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December 15, 2008

Felled by the Plight of the World's Children

Handcircle_4 Enough, people.

I can't take one more story about atrocities committed to children.  Not one more.

My friend's therapist told her that humans are programmed to be able to handle the stress of their village, but no more than that.  Now that our village includes the whole world, thanks to the internet and 24-hour news, there's enough stress to make my head explode in ten minutes.

I've always been a sensitive person, but since I became a mother I am affected by sad news stories about children much more severely.  A recent story in this space about a boy who died after a car accident made me cry at my desk at work.  The boy who escaped his captors in Tracy, CA makes me want to support the death penalty.  Just now in my email in-box there was an online petition regarding the case of a murdered 2-year-old in Syracuse, NY.  I wound up doing an internet search in hopes that the story is an urban myth, but sure enough it's true.  Now I'm haunted by the little girl, just as I am still haunted by the children abandoned just before Nebraska changed its safe harbor law last month.  To this day in random moments - driving to work, brushing my teeth, folding laundry, walking with a friend - my eyes will fill with tears when I remember the 6-year-old who fell to his death from a Ferris wheel at a fair in 2006.

It's sad enough that the children died.  But I think about how they were children and how innocent and trusting they once were and how terrified and confused they must have been in the days and moments before they died.  I empathize to the point of uselessness:  I get so overcome that I am useless to myself and my own family.

That last email I got today was the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm going into news moratorium again, sticking my head in the sand. Don't send me your petition for orphans or your solicitation of cash donations to feed homeless babies.  I'll delete it and focus on what I can do: love my children even better, and give my used items and cash donations to groups that care for foster kids.

This is an original post for Los Angeles Moms Blog.  Kim also takes out her frustration in writing at House of Prince.

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