Story of a Little Girl
This is the story of Ayala, who came to the Children's Home two years ago and has since made wonderful progress. The story is brought to illustrate how almost incomprehensibly painful a young child's life can be, yet how there remains room for hope and healing.
Ayala (not her real name) arrived at the Children's Home when she was 7 years old. The lovely blue eyes of the pretty, blond-haired girl standing before us reflected keen intelligence. But they also expressed overwhelming sorrow and unendurable emotional pain.
When Ayala was 2½ years old, she was abandoned in a busy train station of a central Ukrainian city.
Passersby found her and she was placed by authorities in an orphanage, where she remained for two years. Because her original name and background were unknown, she was given a new name. When she was 4½, she was brought to Israel by a single Israeli woman who had adopted her through the services of an Israeli agency specializing in adoptions abroad. In Israel, she was again given a new name, Ayala, and taught to speak a new language, Hebrew. Her adoptive mother raised Ayala for 1½ years before inexplicably abandoning her at the Child Welfare Bureau, demanding that the adoption be canceled and callously refusing to spend another day with the child. Ayala was placed in a children's shelter with other children waiting for adoption, where she remained for an entire year. Diagnostic tests and evaluations confirmed her severe emotional state that disabled her from relating to and communicating with her caregivers and the other children. When she was especially under stress, she barked and howled like a wounded animal. Any attempt to place her with a
foster family for potential adoption was destined to fail.
The Children's Home welcomes Ayala
Caring for Ayala has not been easy – her tragic story and her deep sorrow often created difficult emotional and therapeutic challenges for her caregivers. But, over time, improvement in many areas has been achieved.
Ayala's caregivers were gradually able to ease the barking and howling of the first few months. But with no faith in the world, Ayala continued to lash out, aggressively and destructively. Sensitive and confused, she could cry for hours after seeing a dead butterfly, but was also capable of catching another butterfly and squashing it between her fingers. However, in a relatively short time, her caregivers discovered that Ayala was a very special girl. She was eager to learn, she was good at math, had a highly developed imagination and a rich inner life. She communicated easily with animals and liked to be near them. She especially loved being at the therapeutic pet corner. Ayala was slowly becoming used to the Home, the children and the staff.
Although living amongst another 14 boys and girls in her unit, Ayala's sense of isolation was painfully clear to everyone – no one came to visit her, no one called. The other children, whose families visited regularly and phoned frequently, were preoccupied with the question of how it was possible that no guests ever arrived for Ayala, even on her birthday. Constantly searching for her mother, she demanded repeatedly, "Where is my mother? Bring me my mother." On those occasions when she realized that her adoptive mother would never renew contact, she clung to the social worker's blouse or to the mothers of the other children and asked, "Can you find me another mother?" She longed for something to be hers alone, so she hoarded her clothes. At the cottage in the evening, when the children placed their clothes in the laundry bag, Ayala always returned her clothes to her closet.
Since the Adoption Bureau's cancellation of the single mother's adoption, Ayala remained with no legal guardian.
The Children's Home, in a move to resolve this unacceptable situation, constantly sought proper guardianship for Ayala and a host family whom she could visit during holidays and vacations, once she acquired greater emotional strength.
Last year, a court process was begun to bestow legal guardianship to an exceptionally impressive woman, a lawyer with a family of her own, who has committed herself to this challenge and to safeguarding Ayala's future.