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NAME:   MONICA RIVAS                                     DATE:   11/21/2005

COURSE:   ESL91                                                             ESSAY:   #3



November 13, 2005


Dear Mr. David & Mrs. Marilyn Rigler:


            My name is Monica Rivas, I am an ESL 91 student at Kingsborough Community College.  In my English Laboratory Class I had the opportunity to read the article and also watch the video about Genie, a 13 year old girl.  She was found alone in a room, isolated from society, with no communication at all and under inhuman circumstances.  It has been one of the few cases found in this country; so many people were involved and concerned for Genie: her mother, government, professionals in different areas, teachers, foster parents, Media and the entire community, in general.


            I decided to write this letter to both of you, as psychologist and therapist professionals and foster parents of Genie for approximately four years, because I consider that besides your interest in Genie for professional purposes like: measure her progress and see if she can be rehabilitated, you should have also considered other important aspects in human development, which are love and affection.


            Everybody’s goal is to have a career and become helpful for the community.  Personally, I admire people eager for being professional and helping others who require their services.  I also agree that professional people also want to be rewarded for giving those services.  The best prize for everybody is, of course, money.  However, there are other factors that might come together since we are working for human beings, which are: consideration, affection and love; among others.


            When you met Genie for the very first time, you said that you could see some kind of communication within her, that without saying a word she was connected with people, and just looking at her eyes, you said that you were attracted to her.  Both of you were conscious that taking her to live with you would be a hard challenge, as you expressed you really did not know what to expect, you just knew she needed a lot of help.  You had the opportunity to offer that help.  You saw how her few skills were developing little by little.  I remember you teaching her how to jump, march and how to pronounce some words.  You also taught Genie a method to express herself when she was upset.   If she was really upset she would let you know by waving one finger and if she was not so upset, she would wave her hand.  These skills were the result of the effort and time you dedicated in teaching her how to control herself and express her feelings through words or physical movements instead of just remaining silent.  As you declared later, you did your best.


            However, I want to point some factors that can not be rewarded with nothing in this life; which are love and affection.  As a graduate student in Human Development, you, Mrs. Rigler knows that those ingredients play a really important role in human life.   You are also parents of two sons and one daughter; you know that this is a gift that not all couples have.  I can talk for myself being a mother.  When I slightly think in the possibility that Genie’s case could be my daughter’s case I feel terrible and thank God for her good health.  At the same time, I pray to Him for Genie and other children that could be in this situation.  Hopefully they could find helping hands to take care of them with patient and love.  Show them the beauty of the outside world but above all, the beauty people posses inside as human beings.  You were not Genie’s own parents but as her foster parents, you had the responsibility to treat her like your own child.


               When we spend a lot of time with somebody, even though it is not from our own family, we get acquainted and used to him or her.  Sometimes we don’t even notice when we start feeling something strong for that person.  You spent a long time with Genie, almost four long years.  Day and night getting to know her better, her feelings, even though she could not communicate in a proper way, you dealt with this very well.  You spend with her happiness but also sadness. Remember the sad moment when you asked her what she was thinking about, she said “father” and when she was asked about how it was when living at home, she pronounced “potty” and then “potty chair”.  These sad memories reflected not only her language improvement but also her intelligence because she was able to remember part of her childhood, even though it was sad.  I consider that moments like this were the perfect opportunity to demonstrate to Genie how much you cared about her, maybe a kiss or just a hug would made her feel loved, instead of that, as I could see in the video, in that moment you showed no reaction.  Genie was a human being to be loved not someone to be studied and researched for the purpose of monetary gain or recognition.  These sad expressions would break anyone’s heart, for me it would be very difficult to let her go.


               No doubt that you did your best in professional purposes, observing her days and nights, you obtained a lot from her, your patience as a teacher and professional made you feel satisfied with Genie’s skills.  But considering the role as foster parents you could have done much more in humanitarian aims.  When you let her go, you did not think of how well she identified with you.  It was the first time she experienced being part of a complete family and you just gave up because the government funds were discontinued.   From the beginning you said that you did not plan to have her forever, but your point of view could have changed after you spent so much time with her and got to love her as one of your own child.  Unfortunately, things got worst when she left your home.  She was sent with other foster parents that did not know how to deal with her. They just punished her for not being a normal child.  Genie did not want to talk anymore, so all your studies and progress were lost.  That is why I question your conscious to think about if you made the right decision in not allowing Genie to continue being part of your family.  Have you ever stopped to think that maybe Genie’s development could have progressed more by being supported by love and affection instead of just money?


Yours truly,


Monica Rivas

ESL 91 Student.