Friday, October 22, 2010

Brady and Heath

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.
Heath was more elusive. We saw him only from a distance. It took us weeks to be certain it was actually Heath we were watching. He looked so small for his age, just plain tiny.  He shared a wheelchair with another boy. Never did we see him walk. Off in his own little world as he rode by on his little two-seater throne. I couldn't help but smile sadly at Heath. I called him the little Burger King. Chubby cheeked, dirty, neglected little lost boy. Each day they took his group to a shed or a shady area and the boys were put on pieces of carpet on the ground. Heath sat. Nobody spoke to him. He sat hour after hour playing with the dirt or a piece of string or trash. Occasionally he would laugh at his own well-kept secret, but most of the time he was just plain lost in his own world. He needs so much. His group of boys was one of the lowest functioning. They just sat, rocked themselves for comfort, hit themselves in the head and groaned.

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.


  1. Julia, this post must have been so difficult to write and I can see why it took a few weeks to do so. Your heart is so tender and full of love for these precious children, who too are made in the image of God. The reality of the life (or lack thereof) of these boys is heart-wrenching and you saw it "in real life" for several weeks. I pray that God will bring families for Brady, Heath, and the other Lost Boys. I hope that will be soon.

  2. I will pray that same prayer. God will make a way. Brady and Heath will find a home with families that love them. And God will be up in Heaven smiling, saying wait til Julia sees THIS... Indifference makes excuses, but Love, Love finds a way.

    Love wins,
    Renee Tam

  3. A beautifully written post, Julia. I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been for you. Praying with you for their families to step up and rescue them!

  4. This post absolutely breaks my heart. So much need, a few that are willing and yet so many obstacles in the way. Lord, help them.

  5. You wrote that so well, I could feel the emotion in your words. You will not be praying for Brady and Heath alone. Others will pray for special people to come forward and claim their children. The word must be gotten out for these boys. I have no blog, but I hope that others who do will post about them on their blogs. Thank you for speaking for these little boys.

  6. Julia,
    My heart breaks for these boys. I promise I will try and post about them often.
    We will be flying to EE on Tuesday. Appreciate prayer.

  7. Thank you, Julia, for your comments. I see that you are overwhelmed with emotion today. I had already read your blog, and came back to tell you that when I read it, I was so glad that I have the link to your blog on my blog, because your post was so eloquent, and I hope that God directs the right people to see it.

  8. It hurts to read it, but I'm so glad you got around to writing this post. We know of a Ukrainian Christian man who visits a mental institution for boys, but it's near Bela Tserkva, closer to Kiev than I think you guys were. God put it on his heart to go minister there, and he obeyed. He told us he was shocked to find out that no other men had ventured there... only a few women on rare occasions. Be encouraged. God can and does raise up His church!

  9. Oh, and I linked to your post on my blog. Those two boys need all the prayer warriors they can get to pray for their families to rise up and go rescue them!

  10. I read this early today and it's stayed with me all day. I too have been in a funk all day. I can't stop thinking about them....about Brady. My little 'Bogdan' that we have prayed over for months and months.
    Why did it have to come to this? Why are these kids doomed to live this kind of life?
    How can we make a difference?

    The questions are endless. The guilt I have is also endless.

    I can't go on and live a 'normal' life anymore. I know what's out there. I know what their futures hold.
    I can't forget, like you can't forget. And I don't want to. These kids are REAL. They need HELP.

    But you already know all this.

    Poor little Brady. I PRAY someone steps out in faith and is determined to bring him home. To give him a LIFE.

  11. Your emotions are spilling out of your post to us and it is a good thing! Just in writing this post you are doing so much for those Lost Boys. You are making others aware of their needs and, along with you, we can pray for them, donate towards their adoptions and make others aware of the immense need for them and others like them.

    It is also so good to see Aaron's smiling face in your posts :)

    The Lord bless you and give you a good weekend.


  12. Hi,
    This is Amaya and I just got your ornaments ready for dad to take to the post office. Thank you for buying them and for sharing your blog so I could see who bought them. I hope you like them.

  13. Thank you Julia. Thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you for sharing the lost boys. I think how horribly close my own little guy has come to facing that dark place, it breaks my heart. Even knowing that he will never ever have to go there, I cry. I cry for those who might. For the precious little boys that don't know or understand when it is happening to them. I think of a couple of the little ones in his baby house who might not be saved... I promise to pray for the lost boys, and to do what I can to help them to be found.

  14. Julia, this is a hard post to read because the reality of it is so painful. Thank you for your courage to write it.

  15. I will add them to our prayer list!

  16. Hi Julia,
    I couldn't find an email to send you a message so I am leaving a comment here instead. I wanted to see if you would mind me re-posting this post from your blog on my blog that I am having a fund raiser for Reece's Rainbow's older child grant funds on. Both Brady and Heath qualify for the grants. I wanted to do a post on them but feel your post would be perfect to post up for people to really get the whole picture of how urgently these children need homes. I did post links to this post already but I don't know how many people actually click the links and would love for more people to read your post about these children. They need families and their story must be told. If you'd rather me just post a link again, I will, no problem. I just wanted to check. Thank you for your heart for these boys. God bless!
    ~Holly <><

  17. Is there any update on Brady and Heath?

  18. I read both of your posts on Heath and Brady and you both wrote so touchingly. Do you know if these boys are only available to married couples?

    Thank you for the wonderful advocacy you two are doing on behalf of these two lost boys. Between all the prayers offered, their being posted on RR and what you are doing for them, someone will find them.

  19. Hi, Don't know how to contact you otherwise. I just started a fundraiser for Brady over at my blog. I was wondering if I could get you to do a guest post sometime soon before this fundraiser ends. I would love for you to share your story about Brady with my readers and get them motivated to help. Your touching words about him as what motivated me to help in the first place. Please contact me. Thank you.

  20. Hello, is there an update on these boys? I think and pray for them all the time. I just recently came across Heath and then Brady. They have been on my heart ever since....especially Heath. I feel such a calling on my heart and it is so strong it hurts. Have they been adopted? Is that door closed? My husband and I both work with adults with developmental disabilities who are treated with so much respect, love and care.....I cannot believe a place like this even is this happening?

  21. Also looking for an update..

  22. I am also looking for an update on Heath! I have e-mailed Reeces Rainbow to get un update on this sweet boy and they didn't have any new info. (I am wondering what must be done to get more info?) Our family has been fundraising for this sweet boy for the past few months. I am wondering if others of you have been too? I would love to combine forces to create awareness so this sweet boy can be scooped up into a loving mothers arms!

  23. I am absolutely a hot mess of tears as I type this. I just cannot fathom this cruelty!!! My heart aches so, so much. I really lost it at:

    "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."

    HE WASN'T FED ON CERTAIN DAYS?! What is wrong with this world? Oh my word... how do these 'caretakers' sleep at night?

  24. I am very interested in Heath! Please contact me I am a wife and mother to five children. My heart is so full of love and has a special place for children with downs syndrome. Thank you! Andrea Greene


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!