Karen Spears Zacharias has written another memoir, a page turner, which tells it as it is, bare knuckles and all. It brings home the growing problem of child abuse and neglect. And it does so through the story involving people she knows.
Here in America, a report of child abuse is made every thirty seconds. Here in the land of the free, an estimated 906,000 children are victims of abuse and neglect every single year. That’s nearly a million children. Here in the home of the brave, 1,500 abused children die annually, usually from injuries sustained in their own homes. (p 309)
David Sheehan moved to the United States from Ireland, and met Sarah Brill. They married, and had a daughter, Karly. David was a loving, devoted father, but Sarah soon went back to her partying ways which soon meant the death of a marriage, and tragically, the death of their daughter.
Karen brings this story home in a way which helps us personalize a problem that has reached epidemic proportions in the United States: child abuse and neglect. You are not going to find a sweeter child than Karly, she indeed was a special child. And yet every single child is precious and special to Jesus, and should be special to us, as well.
Karly was specially gifted with a keen appreciation for and love of life. Even at the age of three she carried on conversations with adults, was a peacemaker in keeping the children playing well together in child care, soft-spoken, yet full of life. She had a special bond with her father, David. But her mother let her down, by not putting Karly and her needs above her own wants. And the system of Child Protective Services along with law enforcement failed to see what was right in front of them.
As a result of this tragedy, Corvallis put into place better policies, and Oregon passed “Karly’s Law” to prevent such failures. In the Journal of the San Francisco Police Association, this book was strongly recommended to everyone in the San Francisco Criminal Justice system.
You really need to read this book for yourself. Karen’s journalistic career, including that within criminal cases, serves the book well, along with her gift of making the pages weep, along with all the beauty. Karly’s prayer in the end was answered. And I’m sure God is at work through her all too short life. And us reading it, praying and thinking on it, and lovingly acting when needed can be a part of that ongoing work.