Imagine if you were confined to a crib a little smaller than a twin bed. You can lie down and you can move around, but your muscles don't work very well. And in any case, no one ever takes you out of the bed. People feed you and take care of your bodily needs, but no one ever brings you outside to look at the sky and the trees. No one even brings you into another room.
No one sits by you to talk to you or keep you company. No one brings you books to read. There's no TV to while away the hours, no mp3 player. There are other people in the room, but mostly they are sicker than you and can't talk to you.
This is how it is, day after day, month after month. Just emptiness that aches so much and your heart forgets what it longed for.
This is how it has been for Valentin.
Think of the effect that such confinement would have on the mind and spirit of a grown person. How much more for a young child whose mind and spirit are still developing, a child who needs to learn and explore so he can grow? If it were you or I in that crib, we would have things to think about. We could sing songs to ourselves, tell ourselves stories, pray. But what about a child who may not know any songs, who may not have heard any stories or learned to pray?
Coming out of darkness he blinks in bewilderment. He doesn't know how to understand the world he has been separate from for so long.
Valentin will need so much. He will need constant care; he will need physical therapy to help develop his muscles and occupational therapy to help him learn to use them. And he will need so much beyond this.
He will need someone to look into his eyes and smile, even when he doesn't know how to smile back. He will need someone to sing to him and speak loving words--someone to rub his back and play little piggy with his toes. Someone who will bring him outside to let him touch the grass and feel the wind ruffle his hair, and watch the squirrels run from tree to tree.
It will take time for him. But he needs to discover what it is to be cherished.
Edited to add: After I wrote this post, I discovered that Valentin is on the My Family Found Me page! I was sure it would not be long until a family stepped up for him.
May the time be short until he is at home!