Monday, April 26, 2021

Over the Mountain

Two weeks ago we packed our van and headed over the mountain and crossed a one lane bridge with no rails.

It was a two and a half hour ride full of anticipation and longing.

A reunion.

Not family.

Not school mates.

A reunion of three boys who share one story.

They were once Lost Boys.

They had lived in the worst of places.

A place where boys die.

A place shut off from the rest of the world.

A place of nothing.

Three former Lost Boys.

They suffered abuse, neglect, abandonment.

But God.

He called us to the first little boy. 


Eleven years ago we were the first to go past those ugly green gates to the forbidden world behind.

We saw. We heard. We wept.

110 boys in that lonely world of hurt and pain and only three were eligible to be adopted. Only a few had a fighting chance of escaping a lifetime of nothing.

We screamed. We yelled. We cried.

The first family to step forward lived across the country from us. We watched with joy and tears and agony as they went for Aaron's tiny roommate. 

Their boy was hurt. Abused. Starved. Neglected. Hated by the nannies. He suffered there for two long years.

But he was a fighter and a survivor.

It took much to tame him. He had to learn to trust. He had to learn to know that hands could be kind and food would be given and abuse would not be tolerated.

And slowly slowly he calmed. He still bears the scars. But from the tiny little boy who shared a room and a table with Aaron, from a starved little guy who ran at the drop of a hat, from the battered creature who spent his days in survival mode - he's come a long long way.

While they were there bringing home their Little Lost Boy they met another boy. A sweet boy who shared a poem with them. A sweet boy with a smile and a tender heart.

They came out yelling for that one boy. Would not one family step up to get him?

So worthy. So precious.

No one heard.

Two years later I went back. I walked through the green gates, down the lonely paths and visited with boys who were just as battered and weary in a world of nothing as before.

My heart broken, I too met that same boy. I listened to his poem. I saw his sweet smile, his tender heart. (2nd boy in the picture)

I yelled too. Please someone get him out.

No one heard.

Dear Jesus, please!

So they went back.

The family who brought one home went back for the other.

They helped him escape a lifetime of nothing.

They rescued him.

And two weeks ago we packed our van and went over the mountain and across a bridge with no rails so we could spend an afternoon letting three Lost Boys meet on this side of the ocean. 

And so two families who shared one story about a forbidden world behind a green, ugly gate could meet and hug and cry a little.

We watched our boys and accepted their loss, noted their scars, recognized how far they have come.

And that sweet boy who shared a poem across the ocean. He shared another here. In English. 

 I cried.

Because there is nothing more precious in the world than seeing a child who had no hope and future sharing a poem with you here on this side of the earth. 

A bit of history:

 Aaron and Judd (Hurley shirt) were in the same group, sat all day inside the same shed (pictured below), slept in the same room and suffered the same abuse and neglect. 

Both boys struggled to feed themselves so both were completely dependent upon the nannies for food. To survive, Aaron had developed the ability to choke his food down quickly without barely swallowing it, so he could quickly eat the food haphazardly stuffed into his mouth. Sadly, Judd was not a favorite and was often starved by the nannies. He struggled to swallow and feeding him took time they didn't want to give him. We witnessed how they fed both boys and it was heartbreaking.

Aaron and Rob 2010 with eating shed in the background

Bey arrived after we left so we did not see him when we were there. I met Bey on my second trip.

These three boys are part of a tiny group of six boys who have escaped that institute. 

It's a drop in the bucket. 

Sadly, two other boys died before their families made it to them. And because no one has adopted out of there in so long, we have no real idea who is still available. There were moments in the last 11 years where we hoped it would open to the outside but sadly, that institute is just as closed today as it was when we first brought Aaron out.

There are 110 Lost Boys still living in that place. Those who don't die while they are there (and many many do) are transferred to an adult institute where they wait to die.