with a little wrapped bag. She presented the gift to her mom, who opened it to reveal some of her daughter’s precious Halloween candy. Attached to the gift was a note that read, “Mom, I want to give you a taste of how much love I have for you by giving you my candy.” Her youngest daughter had picked out some candy that she thought her mom would like. Because of the time that Amy Beth and her husband spent earning the trust of their daughters, this little girl was able to get over her past memories and give something that was special to her to someone she loved.

Stories like this show what love and respect can do for children. These little girls are growing into wonderful people because of Amy Beth and her husband and the love they’re giving their children. It’s through lessons and stories like this that we’re reminded of how powerful kindness and compassion are. You can read Amy Beth’s full story on Facebook here.

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