Part 1 – Her Protector
“We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.”
This is the first installment of ‘The Mourning Doves,’ an adoption story of a single mother, her daughter, and their search for a therapy dog. ‘The Mourning Doves’ is a multi-post documentary from the Invisible Obstacles Series.
“A child can be labeled as ‘unadoptable.’ My daughter is one of them. People want to bring home a perfect child. Most don’t want to sign up for the type of kids who are actually out there, looking for homes.”
I’m nervous as I enter the room where Anne sleeps. Her mother, Amelia, told me that the worst of Anne’s symptoms manifest at night. She can’t sleep alone, and will wake up screaming without someone familiar lying next to her.
Amelia assures me that Anne is expecting me, and she’s not afraid of strangers.
The shades are open, and Anne sleeps under the blue morning light. As my camera shutter clicks, Anne pulls the blankets in a tight nest around her body and re-settles. Her eyes do not open.
Meanwhile, Amelia is busy in the living room. She plans today’s lessons, checks her email, and finishes her morning coffee before slipping back into bed.
Anne begins to stir, and her dog, Xena, climbs onto the blankets, pressing the length of her back firmly against Anne. Xena was adopted from a shelter, they have been training her as a therapy dog to manage Anne’s PTSD.
“Anne really needs a warm body, to be her protector. She needs someone to sleep with, and company in the bathroom. Xena is a dog that is always looking for love, and will go anywhere with Anne.”
Anne opens her eyes. Her hand settles on Xena’s coat and Xena’s tail thumps gently. Anne gives me a wary glance, followed by a shy smile. She buries her head into the pillow as Amelia climbs into bed, where the family of three – Amelia, Anne, and Xena, slowly welcome this windy Thursday in June.
This is the first installment of ‘The Mourning Doves,’ a multi-post documentary from the Invisible Obstacles Series. Check out the other posts here: