This week, we want to tell you a story in several parts. It is a story about God’s grace and timing, his provision and amazing plan. This is Kevincito’s story.
In July 2006, an elderly man came to Love & Hope Children’s Home looking for a home for his three-year-old grandson that had severe disabilities. The boy was also extremely underweight for his age. We thought that with a good diet and a lot of love, Kevin’s health would improve quickly, as it had with other children who had arrived at Love & Hope in a state of malnutrition.
Kevin’s grandfather had been doing his best to care for him, but knowing that someone else would be able to offer Kevin better care and medical attention, he lovingly trusted us with his sweet, frail little boy.
When Kevin arrived at Love & Hope that summer, he was in serious condition. Unwilling to make eye contact, uncomfortable in every position, seeming to be constantly in pain, not able to support himself, and unable to keep even milk in his stomach, Kevin needed substantial medical attention and therapy. His caregivers experienced many sleepless nights caring for him and many long days trying to help him keep food down, stay cool and remain reasonably happy.
Still unable to gain weight but improving slowly, Kevin started receiving therapy at Funter, a therapy center here in El Salvador. Several times a week, he would receive physical, occupational and swim therapy. We could see over the next few years that our little man was getting stronger.
Gradually, with the help of doctors and nutritionists, we learned what an appropriate diet for Kevin would be. He started holding food down and eating regularly. He still wasn’t gaining weight, but he wasn’t losing it either.
Every so often, Kevin would get sick and end up in the hospital. His time in the hospital usually meant he lost some weight, but he would also come home healthier, hydrated and happy.
Kevincito is now nine-years-old. Though still extremely small and unable to gain much weight, Kevin is the happiest, healthiest and strongest we have ever seen him. Over the last two years he has improved immensely. Most nights he sleeps like any nine-year-old should and wakes up last despite the loud environment provided by the other little boys in his room. He eats a variety of natural foods and is able to keep them in his stomach most of the time.
Kevin loves sitting in his highchair while everyone else is eating. He finds their energy, conversations, songs and even crying very funny. It is not uncommon to walk into his room and find Kevin sitting up in his crib on his own and playing with his light-up and musical toys.
On Fridays, Kevin receives riding therapy. When he started a year ago, he sat like a baby on the horse with the instructor. Kevin has improved to the point of being able to sit-up on the horse by himself. When he is done with the session, he is covered in sweat and breathing deep from all the hard work!
Probably our favorite time to watch Kevincito is at the beach. He loves it: the pool, the sand, the waves, the sun. He can sit by himself in the sand for a long time, curling his fingers into it, licking the salt water off of his lips.
Kevin’s improvement over the last seven years has amazed us. The resilience and strength present in his little body is inspiring. The best part is that for Kevin, a new journey is beginning. Kevin is being adopted! Before we tell you that story, though, we need to tell you about how this sweet, handsome boy has captured the hearts of everyone at Love & Hope Children’s Home. Check back in a few days to read about the special relationship Kevin shares with the rest of our children.