by Bucky Rogers
Founder of Benjamin House Ministries
We had planned for so many years to adopt a little girl from China. They require you to be 30 years old and have a certain income and as soon as we reached those milestones, we began the process. In a somewhat sterile way, we went down a list they gave us of special needs and were asked to check off ones that we would be open to. In our minds, we were okay with a medically correctable special need. Things like cleft lip, club foot, even birth marks are considered special needs in China, so we checked all those. We would adopt a little girl, bring her to the states, get her whatever small surgery she needed to be “normal” and then go on with life.
We were paired with a little girl and we finalized the process and were ready to travel to China. We had been given some indication that she had some delays, but all children in institutionalized environments have delays. We read up on overcoming those, and got ready to receive our little Rebecca. As we walked into the cold orphanage office, we sat down and she was brought out to us. She was asleep and laid there peacefully but then began to wake up. As she woke up she didn’t really move much. Her eyes kept rolling back in her head and she would just scream and hit herself. We quickly began to realize this was not just institutional delay. Something was very wrong.
As we were leaving the office a lady came up to us, shoved a packet into our hands and said, “We never thought she would be adopted.” Inside were some of her medical records that they had intentionally not shared before the adoption. They revealed that at some point a hole had been drilled into her skull to relive pressure. All the signs pointed to a scenario where either her birth parents or a caretaker had shaken her, causing damage to her brain stem, and bleeding on the brain.
The months following were a slew of doctors visits, tests, and scans. We sat in the consultation room after her MRI and her neurologist came in and showed us the pictures. The diagnosis was cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and cortical blindness. He pointed out large areas of dark in her skull where her brain should be. It simply wasn’t there anymore. He then told us to prepare for the future. She would never walk, never talk, never be able to eat or care for herself. She would likely be on a feeding tube and lots of medication to keep her sedated and comfortable and she would probably live about 8 years. We were devastated. We sat and held each other and cried.
I remember days later praying to the Lord and giving Becca to Him. I said, “If you have given Becca to us for 8 years, then I will make them the most care-filled and love-filled days a child could have. But you have the power to heal her now. And I trust you either way.” Our God answers prayer.
About a month ago, Becca grabbed our ottoman and pulled herself up to a standing position. She has dozens of words in her vocabulary. She interacts with us, knows our voices and the voices of her brothers and others in her life, and God is continually performing miracles in her life. These things are unexplainable by human standards. She simply doesn’t have the brain capacity to do what she is doing.
In Uganda, many children just like Becca are relegated to lay in their cribs until they die. The culture doesn’t understand special needs or how to treat them. Part of our ministry through Benjamin House will be to train therapists who will be the hands and feet of Jesus as they work in children’s lives to give them the best possible shot at a long and healthy life. We’re asking the special needs community in the US to rally together and help provide the needed support for this to happen. We are so blessed with access to services in the US. To whom much has been given, much is expected.
Benjamin House staff, short-term missionaries, and our founders