When Brianna was taken away from her mother as a baby, her grandparents took her in. Her grandma was her role model, her protector, and her best friend. She gave Brianna all the love she needed.
Brianna always wanted to be a singer, and her grandma would accompany her on the piano. Brianna didn’t even mind that the other kids at school had moms and dads, and that she didn’t. Because she couldn’t imagine a parent being any more perfect than her grandma.
Her grandfather, however, wasn’t so sweet. He was an angry man, and as Brianna got older, he became resentful and cruel. He would tell Brianna she was stupid and annoying. When she sang, he would tell her to shut up.
When he got frustrated, he would lose control. And when he got angry, he would hit Brianna’s grandma. With his hands or with a belt. There was nothing Brianna could do to stop him.
Brianna had always liked school. She was a naturally good student, and got along with her teachers. But as things at home got more chaotic, she struggled to stay motivated.
Some days, she would get distracted during the lessons. Or she would snap at her peers. She started hanging out with kids who seemed tough so she could learn to stand up to her grandpa.
The violence at home was taking its toll on someone else, too.
Brianna’s grandma’s health started to fail her. Soon, she could barely walk. Some days, she could barely speak.
Brianna would skip school to stay home and take care of her grandma. She didn’t want to miss a moment with her. Brianna stopped doing her homework assignments. She just wanted to be by her grandma’s side.
And she was—when her grandma passed away.
Brianna was devastated. Her caretaker was gone. And she was terrified to be at home alone with her grandfather. She didn’t know if she would be the next target for his violence.
Brianna stayed with a friend’s family for a while, but she didn’t know what to do. Her world seemed empty. She wanted to give up.
Then a social worker from school came to visit her. He said he knew of a place that would be happy to take her in. Brianna didn’t want to get her hopes up, but she was ready to give it a try.
When Brianna moved in to Mercy Home, she struggled at first. She had been through so much, she wasn’t sure how to talk about it. She went through the motions at school and at our Home. She missed her grandma so much that she was afraid to feel anything at all.
As Brianna got to know our coworkers, she gradually started to feel at home. In time, she was ready to talk to her advocate and her therapist. She opened up in group therapy. She was able to process all she had experienced and relieved to find that we understood.
Her biggest step? Starting music therapy. Brianna began to experiment on instruments in our music room, and our music therapist played along. She would try to remember all the songs she and her grandma did together. And eventually, she was ready to sing again.
Still, Brianna had a lot to make up in school. She worked with our tutors on everything she had missed. It was tough work catching up in so many subjects, but Brianna was determined. And she wanted to make her grandma proud.
Thanks to all the encouragement you make possible, Brianna got back on track in school. She’s doing well in all her classes. She still wants to be a singer, but she wants to be a teacher, too, or even a pediatrician. And she knows that at Mercy Home, she is supported, safe, and loved.
Thank you for giving children like Brianna a place to turn. You show them the care and support they so desperately need. We are forever grateful for the miracles you have brought to their lives. Thank you for watching over them.
Please note: Because we care deeply about protecting our children’s privacy, the names and certain identifying details in this story have been changed.