I can't walk away.
We committed ourselves over two years ago at Aaron's institute that we would yell and scream until Heath and Brady found families.
He is still without a family.
So many have asked. So many have longed.
No one has committed.
This morning I received an e-mail from an RR mom asking for more information about Heath so she could yell alongside me. What else can I say? We have ONE picture.
We have just a few memories....
Just a few memories of one little boy who has spent 12 years of his life hidden behind walls.
We saw him just about every day for six weeks when the boys were being herded to the eating sheds. He rode with another boy in an adult sized wheelchair. Both boys fit neatly into the wheelchair together. He was nine at the time. Very tiny. He would often have a string in his hands and be playing with it - twirling it around.
We only saw him out of the wheelchair one time.
Instead of sitting inside the shed, the caretakers from his groupa had brought the boys out and they were sitting on benches out in the shade. It was a Sunday because that was the ONE day when they broke routine. It was the ONE day when there was less staff and the director was not on the grounds. It was the one day when one of the groupas even listened to music. The boys sat on their benches in a circle and they had lively Ukra*ni*n music playing. Only on Sundays.
Heath was on the ground which was really unusual. He wasn't sitting on a carpet. Usually the caretakers wouldn't allow a child to sit on the ground unless something was underneath them. They used to bring cardboard and a blanket out for Aaron to sit on. We tried hard to keep him on it but IT.WAS. HARD!!
Aaron didn't like to be contained on that silly cardboard and blanket!!
So I was struck by the fact that Heath was sitting and playing in the dirt. Very very quiet. He would have gone unnoticed except that I was looking for him. I was able to stand and watch him for a few minutes. He was playing with his dirty string and sitting on the ground. Entertaining himself quietly. I don't believe the caretakers put him on the ground. I think he must have gotten himself over there which made us think he could walk a bit. All the other boys were on the benches or in wheelchairs except Heath. Calm. Quiet. Heath. That was how we saw him.
Lost in his own little world.
In need of a family to draw him out.
We knew he was a hard case.
We didn't know that two years later - with a full grant available - that he would still be waiting.
He has $22,494.00 in his grant account.
All a family would need would be a few thousand to get their homestudy done.
Heath needs a family who understands that he is 12 years old and has been living in rather miserable conditions for YEARS. They need to understand that we have no idea if he can walk, talk, interact. We don't know if he can feed himself. We don't know if he is potty trained. We know nothing.
We do know that he is little for his age and he seemed very calm. He was a cute little fella who shared a wheelchair with another little guy. We called him our little burger king.
They feed the boys decently at the institute. They are not starved. They keep them as clean as they can under the cicumstances. Chances are though, Heath will come home with a few unwanted bugs inside his system. That's a real reality.
I did have a chance to go onto Heath's floor for a few minutes and the smell was definitely not for the faint-hearted. The caretakers are not abusive and genuinely care. They are over-worked and underpaid. In Heath's groupa there are TWO caretakers for TWENTY physically and mentally disabled boys. They are responsible for all their care plus all the cleaning and washing. They also are responsible to keep the grounds clean! Despite that... they get any of the boys who can sit up and move around OUT OF THEIR BEDS and for that I give them a standing ovation!! Heath is not confined to his bed all day every day. He does sit in a shed and he does spend his days doing nothing but at least he gets to go outside when the weather permits.
What more can I say?
Heath needs a family.
These are our Lost Boys.
They break our hearts.
For them I still yell.