This post is pure agony. Plain and simple. It is the post I wanted to write when our plane first touched down in Virginia 3 weeks ago. I fully expected to start advocating for Brady and Heath as soon as we arrived home. The urgency is real. The reality that the door will not stay open long for them to find families made my zeal to write about them my number one goal. I intended to begin yelling from the rooftops about these boys within days of arrival. I tried. I prayed. I couldn't do it. The words died each time I sat in front of the computer. At night I would lay awake and think about them, especially Brady. Words would formulate in my mind, thoughts would begin flow. But when I sat down to try to to capture those thoughts, they would flee and I would be left gasping for breath. My heart ached deep within me each time I would remember them. It still does. Writing about it hurts. What makes the hurt worse is that we never got a chance to say goodbye. We just left.
I didn't know that the last time I saw Brady that it was for the last time. I thought I had more time. It rained on our last visits. When it rained they brought Aaron to us in the infirmary and they kept the rest of the boys inside the buildings. So we missed watching the daily parade. On Gotcha Day, they refused to let us visit Aaron's bedroom or his building. We were cut off from seeing the caretakers or nurses one last time. It was a bitter ending. We had to walk out without a goodbye. We never saw the Lost Boys again. If I had known, I would have reacted differently the last time I saw Brady. I would have picked him up. I would have hugged and kissed him. I didn't get the chance.
He was always trying to run away. His tiny little legs pumping just as fast as he could go whenever someone accidently let go of his arm. The nurse on duty on the last day that we saw him was the least experienced. She was a jolly woman, who dearly loved the boys and they were always happy under her care. Brady was in rare form. Happy, laughing. She fed him snack and laughed with me over him. Aaron finished his drink, I gathered his hated cookies and we left the shed. When Brady's group came out a few minutes later, I was standing in the driveway, watching from a distance as I always did. The nurse had hold of him and the other precious little DS boy who was Brady's best buddy. Somehow Brady got away. He came flying up the driveway, straight for me. The other little guy took off down the opposite lane. It was comical and fun. I wasn't allowed to pick Brady up though I wanted to so badly it made me want to scream. I could only catch him, turn him around and lead him back to the nurse who was rounding up the other runner.
If I had known that was the last time I would see him I would have picked him up. I wouldn't have cared. Just one time I wanted the opportunity to give that child a kiss and a hug. I didn't know it was our goodbye and because of that, I have shed many tears. I never got to hold him in my arms. So many times he tried to get to me. So many times I had to turn him away. That rips my heart out.
Brady. What can I say about him as the tears flow down my face. Just thinking about him reduces me to a weeping puddle on the floor. You can't help but laugh when you are around his tiny little self. The ultimate escape artist. Always trying to run and climb and get away. Brady. Dragged along by the bigger boys lest he take off. Precious, filthy, in desperate need of a bath, Brady.
He just plain wants a Mama. So many times he would reach for me, climb across the table for me, long to be held by me and all I could do was push him away. It was so hard to follow the rules of 'don't touch', 'don't look', and 'don't talk'. I had to pretend he wasn't there. I was reprimanded often for watching him too closely, for helping him with his drink, for quick attempts to pat him on the head.
He was in Aaron's group. He slept in Aaron's room. He ate at Aaron's table. How could I not watch him? How could I not want to reach over and pick him up? It was so incredibly hard. He was so quick to laugh when the caretakers were loving and took the time to help him with his food and his drink. His little tongue makes it so hard for him to swallow. But with gentle help, he could swallow his bits of food and drink. Oh what joy!
On days when he knew he would not be fed, he came to the snack shed weeping. He'd grab for the cup only to have it taken away. No bits of candy or cookies on those days.
Brady. In tattered clothes, girly white leather shoes that constantly fell off his feet and hats that fell down over his eyes. There is no way he deserves to spend his days as a lost boy. He is a funny little monkey with so much life in him. He is the tinest boy of all the 65 boys who are brought outside. Yet he is beating the odds and is surviving.
Some of the caretakers care deeply for him. They will hold him, play with him and keep him occupied. To see him crack up laughing when they give him a bit of attention is precious. But they have so many who demand so much. Brady needs so much more than five minutes a day of a harried caretaker's time. He needs a family. He needs a Mommy who wears tennis shoes and is willing to chase him across the yard. He needs to climb and jump and play. He needs to be held and kissed. He needs to sit in a bathtub surrounded with bubbles. Dear precious Brady.
Then there is Heath.
Brady and Heath. Two precious little ones among the 100+ Lost Boys at Aaron's institute. Two of many needy, desperately, lonely boys. But they are unique. They are the only two who are available for adoption at that institute. Just two little boys out of so many.
I do not know why only these two are available. I don't understand why the other precious children at that institute face a lifetime behind those walls. Some have families. A pitiful few even get visits. Most are completely alone, abandoned years ago but because of their disability, their age or their behavior, they are deemed unworthy. Most of them never had a voice when they were young, living at the baby orphanages. They never had a chance for adoption. Their files sat in dust heaps on the floor. There wasn't a Reece's Rainbow around for them when they were little. They were lost from the beginning. They will live out their days institutionalized. No longer little, cute or worthy of a family. It hurts deeply to face that reality.
Only Brady and Heath have hope for a family. The door is open for them but Rob and I both know the reality of that open door. After having been there and after walking those paths, we know it will only be open for a short time. Unless someone steps up and gets those boys, they will lose their chance.
I can't forget. Brady, Heath and the rest of them. I can't forget because I fell in love with those boys. All of them. My heart is broken deep within me. Honestly, I don't want to forget. I am trying to figure out where we go from here. In the meantime, I pray. Rob and I both pray. We pray for a family or two to take a huge leap of faith, cross an ocean and rescue these two lost boys who have a chance of escape. THEY ARE SO WORTH SAVING. Their time is running short.
We also pray that somehow, in some way, it would work out for God to make a way for His church to move into that institute in order to minister Christ's love to the rest of those Lost Boys and to all the weary workers who care for them.