Monday, October 5, 2020

What They Don't Know

This Boy

Ten years ago he crashed into our world.

A Lost Boy.

He spent his days sitting inside a shed.

Surrounded by 20 other miserable, biting, howling boys.

He was so precious. Locked inside his silent world where he had hidden.

So cautious.

His moods ranging from a smiling adorable dimpled six year old to haunted eyes to screaming fits.

He surprised us.

We were told he was severely mentally disabled but in those first days - he surprised us.

Though he did not understand a word spoken, he sat quiet and listened as we read book after book to him. He drank in the pictures. Memorizing them.

Later - when he escaped his hell - and we walked the streets - he would point - showing us things that were in his books.

His fingers were stiff and unyielding. But he could draw with his toes.

All he needed was a stick and some dirt.

He spoke only a few words. The trauma of the shed shut him down.

But that didn't stop him from laughing. He surprised us with his laughter.

We found little pleasure in where he lived but joy burst out of him.

He smiled. He laughed.

When we weren't there they made him sit. Confined inside a shed.

Or locked inside the building.

Our boy. He was never made for sheds.

He was never made to be confined.

Ten years ago he broke free.

Ten years ago he left hell. He said goodbye to the sad world of the Lost Boys.

I marvel at his resilience.

He astounds me at all he has done these last 10 years.

That severely mentally disabled boy loves books. He loves to read. He flew through series after series this past summer.

He loves to sketch.

He loves to build.

He loves machines and ships and planes.

He never shuts up. He still struggles to fully express himself, but he uses 'Aaron-speak' and always gets his point across. And he is always talking. 

He is in high school now.

It's a challenge but he is making it.

He has to work twice as hard as the other students but in Aaron-fashion - he just plows ahead.

It's hard being Aaron.

What he lost in his first six years is not easily made up. 

His arms and hands are unforgiving.

He walks on legs that don't move with ease.

When we first came home he endured months and months of castings and surgeries on his feet and knees so he could walk without falling. 

Then surgery on his arm so he could feed himself.

At first it worked.

But his arm grew. And it turned. And so he had another surgery to reposition it. 

But then his elbow froze.

It is now unbending. Unyielding.

He's had more surgeries on his other arm and thumbs to make them more functional.

Function for him is nothing like function for us.

Yet he never complains. Ever. 

Life has thrown him a lot of curve balls.

The mountains he has to climb on a daily basis would put most of us to shame.

He has expressive and receptive speech disorders - again from six years of neglect.

He struggles to do simple tasks that the rest of the world takes for granted.

Yet he wants to do everything himself.

Don't tell him he can't.

Because he will figure out how he can.

He is a fighter.

My boy. He's a fighter.

In November we try again.

Another surgery.

It's number ten since he's been home.

This one has never been done on someone with arthrogryposis.

They are going to reconstruct his elbow. Round it out in hopes it will bend.

He will have two doctors operating and a lot of watchers.

He's already been told that it may not work.

He's already been told that the pain of therapy afterwards is going to be hell.

What they don't know is that Aaron lived in hell.

He knows all about it. 

He's tough.

The toughest boy I know.

We let him choose.

He didn't take that decision lightly. He spent time thinking about it. Weighing his choices. There is an easier surgery, one with less pain. But the results would mean a permanently stuck elbow.

He could have said no altogether. Just live with what he has now.

The pain is a huge factor. His doctor described it to him in vivid detail. Therapy will require an hourly 'ripping' of the elbow. 

But our boy is tough.

He weighed his choices and said yes.

Not that he's not scared. We are too.

We don't know if it will work. But he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

And if it does work then it gives hope to other children with arthrogryposis.

He said yes.

He's going to tackle this surgery the same way he tackles everything else - with determination, resilience and a toughness that puts the rest of us to shame.

And we are going to be behind him cheering, praying and encouraging him all the way.


