Teddy arrived at In Step when he was only 7 months old. He was very dehydrated and weak. He had been left in a room locked up for over a week by his mother who was mentally handicapped.
Teddy thrived at in Step and was very happy most of the time. As he got older, he didn’t talk or do things the other kids did. We discovered that he was autistic. He would often claw his face and roll around on the floor hissing and moaning when he was upset or it was too noisy.
In July of 2014, we made a very difficult decision to allow Teddy to be moved to a different Children’s Home. He had become a threat to our babies. We had found a small children’s home that only had 15 children and felt that Teddy would be happier there with a quieter atmosphere.
Sometime later we received a phone call that Teddy was in the hospital and we needed to get up there. We were horrified to see Teddy naked and limp with his ribs sticking out and a huge hard stomach. He couldn’t lift his head or make any noise, he was almost lifeless. We held him as we cried. We found out he had been locked naked in a room and was left lying in his own filth without even a diaper. Food was thrown onto the floor to him once a day or so.
Many tests were ran on Teddy and the only diagnosis they could come up with was that he was in the final stages of malnutrition. We hugged him, kissed him, and cried as we promised we would never let him go again. We realized the urgency to create a safe place for Teddy and others like him.
That was the start of the Stepping Stones Center, a center for our special needs children. Beth Ann currently manages this program with the help of 3 Aunties (Kenyan care-givers), a Special Education Teacher, and a Physical Therapist. There are currently 7 children in the Stepping Stones program, all of them wear diapers, four of them have C.P. and are in wheel chairs and three of those have to be fed blended food with baby spoons so they don’t vomit as they eat. Only one of the 7 can talk.
The S.S. center is a place where they can all get the individual attention they need and their needs can all be met as they are loved and cared for in a calm, quiet environment. The slogan for the S.S. center is three Stepping Stones, Walking, Leaping, and Praising GOD. Whether it happens here on this earth or in heaven: one day they will all be walking, leaping and praising GOD.
The handicapped are considered curses in KENYA and are thrown away and abused in multiple ways. Beth Ann’s dream is that the other children at In Step Children’s home will grow up helping to care for these children and become a new generation of KENYAN’s who will love and care for the handicapped.
“Teddy is loved once again, he is fed, safe, protected and cared for. He has put on weight and is happy. If he gets upset, I can quickly calm him by rocking in my rocking chair with him. I often sing, “JESUS loves Teddy, JESUS loves Teddy, loves him this I know” as I rock him. When I do, he gets a huge smile on his face and tilts his head so his ear is right up to my lips.” – Beth Ann
Stepping Stones started July 21, 2015.