Monday, October 25, 2010

Recalled to Life

Heath is a nine year old boy with Down Syndrome.  Unlike Brady who was listed on Reece's Rainbow before he was transferred and 're-discovered' after we arrived at Aaron's internat, Heath was unknown to the outside world.  Sadly, we still know very little about him.  All we know is that for some reason, his file was not dumped in the 'unadoptable' file and when Brady's file was re-discovered, Heath's file also surfaced.  The director agreed to list him on Reece's Rainbow.  She doubts anyone would want him.  We pray with all our hearts that she is wrong.

He is a tiny little guy in stature.  His feet barely make it to the edge of his shared wheelchair.  He is in the lowest functioning group.  The age range of boys is 6 to 18 with only 2 caretakers to minister to the needs of 20 very needy boys.  Since Heath is so little and quiet, he is easily lost in the chaos that constantly surrounds him.

Rob wrote this tribute to Heath.  It touched me deeply when I read it.  It says everything that needs to be said for this little lost boy. 

(Rob writing)

If you've ever read A Tale of Two Cities, written by that master craftsman of the English sentence, Charles Dickens, then you might remember that Book the First was entitled "Recalled to Life." As the story opens, an English banker named Jarvis Lorry is on his way to bring home an old client, Dr. Manette. Manette has just been released from the Bastille, a well-known prison in Paris. His supposed "crime" was knowing too much about the misdeeds of a French aristocrat. For this, he was confined to a prison cell and isolated from all human contact for eighteen years, losing his wife, his daughter, his friends, his medical practice, and everything else he had.

As Lorry rides the mail coach from London toward the ferryboat at Dover, he wonders what renewed freedom will be like for Manette after so many long, empty years in prison. Lorry imagines himself asking Manette, "You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?"

"Long ago," Manette replies.

"I hope you care to live?" Lorry wonders.

Manette responds, "I can't say."

When I think of Heath, the little Reece's Rainbow boy whom we saw at Aaron's internat, I'm reminded of  "Recalled to Life." Unlike Aaron and Brady, Heath is not a recent transfer. He is nine years old. Like Dr. Manette, Heath has lived in captivity for a long time. Aaron and Brady both retain the vivacity of life at the baby houses. Heath has lost his. He has lived for at least three years in the stifling boredom of institution life. In all of that time, he has been given nothing of his own. He has not seen a book or a toy. He has never been gathered into anyone's loving arms. Given his utter lack of stimulation, it is not surprising that he lives an unstimulated life. He sits in a daze. He stares at the walls. His eyes still hold the light of life, but they appear to have lost all interest in what they see.

When Mr. Lorry finally reaches Dr. Manette, he finds his client in an even worse state than he expected. Manette doesn't remember anything about his past or where he has been, and has become obsessively involved in a craft he has learned as an escape from drudgery-- shoemaking. He is so obsessed with making shoes that he can't be bothered to meet his daughter, born just after he went into prison, now a beautiful young woman of eighteen. His voice is so weak from disuse that he is difficult to hear. Lorry and the daughter take him back to England and begin the long, difficult task of  "recalling him to life." Soon, Manette begins to recover and accepts the affection of his daughter.

I see Heath in the same way. I think that Heath's rescuers will probably find his condition to be worse than they hoped. They, too, will have a long, difficult task. They will have to stimulate him over and over, and for a long time they may receive little or no response. Eventually, I hope, they will be able to recall Heath to life, and he will be able to give and receive the love that he's been denied.

For a time, things appear to be going fine for Dr. Manette and his daughter. Then, suddenly, he is confronted with something from his past, and he suffers a relapse. His daughter awakens one morning to find that he has returned to his shoemaking, and is once again obsessed with it to the exclusion of all else. The patient, devoted Mr. Lorry has to take away Manette's shoemaking tools and destroy them in order to break his self-destructive obsession.

Will Heath, too, be subject to relapses? I think it's possible. It's hard to erase so many days and months of damaging inactivity. Heath's rescuers will probably have to look on, heartbroken, as he takes two steps forward and then one step back on his path to recovery. They may have to take desperate measures to cut him off from reminders of his miserable past.

