Once upon a time, there was village well known far and wide for the people’s willingness to take in foster children. Virtually every household was raising at least one child from some other village, with many raising two or three, and a few households with as many as seven.
The wealthiest couple in the village were named Sam and his seventh wife Martha (every so often a wife would leave Sam, prompting him to remarry, usually the very next day). Sam and Martha had over three hundred foster children – so many, in fact, that they bought several acres surrounding their property to build residential quarters for the children, and petitioned the town supervisor to provide state agents to help care for, feed, and educate all of the kids. It seemed as though for every one kid who became an adult and moved on, four more kids were ushered in.
Sam and Martha took in any foster child who met very basic requirements, but also specialized in adopting children who had been the victims of abuse. Not most of their foster children had been abused, but it was also true that Sam and Martha took in more abused children, both in terms of numbers and percentages, than any other household in the village or indeed in the world.
That said, the waiting list for a single abused child to join Sam and Martha on their compound measured in years – sometimes as many as seven! Many of the surrounding villages had hundreds or thousands of damaged children, and for every one child Sam and Martha brought in, 100 remained in a dangerous situation. The world is dark and cold, and children are often beaten and abused.
Part of what made the world cold and dark was Sam, who dedicated much of his time and resources travelling to neighboring villages and beating and abusing children. Some of the neighboring villages fought back, but Sam had considerable wealth and power, and would go North, South, East, and West (although he preferred East) where he would mercilessly beat children. A small number of those children wound up on his compound, and they were grateful for it – Sam and Martha’s village was considerably more affluent, and they weren’t beaten there – but most of the beaten children just shuffled around from place to place, attempting to avoid the relentless onslaught of Sam and his child-beating posse. Partially as a result of this, perpetual war broke out in the East, causing more and more children to flee to more and more neighboring villages, causing considerable logistical challenges and security risks for everybody.
Martha left Sam (as his wives were wont to do) and Sam remarried the very next day (as he was wont to do). This wife’s name was Trudy, who used to be a sailor and was rather disgusting in both word and deed. She feared the war in the East and proclaimed that the compound of Sam and Trudy would no longer put children from the East on the wait-list for adoption.
The villagers were shocked and enraged! They called Trudy villainous and depraved and an imbecile and Easternphobic! (She was, in fact, uncomfortable with sunrises, although Easternphobic may have been a bit off the mark). She very publicly said much the same about the villagers. Of course Sam continued to leave the village and traveled East to beat children, or more likely now to pay others to beat them as he watched, and the townspeople tipped their hat as he left, as they knew beating children in far-away villages was a necessary evil…but oh did they despise Trudy, and oh did they love those poor wretched orphaned bruised-up-and-bloodied souls, and how they wished upon anything that there was something that could be done for the sake of the children!
I’m sorry to say that this is where the story ends. The villagers did everything they could to petition Trudy to put the same one-out-of-a-hundred beaten children on the same seven-year-wait-list as Martha had, and Trudy became more stubborn and vulgar in her refusal. Sam continued to beat children in neighboring villages, causing instability and war throughout the land, and the villagers continued to ignore or justify it. Nothing changed.