Yesterday, I made a new friend. We will call him "Caleb" because I can't share his given name. He resides at a Gladney Foster Care center. Most often, when families visit the orphanages, they fall in love with babies. They are cute. They hold promise. Their future still waits to be written. But in a small crib, tucked close to the corner, a small boy captured my heart. Caleb is not "cute". He doesn't have a bright future. It's hard to know how to interact with him. Caleb has special needs. He has severe CP and a brain atrophy. Caleb's frame is bent, his limbs are stiff, and his hands are drawn up. The bending of Caleb's frame causes and will continue to cause progressive breathing problems. Eventually, Caleb will know a painful death from the inability of his lungs to expand. But for now, Caleb is content to stare at a dull, blank wall and wait for a visitor to find the beauty in him that God sees and created. When I approached his crib, I was immediately captivated by his smile. Although he cannot utter a word, Caleb smiles with his entire face. His eyes light up when anyone talks to him. He coos when you take the time to gently rub his small, small body. Caleb cannot eat. He receives small amounts of food from a feeding tube. And his little body, at three years old, is smaller than Mezekir at seven months.
Preston is often overcome by the activity of the foster care homes. So many children and babies live in these homes, he is not sure of himself. When we visited the home where Caleb lives, Preston instantaneously was drawn to Caleb's crib. Preston found a stool. He took it over to the crib. He climbed up and stared at Caleb. At first, I was concerned Preston was gawking. Within minutes , I could see Preston talking to Caleb. Preston looked up at me and said, "Mommy, his smile is big like my friend Cademon at church. He is happy. I love him." Then for more than half an hour, without prompting, Preston stood and talked and sang to Caleb. Caleb celebrated each moment. Preston told him the story of Noah and the Ark and about Spiderman. Preston sang "Jesus Loves Me" to Caleb. He told Caleb, "Jesus loves you, Caleb." Then, Preston and I stood together and celebrated the fact that God had given Caleb three years on this earth to bring Him glory.
Because Caleb's body is rigid, it is not easy to hold and cuddle him. But I loved picking him up and turning him and the moments of holding that were allowed. I wondered if anyone has ever told him the promise of fullness of life God offers. I wondered if Caleb knew one day he would be made whole in Jesus Christ. As I held him, I whispered in his ear. I told him I could not wait for the time we would meet in eternity and celebrate that he too knows a father, the most perfect Father ever, who claimed him before the foundations of the world. I told him I was sure God had a special purpose for him. And I told him I love him. I do. I will always pray for Caleb. He touched my heart. Caleb has a special way. His eyes draw you in if you take the time to embrace him. He may not have the ability to share words, but he can share so much love.