07 Nov Day 28: Josue and Amos

“Truly I tell you. Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:3

Josue and Amos

Having kids with extreme special needs did not seem to be a good idea. We work with many kids who have had violent pasts. They can be “impulsive” (choosing my words carefully). How could we ensure their safety? Nevertheless, Phil found himself in the position of accepting Josue or being held in contempt of the court and going to jail. 
Josue was 12 when he came to us, still in diapers, unable to eat by himself, highly aggressive, and on lots of medications. We told the Children’s Council we were not a good fit for him. After all, we had tough street kids. Their response: Take him or go to jail. He needed a full-time aid, and no extra funds came with him.

There was nothing we could do but figure it out one day at a time. Each house parent took a turn caring for him. In time, we taught him to eat by himself. We weaned him from many of his medications. Soon he was taking care of his basic bathing needs. I couldn’t believe it when Josue’s personality started to shine through. He’s funny and loves to dance—and from my two-left-foot perspective, he’s pretty good. Josue started attending a special school where he learned more executive function skills. 

We learned that his mother, also developmentally delayed, died during childbirth of a younger sibling and Josue had spent most of his young life tied up to a post like a dog because he needed 24-hour supervision and his dad didn’t know how to care for him. Then Amos, his younger brother, even more developmentally delayed, was sent to us. Amos could not talk and he had no self-help skills. Today he eats by himself, communicates his wants, laughs, expresses anger and frustration, and clearly feels safe in his surroundings. He even “sings” or rocks back and forth in time to the music. 
We never dreamed we would be a shelter for developmentally disabled teenagers, but God had a plan. Having the boys as part of our family has brought out the tender, nurturing side of our other young men. They are kind. They are patient. They are furiously protective. If a new kid messes with either Amos or Josue, there are consequences to pay, even when that means the “protector” also has to pay a consequence. Josue and Amos are ministering to our boys in their unique way and touching their hearts with unconditional love. They will be more loving and attentive dads when that time comes because of their relationships with these two brothers. 
Today Josue is technically 21, and he should have been released from our custody when he was 18. Tiago, director of our program in Vitória has personally assumed his legal guardianship so he can stay. Each time he goes to court, he says, “If you can show me that you have a better living situation for him, we will release him.” But so far, there is nothing-not by a long shot.

Today, please pray for our special needs kids. We are not the perfect environment for them, but we do what we can and we are always trying to improve. Pray for the Lord to send us teachers who will help us to learn how to better care for these young guys. We thank God for each of them and the joy they have brought to our lives.