I wonder if the final screams of his mother and the gunshot were still ringing in his ears as he is passed from police officer to lawyer to case worker, and finally to me. It’s 2 am and in all the activity at the crime scene, no one thought to grab his blanket or a few familiar toys or clothes from home.
He has nothing but the clothes on his back. He is still in crisis mode, heart pounding in his chest, tiny fists clenched, his chubby body rigid on high alert. His body remains tense as his eyes adjust to the room’s light. A warm bath, clean diaper, and pajamas await.
Tenderly, his soiled clothes are removed to reveal the scratches and cuts all over his body. Pictures are taken to document what his clothing hid. He is bathed and dressed. He is scared; it is a struggle to comfort him. He wails and sobs, at times trying to catch his breath. He is cradled tightly and carried up the stairs. In whispered tones, I repeat, “you are safe here.”