The Worth of a Child

I visited with a friend recently who told me that he offered a family member a large sum of money if she would only relinquish her parental rights over her two-year old. If I didn’t know this man, didn’t know the situation, I might think that’s about the wildest story ever. But the thing is this man is doing his level best to save the young child from tragedy.

Unlike the child’s mother, he knows the worth of a child.

The mother has a history of drug abuse. She often leaves the child in the care of very questionable “friends”. Talking to her does no good. Ever try to reason with a stump? That’s akin to talking to someone addled by drug abuse. It just doesn’t do one lick of good.

This weekend marks eight years since Karly Sheehan was tortured and murdered. In the eight years that have passed an additional 12,000 American children have died as a result of child abuse. And those are just the ones who died. Thousands of other children continue to live in households of terror.

What can you do to help?

Make a donation to the Karly Sheehan fund at the Benton County Foundation by clicking here. Or to your local Child Abuse Center. If you don’t know your nearest center, you can click here.

You can buy a  copy of A Silence of Mockingbirds and share it with others.

And if you suspect a child is behind abused, for goodness sake, tell somebody.

Be a Voice. 

The following is an excerpt from A Silence of Mockingbirds: 


Karly fashioned a game from her favorite movie Shrek. She and David played it a hundred times or more. The last time they played, it was on Monday, May 30, 2005, at the playground at Hoover Elementary School. The school is located a couple hundred yards from David’s house and within blocks of Shawn’s place.
It was Sarah’s week to have Karly. David’s coursework on his master’s program at George Fox University was winding up. Even though it was a holiday, he had a study group meeting in Salem, papers he needed to write, exams to study for, and his job to attend to. It was going to be a crazy, hectic week.
Father and daughter spent Saturday at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. They drove up in the morning, met up with David’s girlfriend, and rode MAX, the city’s mass transit system, out to the zoo. Karly loved seeing the hairy orangutan, the painted zebra, and the gangly-necked giraffe. She ran from animal to animal, standing on her tiptoes, tugging on David to pick her up so she could better see the sleeping polar bear. After Saturday’s outing, both father and daughter were so tired that on Sunday, after Mass, they puttered around the house all day. Monday morning, after breakfast and chores, Karly and David walked over to the playground at Hoover.

“Higher!” Karly cried, as David gave her a gentle push in the swing.
“Betcha can’t catch me!” she said, running from him. “Catch me, Daddy!” she commanded as she barreled down the slide on her tummy.
Then she climbed up on one of the play structures and spread out across the colored tubing. She lay perfectly still, eyes closed, a slight grin on her face.
It was David’s cue.

She was a sleeping princess, like Shrek’s Fiona, who could only be awakened with a kiss from her daddy. And it had to be the perfect kiss or she would forever remain suspended somewhere between life and death. It was up to the prince to save her, to awaken her, and to bring her back to life. And love, true love, was the key.
David leaned over the sleeping Karly and kissed her. Then he stood back to wait her reaction. Ah. Nothing. The princess remained asleep. No magic in that kiss. He leaned over and tried again.

Aha! That’s the one. Her blue eyes popped open, reflective pools that mirrored her daddy’s eyes. The magic worked. Karly clasped her little hands around her father’s neck and whispered, “Thank you, Prince! You saved me!”


Karen Spears Zacharias is the author of A Silence of Mockingbirds. 

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment