In 2006 a baby boy is born in an Eastern European country. At birth he suffers trauma, which results in Cerebral Palsy. He is also diagnosed with Ischemic cardiomyopathy. It is no surprise then that he also has anemia.
Instead of feeling the loving arms of a mom and dad caring for him, he is put in an orphanage where he feels the loneliness of a cold hard crib that would become his prison for the next 6 years. Instead of hearing words of encouragement and 'I love you' in his ears, he hears the painful cries and despairing moans coming from his own mouth and from the other desperate children around him.
Sometime about a year ago he is placed in a 'laying room'. Words like despair, stench, lack of affection, boredom, starvation, malnutrition, sedation drugs, head-banging, chewing on cribs, self-mutilation, no stimulation, and sickening, are all descriptions used by those very few who have been allowed to step inside the room.
A mom who rescued two children from his orphanage describes the room: "This room is reserved for ‘the worst of the worst.’ The children with the most severe special needs. They are deemed completely worthless...the children that nobody would ever adopt. They are literally kept hidden from the world, except for a few of us who get a very small glimpse. Even volunteer therapy groups are discouraged from going into this room. They are told not to bother."
She also says about the boy: "It didn't appear that his special needs were near severe enough to warrant his fate in this awful room. He also looked entirely too big to be kept in such a small crib. He was always quiet and calm. He looked at me, seemed engaged, and could move around in his crib as his gaze followed me around the room."
Shortly after he was placed in the 'laying room', a family adopting another child wrote: "He responded to our voices and smiled for the camera. The nannies put our little boy in the crib with him and he was very gentle and sweet with him.”
Why he was condemned to that room I am afraid may never be known. Years in an institution with lack of stimulation lack of any meaningful human contact, and little to no opportunities to learn physical skills leave a child developmentally and mentally delayed, usually severely. There is no doubt that this boy’s Cerebral Palsy combined with his environment have left him lacking physical, emotional, and cognitive skills. The fact that he is still gentle with other kids and engaged at all is truly a miracle in itself!
A family who saw him just weeks ago reported: "It was a shock to me to see how delayed he is. He is 5 and has never been out of his crib. We were the first interaction he has had with people other than the orphanage workers. He was overwhelmed at first by the sights and sounds around him. I looked at a book with him and he held a stuffed animal most of the time. He did not seem very lucid and had two fits of screaming that did not have any apparent trigger. He calmed down just as unexpectedly. My two visits left me with the feeling he is either much more severe than we were led to believe or being sedated. He makes very little eye contact and is unable to focus on anything. I did not expect him to speak but he has not communicated at all with me. He was able to say a few sounds but hasn't said a word. He is obviously still in diapers and his muscles are very tight. We are unsure of the condition of his legs because they were tightly strapped down. He appeared to be holding himself up although he was also restrained across his chest. He likely would have fell forward without it though due to his rocking and head rolling. When he was told we were leaving he threw quite a fit. He did not want to go back to his crib. I can't say I blame him."
Reflecting on this information, the mom that had preciously visited him said: "Sadly, spending every day in this tiny crib in a small room with about 7 other cribs jammed in side by side and around the perimeter, has been devastating and detrimental to him. From when I was there, it appears he has also lost a lot of mobility, no doubt from being so confined. His living conditions have made this cognitively functioning child that I saw, into a child who has become disturbed. A child that has to be strapped down with padding to keep him from hurting himself."
This boy, through no fault of his own, has been raised as little more then an animal. Who is this child? Meet Valentin, a young boy dearly loved by God and made in His image.
The reality is that most likely a ‘somewhat mentally able’ boy went into that orphanage and a mentally 'disturbed' boy is coming out…YES, COMING OUT!
Are we adopting him? No, we are RESCUING him. The adoption part will begin when we get him home and start the healing of his body, mind, and soul. RIGHT NOW THIS IS A RED ALERT, ALL HANDS ON DECK RESCUE MISSION...
Years ago we committed to God that we would remain open to whatever child He wanted us to parent. We certainly did not expect to adopt so soon after bringing our daughter home from China in October, but we could not stop weeping over this boy, the deal he got in life, and what his future looks like. I will post much more about how and why we have come to know that Valentin is our son, but for now our focus is to bring him home. He will join 5 siblings, two who are in heaven, one brother who is 3, another brother who is 3 and adopted from China with Spina Bifida, and a sister who is 2 and also adopted from China with Cerebral Palsy.
Valentin is facing EMINENT TRANSFER to a mental institution and we have been told to prepare to adopt him from there because TRANSFER IS LIKELY INEVITABLE. We have also been told to prepare ourselves emotionally for what we will see. If the 'laying room' is horrendous then the mental institution is horrifying. This means we must move QUICKLY to rescue him.
The truth is, we need your help…he needs your help…and he needs it soon. As part of the body of Christ we know that we do not do anything alone. This is not a story of the Ashton Family going to adopt a boy; this is the story of the body of Christ working to rescue a child dearly beloved by God. We are doing everything humanly possible to complete all the paperwork, research his needs, find local doctors and resources for him, plan for travel and meeting him, plan for his return, etc... The one thing we cannot do…is pay for it all. And it is expensive. Considering Christ died for our adoption, $25,000 does not seem like too much.
We have paid for two adoptions in the last two years and have exhausted every financial resource we have. We know God will perform a miracle here and we are trusting in that with everything we have. We do not like nor are we good at asking for help, but hopefully we are wise enough and humble enough to know when we need it...to know when Valentin needs it. We know the sacrifice we are asking you to make by donating and we do not take even the smallest donation for granted. Your prayers are just as treasured.
All donations are made towards a grant for Valentin through Reece's Rainbow; they then apply those funds to travel expenses and in-country fees. The money donated will only be used for adoption related expenses for Valentin. Your donations are also tax deductible.
If you have prayerfully considered a donation and feel lead to help, you can click on the donate button at the top right of the blog, you can view our profile on the Reece's Rainbow website here, or a check can be made payable to Reece’s Rainbow and mailed to PO Box 4024, Gaithersburg, MD 20885 (in the memo line write ‘Valentin Ashton Family’).
We invite you to take this journey with us on this blog and appreciate, more then you will ever know, your prayers!
NOW, LET'S GO RESCUE VALENTIN!