Whoever rescues Heath will need love that is like God's love. Fatherhood changed my understanding of God's love. When I became a father, I began to understand why God's word compares God's love to fatherly love over and over. It is because the love that parents feel for their children is the most unselfish form of love that unredeemed humanity can ever experience. Even the ungodly manage to want good things for their children. God's love is better. God loves us not because we earn His love with our good deeds, but because we are His children. Godly parents love their children not for what they do or accomplish, but simply because they are who they are-- our children. Heath's rescuers will be heroic examples of God's self-sacrificing love.

I will say one more thing about Heath's rescuers: I believe that when they go to get Heath, they will be doing more than recalling him to life. They will literally be saving his life. There is such a thing as the will to live, and it is as important a vital medical statistic as heart rate and blood oxygen level. Based on my very limited observations, I think it's possible that Heath is losing his will to live, and that if no one rescues him soon, he will one day leave that internat on a stretcher on his way to death in a hospital bed. He is a heartbreaking case, one of the world's very poorest and neediest children. I pray that the Lord will send the right people for him soon. Then, someday, they may ask poor Heath:

"I hope you care to live?"

And he may one day answer, "With all of my heart."

18 comments:

  1. Beautiful post Rob. I pray that one day you can write a celebratory post about both Brady and Heath. I'm praying for their lives everyday.

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  2. Such beautiful writing! I'm praying that the family who is looking for their child sees this.

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  3. Please, Lord, let them be found SOON!!

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  4. This one made me cry. Thank you for writing it. There are no more words I can say, other than "amen"

    Kristin from RR

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  5. Don't sell Heath too short. I've read blogs of others in which children with "little or no potential", and very little response to their environment did come home to their families, and then astounded everyone with their amazing progress and development. I hope and pray that the same thing happens to Brady and Heath.

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  6. God Bless the little guy,Wish that I was that to crawl him up in my arms and hold him and kiss him and hug him and let him know that he was not forgotten....I have a hanicapped son and he is very presious to me. So what would it take to to adopt the little guy? God bless him an all the kids like him.

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  7. If the first four or five years were good in a baby house...might he still be in there somewhere? Meaning of course that if neglect is present from the beginning the odds of recovery are statistically lower, than if the neglect comes later on, after crucial learning and bonding is in place? Praying for Heath.

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    1. He is still in there! You dont forget love. He hasnt forgotten either.

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  8. How do we adopt from this site as far as are there any UAS children available??

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  9. Kelly - I"m not sure what you are asking. If you have questions about adopting any child on Reece's Rainbow - contact Andrea... www.reecesrainbow.org

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  10. I am just distraught and heartbroken over Heath. I have sat at work so very upset over his life story. I want nothing more than to rescue this beautiful child. It is all I've thought about after reading. I deeply wish it didn't cost so much to save these children. I have an urgent pulling in my heart to love, protect, and hold for eternity one of these special most deserving children on Earth. I hope I can be their forever mommy one day soon.

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    1. I see that there is over $20000 available for him - so his costs are covered!

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  11. This boy is so sweet! It breaks my heart to think about him rotting away in an institution. Heath needs a hime desperately and i know if he gets one that is loving and devoted in no time he will be as good as new. I pray for him to find a family. I want the little guy but with already 4 small children at home (one with downs) i am afraid i wont have the time available for him that he needs. God bless this child! He will not be forgotten because he will always be in my heart.

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  12. This boy is so sweet! My heart wants to take heath home with me but with already 4 small children including one with downs i am afraid i wont have the time available to give that he desperately needs. I pray he finds a loving family who can love him back to the boy he once was. He will not be forgotten for he now lives inside my heart.

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  13. how sweet. god makes no mistakes. i have been wanting to adopt a special needs child but i am afraid that i will get heartbroken in yhe process. pray for me and my husband to become stronger in faith and for us to be able to help a child come into our lives with such blessings

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    1. Let me encourage you. We have two SN children. God will provide grace each day. Trust. We have a 4 yr old adopted from China 1 1/2 years ago. Could do nothing but yell and shake his head. He's now the healthiest boy you'd ever meet. Strong energetic full of life. Were told he had CP or brain damage. All he needed was nutrition and some love.

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  14. What country is this sweet boy from?

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  15. Is there any way donations can be made to this institution? Books? Toys? Packaged food? I don't understand how there can be no toys or books, let alone not enough food.

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Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!

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