A little while before the last summer holidays, Shmuel moved to Haifa from a small town in northern Israel. His mother, a young woman who works as a prostitute, could not take care of him anymore and transferred 5 year-old Shmuel to live with his grandmother in Haifa.
The grandmother did her best but she was an old and sick woman.
She could not physically handle the vibrant grandson.
One day, a social worker came to visit the elderly woman, and to her surprise she found little Shmuel, thus, with the involvement of the welfare system, Shmuel arrived in Shabtai Levi Home.
Shmuel was used to being by himself for long hours, and he showed no need for assistance from the emergency center staff. He was received without any difficulties into the new framework, used to sleep in late, get dressed in the morning without any help, and the multitude of adults around him made him very uncomfortable.
When Shmuel was diagnosed by the psychologist at the emergency center, a severe and sad image emerged, of a tired and lonely boy who grew up before his time, who felt that he had to satisfy his needs by himself and who does not have any confidence at all that an adult will be there for him.
It was obvious that Shmuel was suffering from environmental deprivation and he had almost no opportunities of spending time with children his age. Shmuel’s father died when his mother was pregnant, and the matter of the father’s absence was not understood at all by Shmuel and was not explained to him.
One day, when the emergency center children went out to a Saturday walk around Haifa, Shmuel ran towards the road. When one of the guides stopped him and asked him where he wanted to go, Shmuel responded “I wanted to run away home to be there alone”.
During the emotional treatment which took place twice a week and the therapy groups taking place at the emergency center, Shmuel could improve relationship skills and process the difficult experiences he went through. For the first time in his life, he received meals in a nurturing kindergarten framework and a bedtime story.
After five months in the emergency center, a foster family was found for him.
It was a 45 year-old woman, without children, a special education teacher who immediately devoted herself to the relationship with Shmuel. Since she also lived in Haifa, it was possible to move Shmuel to her home, but also keep and strengthen his good relationship with his sick grandmother.
After a week, Shmuel was willing to hug the foster mother for the first time, and after visiting her house over the weekend, he moved in with her.
The foster mother tells that after a period of time when he was a bit closed off and introverted, Shmuel began singing and dancing in her house, and asking again and again for a hug before bed.
They bake cakes and read stories together.
Each week they meet with Shmuel’s grandmother and have ice-cream together in the center of Haifa.
After a short period of relaxation and organizing at the emergency center, Shmuel could devote himself to a new relationship, in a new home, and his life has changed completely.