I needed to hear these things beforehand. Maybe I thought I could prepare myself. I knew before we arrived at the orphanage that the hardest part of this journey was going to be getting a glimpse of the conditions that these children are in. And then have to leave them behind. It is terribly sad and horrible that any child be confined to cribs with minimal care for their entire lives.
One little boy, I found continually chewed and gnawed on the crib bars.
This poor little boy, I did not see awake EVER!
And there was one boy kept in a crib in Julia's room that I won't forget because I could not understand why he was in there. This room is reserved for "the worst of the worst." The children with the most severe special needs. They are deemed completely worthless......the children that nobody would ever adopt. They are literally kept hidden from the world, except for a few of us who get a very small glimpse. Even volunteer therapy groups are discouraged from going into this room. They are told not to bother. It didn't appear that this boy's special needs were anywhere near severe enough to warrant his fate in this awful room. He also looked entirely too big to be kept in such a small crib. He was always quiet and calm. He looked at me, seemed engaged, and could move around in his crib as his gaze followed me around the room. This is a five year old little boy we now know is called Valentin. He is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, just like our Aaron (Sergey). If a family doesn't come for him soon, he will "age" out of the orphanage and be placed in an institution, where there will be virtually no hope for him AND he will live under worse conditions.
There was a family committed to adopt him. They knew very little about him and had virtually no medical information on him. And without anyone spending any quality time with him in this room, it was difficult for them to know what to expect. From what I know, he was transferred to this room about a year ago. Sadly, spending every day in this tiny crib in a small room with about 7 other cribs jammed in side by side and around the perimeter, has been devastating and detrimental to him.
I have heard that he is not the same child he was when he was first transferred to this room or even since I was there. The family that was to adopt him learned some medical information about him when they received their referral once in country. What they learned about him at this appointment caused them to become concerned, as they have a large family of 6 children, many of whom were adopted from other areas of this Eastern European country. They were concerned about whether they could handle the more severe special needs they had learned about. They continued on, with trepidation, to his region where they would meet him. They visited him twice, one time for 20 minutes and the next for a couple of hours. Even spending time out of his room was too much for this poor boy. Extreme overstimulation. He was found to have screaming fits brought on by seemingly nothing. And they would stop just as inexplicably. He would get agitated and start banging his head on his crib or anything he could. From when I was there, it appears he has also lost a lot of mobility, no doubt from being so confined.
This has been an extremely difficult time for this family. They have prayerfully decided that they cannot adopt him. How hard this must have been for them. They fell in love with a picture of a beautiful boy.
They completed a homestudy, filled out hours of paperwork, spent lots of money, traveled to the country, and were left with this terrible decision. This is a risk that many of us have faced when adopting from this country. I am sure this has been a gut-wrenching ordeal as they realized he is going to need a family that will be able to give him more than they can. They had to leave him there having seen his circumstances. I ask that you all keep this family in your prayers. They know that his living conditions have made this cognitively functioning child that I saw, into a child who has become disturbed. A child that has to be strapped down with padding to keep him from hurting himself.
No child deserves this kind of life. I know they are praying hard for a family to come for him in time......a family that can give this child the quality and quantity of time it will take to try to undo this damage, if it is even possible at all. It will take a very special family.
I am asking for everyone who reads this post to pray for this little boy. Pray that a family can come for him. The Lord places the lonely in families. We have seen it happen over and over again. We have witnessed the most "unadoptable" children placed in loving families. Our own Julia, was considered an "unadoptable" child. She was a frail four year old child weighing 15 pounds 8 oz. (fully clothed) with a diagnosis (Cockayne Syndrome) that gave her a life span of 4-7 years. The Lord brought her to us. We answered His call with "yes, we will go......" The road was not easy. When we brought her home she could not even roll over from her back to her front. She had never known anything else but life on her back. She is now a happy, energetic five year old, who has doubled her weight in 8 months and can get herself to sitting and crawling position. Miraculously, we have found that she does not have Cockayne Syndrome. Our prayers were answered.
Nothing is impossible with Christ. There is power in prayer. The Lord will hear our prayers for Valentin too! Please share his story. Donate to his grant fund on Reece's Rainbow by clicking here. All donations are tax deductible. No amount donated is too small. Thousands can be raised if everyone who reads this donates only $10.
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families...." Psalm 68:5-6