A frightened little 18-month-old boy, wearing only a tank top and shorts (it was pretty cold at that time of year) was shivering alone in a chair, completely silent. He had just been brought to the children’s shelter where our family worked. We didn’t know a lot about this baby. A lady had found him abandoned and called a social worker to bring him to us. We didn’t know his name, birth date, or anything else.
I tried to talk to him but he wouldn’t make eye contact with me or even acknowledge my presence. He sat with his fists clenched and his arms held closely to him, almost in a protective stance. His clothes and body were filthy and he smelled like smoke from a fire. When I picked him up to try to comfort him I felt he was burning up with fever. I also noticed that he was not wearing a diaper but was completely dry. (We later found out that he was not able to urinate and he had to be catheterized.)
I rocked him for a while until the head caregiver was ready to give him a bath and check him in. As she weighed him, I started to notice all of the wounds covering his little body (while I was rocking him, I was holding him close trying to keep him warm, so I didn’t notice the injuries earlier.) He had many open wounds, some as large as a nickel, as well as other scars in varying stages of healing. Someone had caused these injuries to this sweet baby.
I had to photograph each wound and was dismayed at all of the horrible things I saw. He had a huge lump on one of his arms, scars on his neck, back, chest, forehead and knee. His feet were very swollen. I just kept praying and telling him over and over that he is safe now, and we love him and will protect him.
As he was bathed, I wondered if he had ever had a proper bath in his life. He didn’t flinch or show any emotion when the soapy water came into contact with his open wounds. He held his arms and legs in the fetal position with clenched fists; he would not relax even a little.
After he was bathed and dressed, he was served dinner, which he ate well. He was given a name that means “Gift”.
Looking back, I don’t understand how I was able to be in the room, calmly documenting all of the abuse that this baby had been through, without falling apart emotionally. I can’t even fathom how someone could do all of this to a baby, but I am so thankful that he was found and brought to us. I know that God has a plan for this little guy’s life, and I am grateful that He allowed us to be a part of it.