Today my brother in law is dead. Whether by his own hand or the hand of another we do not know, and that really isn’t even what matters. What matters is that he is 16 years old and he is dead. And you and I and other people just like you and me are responsible. Chad was a forgotten child. He was the quiet boy that sat in the back of the classroom when he even showed up at all. His clothes where raggedy and sometimes dirty. Maybe you thought he didn’t care. Maybe you thought he was trouble. Did you ever look close enough to see his sweet, sweet soul or his pain. He loved to skateboard and he was pretty good at it too. He was quiet and shy and smart and funny. But he was hurt and angry and depressed and life at home was difficult. Maybe you knew that his life at home was bad, maybe you only suspected or maybe you didn’t care. But I cared. I won’t forget him. Do you know a Chad?

I knew that Chad’s father was not around, unavailable and unable to sustain a loving relationship with his children. I knew that his mother was so angry with her children’s father that she let that anger rule her life. I knew she had addiction problems. I knew that his sister parented him and shielded him from their mother’s anger, to the best of her abilities, but she was still just a child as well. If I lived 500 miles away and knew this why didn’t the neighbors, the school, his friends, his community know? I made 2 child protective hotline calls when I knew of specific incidences that could be verified it anyone took the time to look and ask questions. No one investigated. Because he is a forgotten child.

I keep asking myself, why? Why did his community fail him. If they knew why didn’t they call? Why didn’t you call? Why did you not try to save Chad? I tried. Why did you turn the other way and tell yourself that it wasn’t your problem. Maybe you called police or child protective, and called until you got tired of no one doing anything about it so you just stopped calling. You just forgot about it and you forgot about Chad. But I won’t ever forget.

The calls were made. By me, by the school, maybe by the neighbors and the police. But you ignored it because Chad was forgettable, you see kids just like him everyday. And you just don’t care. Shame on you Child Protective Services, shame on you! Did you look? Did you try? Did you care? No. How many times were you called about these children and you just looked the other way. And now Chad is dead. He was a forgotten child. But I won’t forget him.

And I don’t want the world to forget him either. Do you know a Chad? One of the forgotten children? Do you make the call or look the other way? Do you decide to get involved or do you just forget about it because it isn’t any of your business? Do you reach out to the hurting children in your corner of the world? Can you take the time to listen? Can you take the time to care? The world if full of forgotten children. The world is full of Chads can you save yours? Because I couldn’t save mine. I won’t forget. Will you forget?

If this is important to you, if this touches your heart, please pass it on. Maybe you can save a life. Copy it and paste it into an email or just send a link. Please you may save a life


Anonymous said…
Wow! This is very powerful!
I'm so very sorry this happened to your BIL. It's such a sad thing to happen. However, please remember the GOOD you are doing for OTHER children. Chad loves you, and you need to know that. Bless you.
Anonymous said…

I am so saddened by this sorry for your loss. It is a tragic, terrible thing and your plea for help for others will not go un-noticed. I am sorry that Chad is gone, sorry that he was forgotten, sorry that you and your family are suffering. Thank you for making me and others think.....

Anonymous said…
Debi and family...I'm so, so sorry to hear about Chad
Debi, my heart aches for you and your family! I'm so sorry for everything that went wrong for Chad! I will continue to keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you for everything you do for so many children and for all you tried to do for Chad! Tammy
Anonymous said…
Oh Debi, I am so sorry that the situation had to end up like this. Always know that you and your husband tried very hard to save Chad-the system has failed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You and your husband are wonderful loving people and you have done so much good for your other children-you are truly working with God.
Bless you,
Anonymous said…
Debi, I am so very sorry for your loss. I know how much you cared for Chad and how hard you tried to help him, and I am sure he knew how much you loved him. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Anonymous said…
Debi, I 'm so sos sorry for your loss, it happens far to often, my prayers are with you.

Hugs Cindy
Anonymous said…
I am so sorry for your loss, what a tragedy - and so completely preventable!! Iwill be praying for you and your family, so he can hold you in his loving care!
Sherry Cheever said…
Oh Debi I have tears in my eyes after reading this. I am so sorry for your family's loss and will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. This is a very tender subject for me and my heart just breaks for Chad! My oldest daughter had/has friends so like Chad and all of them always had/have a place in my home. Hugs to all of you.
Suzy Tyler said…

My heart is heavy and sad at your loss. I will pass this along to all that I know.

Big hugs,
Debi, I'm so sorry to hear this. My heart goes out to you and your dh!!! HUGS!
Anonymous said…
Oh Hun,
I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I know in a way how it feels as my uncle was murdered a few weeks back.
I , too, was a forgotten child for part of my life. I thank God that I was helped though. I am sorry your bil was not. This is so tragic. If you need someone to talk to email me! I have sorta bee there. Take care (((hugs)))
Anonymous said…

My heart breaks for what you and your family have been throuh. Your words will make me think next time I see a child like Chad.....what more can I do to help the children in my community.

Hugs to you,
Anonymous said…
I am so very sorry to hear what happen to your brother-in-law. What happened to him is all too tragic, and all too often the norm for kids like him. Thank you for helping to get the message out. I live where there are several kids like Chad, and try as I might, CPS doesn't care, and these kids "slip through the cracks". Please don't stop caring, and don't let anyone you know stop caring either. I will pass Chad's story on and hope it opens up others eyes and hearts. You and your family are in my prayers.
Anonymous said…
It disturbs me that political correctness and red tape have far too often come before the well being of child. Cases such as with your BIL should not even exist. I work with children each day and cannot imagine not loving anyone of the little buggers that come through my home. It saddens me that in this world today we care more about whether we say Happy holidays rather than Merry Christmas.
I have been taught that we are all here for a purpose maybe in a way Chad's story will help other children who are on the verge of falling into the cracks. Maybe He will not be forgotten afterall, if his life story can bring others to awareness.
My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Debbie...there are no words...I'm so very sorry....I'm praying for your whole family, for healing.

In Him
Anonymous said…

I'm so sorry for your pain and your loss.
Anonymous said…
i'm sorry
Marilynn said…
I just now read of Chad's death and the sadness your family is enduring. You have given so many people, including myself, a wake up call. Remembering you, your family and Chad in my prayers.

Mariynn aka APandi
Morgan said…

so sorry for your loss...suicide really is the worst kind of tragedy. I will be praying for your family. thanks for sharing your story in the hopes of bringing awareness to a sometimes "unspoken of" national crisis. May the Lord Bless you and keep you.
Anonymous said…
My heart goes out to you. Lately my son has had several forgotten children come into his life. They may appear to be different. We need to look more closely at them. The ones in my sons life are hurting and wanting to be loved. As adults we need to take the time to give them time and unconditional love. They need to know that they matter. I am glad that you tried. I will pray for you as you go through the healing process ahead.

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