You met the matching gift challenge so much faster than we had anticipated that I didn’t have my promised post ready to publish!
We are so grateful for those of you who have taken Tommy into your hearts and want to help with the costs of bringing him home. You are being used by God to intervene in Tommy’s life. Thank you! We appreciate you!
Way back in March of 1997, thirteen days before we welcomed our third son into the world, another little boy was born. He was born to a Muslim mama in a little eastern European country.
Her new son was small and hadn’t settled into a good position when the time of birth came.
Something went wrong. And that something, whatever it was, injured this baby boy’s brain. Before too long, his mama could see that he wasn’t progressing like her other nine babies had done.
And the decision was made.
See, it says “Home for Medical and Social Care for Children.” They can take better care of him here than we could in our little, old, crowded house. Yet another mouth to feed is hard enough when money is so tight, but a handicapped child? What did we do to deserve this bad luck?
Better to take care of it now, before…
Yes, yes, he’ll be better off here.
The papers were signed.
We are no longer his parents.
He was four months old.
The next twelve years were all the same. He spent them lying alone in a bed with nothing to do.
Picture yourself sitting alone in a waiting room with nothing to do for one hour. Picture that stretching out to a day. Would you be going a little bit crazy? Nothing to do. Now imagine that you are still waiting there a week later, still with nothing to do. A month, a year, five years, ten years, still in the same spot, still alone, still with nothing to do.
During the next twelve years, he was neglected to a profound degree, but God preserved his life when many children around him died. He was registered for adoption when many children around him stayed in obscurity. In spite of the neglect and starvation diet, he stayed alive and even tripled his weight, from five to fifteen pounds.
His whole life consisted of aloneness in bed. He was fed by a propped bottle in bed. His diaper was changed in bed, and not very often at that. He learned to feel safest when he was alone in his bed without sensory stimulation or contact with other people.
So the day they took him out of the bed and held him up for the camera, he was terrified. Knowing what we know from caring for Katie, we look at this photo and see a hurting child with fragile bones being held incorrectly. A child who is chronically undernourished, with no layer of padding to protect him. And dehydrated, causing his skin to hurt wherever it’s touched.
We see a child in pain, both physically and emotionally.
Yes, this was Tommy. Look at this little boy and see his history.
Then one day, God intervened in his life again. A kindly older woman lifted him out of the bed, perhaps only for a very short time that first day.
Over the next couple of years, she came several days a week and held him for several hours each time. She watched him learn to relax with her. She watched him almost double his weight, to twenty-eight pounds.
Then began a series of interventions that only God could have so precisely and delicately timed.
We first saw him in a photo taken three days before he turned fourteen years old. At the time, we would have guessed him to be half his true age.
A few months later, what a joy to see a video of him up out of his bed, with his baba!
I got to see him several more times after that.
He is still tiny for his age. He’s a bit longer and skinnier than Katie is right now.
He still spends nearly all his time in bed.
His diet is still insufficient.
He is not receiving the therapy that a child with cerebral palsy needs.
He hasn’t learned to appropriately regulate his emotions.
He can’t talk, walk, feed himself, or use the toilet.
But he is very much alive. He has learned what it’s like to have someone care about him. He has learned to interact. He has learned to smile.
We are already praying that God will prepare his heart to receive a daddy and mama and many brothers and sisters.
Here’s our boy!
We love him.
His name will be Thomas Christian Musser.
You can call him Tommy.