Juan Diego (9) and his older brother Jefferson (13) came to Esperanza School in the middle of 2016. Jefferson is a kind and caring older brother, very respectful. Juan Diego has symptoms of being within the autism spectrum; he is highly verbal and has wonderful insights. Their family was going through a very difficult time.
Irma counseled both parents and learned that momma had been enduring both emotional and verbal abuse for many years. She had found refuge in the arms of another man. She left the home just after the boys were enrolled.
Dad couldn’t understand why she left. He had always apologized for his behavior. Irma helped him to see the abuse cycle in their home, that words can damage hearts. His constant response to her attempts at forming healthy relationship were questions like, "Who bought the clothes you’re wearing? Who buys shoes for this family? You wouldn’t have anything if it wasn’t for me.”
He acknowledged the cycle and cried. He was convinced that the relationship was beyond repair.
The boys were first left with their dad, later Jefferson bounced back and forth. Both boys were suffering terribly, totally neglected emotionally.
One day Juan Diego asked Irma to pray with him. With his precious special perceptive heart he cried out, “Please, please pray with me. Pray for my mamá!" He closed his eyes, “Please, please God, help my parents not to be separated, please!” Then he said to Irma, “Pray, you too, please. Now. Pray that my parents don’t stay separated.”
About 8 weeks ago Irma sat down to talk with momma. Her heart broken, she talked to Irma. "I don’t know what happened to me. I don’t know where my head was that I would abandon my kids and leave my husband. I don’t know. I don’t understand. I've always wondered how people abandon their kids. I don’t know how I did it.”
As she shared her story she said that she had no peace at all the whole time she was in the other relationship. Her mind constantly worried about her boys. She knew she belonged with them. Finally, she walked out the door. The other man followed and begged her to stay. He even followed her down the street. She told him to stay home and wait, but she never went back.
Healing is beginning to take place in their relationship. They were spending some time together in the afternoons with the boys and had gone on some outings as a family to the beach. Sometimes her husband would ask permission to come to her home and cook a meal for her and the boys.
There is still fear, though, of the recurring cycle that she has lived for years.