Olivia Smith*'s aunt was the first parent/guardian I talked to on the phone prior to Junior Day Camp's beginning, and from the beginning I knew that Olivia Smith would break my heart.
And now she's done it.
Her aunt told me that Olivia would have trouble adjusting to camp life; that her background was harsher than the other kids; that, despite being a very smart girl, she had not the opportunity to learn very basic things.
The first day of camp, Olivia sat away from the other children, preferring to isolate herself. She ate her fruit cocktail with her fingers and emptied her bowels in her pants. None of this seemed to bother her, she just strayed farther away.
One of the other girls smelled something rank and had no qualms about saying so. I asked Olivia if she needed to go to the bathroom, and she said no.
I told her that I needed to go to the bathroom, and asked if she would go with me. She reluctantly followed. It was then that I asked, "Olivia, is there any possibility that you might have had an accident?" She denied it, despite the obvious brown spot on the back of her shorts. I asked her again, explaining that it would be our secret and that I wouldn't get mad at her, but she still denied it. It took 15 minutes for her to admit to this, but she refused to change her clothes. By now there were only a few minutes left of camp, so we waited for her aunt to pick her up.
It was that night that her aunt told me the extent of the situation. Olivia, her mother, and brother, ran away from her father in rural Idaho, for good reasons. Upon arrival at the welltodo town of Wilmette, IL, Olivia did not know what a doorbell was, spoke as a four year old, and did not know how to use a fork. Her aunt taught her these things.
The accident was repeated on the second day, as well as the third, but these times she managed to (somewhat) clean herself up and change clothes.
However, from the fourth day to today, four weeks later, Olivia has shown immense improvements. She has several friends, is talking better, and has markedly improved tablemanners. She is a funny, sweet, talented little girl, and I could not be prouder of how far she has come.
And now she's leaving.
Tomorrow is her last day of camp before she returns to Idaho, to her abusive father and poor neighborhood.
I don't know what to do, as this is her mother's choice to return. A large part of me says it is none of my business, and simply pray that her father has changed. But I have grown to care for her. Every achievement she makes I feel a part of. Yes, I may have started to love her, and I would feel better with her living in my crappy dorm room, eating crappy dorm food than back with that man.
Should I call family services? I still feel that I don't know enough to make a call on this.
This is the first time that work has made me cry.
*Name has been changed