  1. Amen. My daughter with AMC was adopted at age 11 - she was givne help but also neglected.... shes doing beautifully now at age 22

  2. Praying for you, Aaron, as you face the huge fight of surgery and trying to make that elbow bend.

  3. He is amazing. I cantcabelieve how big he's gotten too. The Adamsons
    will be praying!💕

  4. What an amazing boy and such a fighter! Prayers for a successful surgery!

  5. I cannot believe it's been 10 years (you probably can't either!). I have been following you since your journey to Aaron. You are all such an inspiration. You are one of the reasons that in our 50's we are considering an older child adoption.(We already have several adopted children, but its been 5 years since our last adoption journey). I look towards you and Rob as an example of parents who didn't let age become a determining factor in deciding what you could do for these children. Our youngest is almost 10, but we could be parents to an 8 year old--couldn't we?
    Thinking of Aaron and all of you and sending prayers and good thoughts.

    1. We were 51 (my husband and I) when we adopted our youngest. He was a newborn and a bio sibling to our daughter who was 7 (she was our foster daughter from age 2 days until we adopted her when she was 17 mo old). She is now 13 and he is now 6 and I would do it again in a heartbeat. We do worry a bit about leaving him an orphan again but I pray daily that we live long enough to see him grown and leave that in God's hands. I feel he was gifted to us for a reason. They are so precious.

  6. Incredible! I will be in prayers for Aaron.

  7. Prayers for Aaron and for you all. Tough being a parent and watching your child go thru pain. Thanks for sharing your lives and for you both saying "yes" to these precious ones. You are an inspiration to so many

  8. That young man is an absolute blessing to me!
    Love seeing him in the halls. His smile speaks volumes to me and everyone he comes in contact with

  9. Prayers for your sweet boy Julia! For mom and papa too. ����❤️

  10. We will begin praying now. That it works and its not so bad at therapy after and that its better than he thought it would be.

  11. We are praying for Aaron. We are praying for wisdom and focus for the surgeons now. We are praying success in the surgery. We are specifically praying for healing and strength for Aaron. For peace and comfort for you, Rob, Aaron and the kids. You inspire me to be a better person and mom. I praise God for parents like you. Much love and prayers. - BillieJo

  12. Praying the surgery is super successful and Recovery is easier than anticipated. God bless Aaron and his loving family.

  13. God bless Aaron, the surgery and recovery.

  14. Aaron, you are an inspiration! Julia, we continue to pray for you and your wonderful family. We'll also pray for the caregivers for all the children. Praying for God's blessings on all. Barbara

  15. Sweet Aaron is a fighter and a warrior! He will succeed in life regardless of what the outcome of surgery will be. May God be with his surgeons and guide their hands! Many prayers and hugs for all of you! XOXO~ The Doyle Family

  16. Aaron is a fighter and a warrior. He will succeed regardless of the outcome of surgery. My the Lord guide the surgeon's hands with precision. Many prayers and hugs for all of you! XOXO~ The Doyle Family

  17. More prayers heading your family's way...Aaron is a marvel. Such courage, such bravery, such strength...and artistry and an artist's sharp vision as well. What a treasure you found (can it possibly be?) ten years ago. I hope that all will go even better than planned and expected with the surgery, and that others with similar issues will also benefit from those who will be witnessing the pioneering procedure.

    Sending good wishes for the best possible outcome and rapid healing afterwards.

    Safe hugs to everyone from
    Susan in Kentucky

  18. Aaron has the most beautiful, thoughtful face.

  19. Aaron,you are so handsome,so brave. You and your family will be in my prayers.Love, Colleen Chory

  20. I've followed your journey since Day 1. I don't remember where I first came across your story...perhaps Adeye...but Ive read since you were in country. And I'm astounded. Aaron is such a handsome teenager....I'll be in prayer that this next surgery will be successful and the therapy not spirit-breaking. I've followed John and Mary's stories too. Our daughter adopted a very handicapped child from the Philippines...the journey is now ours too. Love Kathy Simmons Remer Minnesota

  21. Aaron's smile lights up the universe. I've followed your blog for years although I lost you for a while and had to read back to find out about John and Mary's adoptions. I've adopted 4 children I fostered and wished to adopt internationally but it wasn't meant for our family. We get called Grandma and Grandpa a lot with our youngest who is 6 but we're ok with that. I'll add Aaron in my prayers for sure. Keep going mama!


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