On a related note, Tiffany's Story reminded me of an account shared in a fairly recent devotional in which Jeffrey R. Holland related a story a police officer shared with him:
In our conversations he told us that late one evening he was called to investigate a complaint in a particularly rough part of the city. Over the roar of loud music and with the smell of marijuana in the air, he found one woman and several men drinking and profaning, all of them apparently totally oblivious of the five little children- aged about two through eight years of age- huddled together in one room, trying to sleep on a filthy floor with no bed, no mattress, no pillows, no anything. Brother Freestone looked in the kitchen cupboards and in the refrigerator to see if he could find a single can or carton or box of food of any kind- but he literally could find nothing. He said the dog barking in the backyard had more food than those children did.
In the mother's bedroom he found a bare mattress, the only one in the house. He hunted until he found some sheets (if you could call them that), put them on the mattress, and tucked all five children into the makeshift bed. With tears in his eyes he then knelt down, offered a prayer to Heavenly Father for their protection, and said good night.
As he arose and walked toward the door, one of the children, about age six, jumped out of bed, ran to him, grabbed him by the hand, and pled, "Will you please adopt me?" With more tears in his eyes, he put the child back in bed, then found the stoned mother (the men had long since fled) and said to her: "I will be back tomorrow, and heaven help you if some changes are not evident by the time I walk in this door. And there will be more changes after that. You have my word on it."
At the conclusion of Holland's address, he said:
"Not many of us are going to be police officers or social service agents or judges sitting on a legal bench, but all of us should care for the welfare of others and the moral safety of our extended community."
"Those children in that home without food or clothing are sons and daughters of God. That mother, more culpable because she is older and should be more responsible, is also a daughter of God. Such situations may require tough love in formal, even legal ways, but we must try to help when and where we can."
For the full address click here.