The most influential person in my life thus far has been a boy named Leland. It is amazing that one tiny little boy could have such an impact on so many lives in such a short time. It is because of Leland that I realized how incomplete my life is, returned to school, and want to spend my life saving precious lives like his.
Leland was the second child of a teenage mom who had been involved with drugs and alcohol since she was a young girl. She was the daughter of a friend of a friend and her mother put her out due to her lack of responsibility and her errant ways. She got involved with a young man within ten months they had two babies together. The father was not the brightest guy in the world, but he worked to support his family. He assumed the mother was caring for the babies while he was at work.
In fact, she was not caring for the children and neglected them so severely that the older child, the daughter, died from chronic starvation and dehydration at the age of 14 months. Leland was taken rushed to the hospital and put on life support at the time of her death. He was four months old and weighed less than eight pounds.
I began to babysit Leland two days a week and quickly my daughter was drawn in by his little smile and zest for life, too. Leland was so full of energy and was into everything! The couple who had legal custody of Leland decided to divorce around the time of Leland’s first birthday. They also decided they did not want to keep him. At that time, Leland came to live with my daughter and me, which was a dream come true for me, as I had always wanted more children but had given up on the hope of having more.
Life was wonderful for the next year and a half. My daughter and Leland we inseparable and we were truly a happy family. We went on vacations and did all the little things that make having a family such a blessing.
While our lives were going along happily, Leland’s biological parents had been arrested and...