Written by Maureen Casey - Joy-Filled Homes Director and Founder
Five months before the fire that killed over 40 teenage girls in the largest government orphanage, the scandal of what was happening there began to be exposed in the national news. The public responded with outrage at the abuse and compassion for the children.
Over 700 children were housed in a facility designed for 450, among them children rescued from abusive families, children picked up for living on the streets, juvenile delinquents serving their criminal sentence past 18 yrs old and among them 150 disabled children.
It was mid December when I took a call from a male court official asking us to take an older disabled boy who had been housed with his two sisters in a very good orphanage but the court was under pressure to move him to a disabled program. His choices were down to Los Gozosos or that big horrible government home.
I told him we were one over our limit already and I did not trust the government inspectors to not react capriciously. The man broke down on the phone, crying as he told me his conscious just would not allow him to send this precious vulnerable 12 yr old boy into that infernal prison - like place. He was begging me please take Josue into Los Gozosos.
I was torn in two but thought, I have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise where does it stop. I held my ground and said no. After hanging up my heart was not at peace. I tossed and turned all night, didn’t sleeping a wink.
The next morning, Friday, when our administrator came into the office, I talked to her about it and asked her to pray with me over the weekend because I just had not peace in my heart about saying no to this boy.
Monday morning I returned to the orphanage having slept the weekend but when Elsa arrived she said, “I didn’t sleep a wink all weekend, we must take this boy into our home.
When we called the court official he said he had already sent Josue to the government home that morning with all his paper work finalized, but he would get right on it. That man worked miracles because Josue was in coming in our door before the end of office hours.
Josue loves this story. When groups come to visit he begs me to tell his story because while we were losing sleep Josue was crying out to God begging Him to not let him return to that government orphanage because he and his sisters had spent five days there when they were first removed from their mother before they were transferred to the good home together.
He knew that God had a special home prepared for him where the people loved and served Jesus. He had seen our home in his heart never having been here before. The part he loves the most is that his Papá God was listening to his anguished prayer and would not let us sleep until we brought him home to Jesus’ house. He said he knew all the way on the drive and especially coming through the front door that this was God’s place for him.
When he arrived he was under weight, skin and bones, no strength at all and his legs were folded up like a pretzel, the tendons contracted tight so he could not stretch them our or his arms. He had never had any kind of therapy and never studied one day in school.
With daily therapy and a great diet, Josue can stand up almost straight and he is almost walking on his own now. We are looking for a special walker that will make him even more independent. He lifts weights and is very proud to show off his well-defined muscles.
Josue is 16 yrs old now and he still loves Jesus with all his heart and a powerful prayer warrior. God uses him to pray for others and they are healed and blessed. His speech is improving, still difficult to understand but that has not stopped him from preaching in our local churches youth group and sharing the Gospel on the streets.
When his aunt came forward to take him and his sisters into her home, she was honest with him that because she worked everyday he would have to go the a nearby DayCare center for babies and toddlers. He knew the place fro going there when he was much younger.
I had talked to him before the hearing because I would not be able to accompany him. Josue is a very caring compassionate boy, I thought he would worry about saying goodbye to all of us. I told him not to focus one the emotional reactions of the people around him of anybody but to think about what was best for him and boldly tell the judge exactly where he wanted most to be.
Imagine my surprise at a phone call later asking if our home was prepared for Josue to stay indefinitely with us. Josue had convinced the judge by telling him that he wanted to continue advancing in his physical and speech therapy pointing out to the whole court how much he had already accomplished and he wanted to continue in school where he was doing very well. He even demonstrated some of what he had learned. He said my aunt already told me all that will stop if I go with her and I believe the best place for me to have a really great life in the future is Los Gozosos.
So here we are, family forever but knowing that Josue will be able to live on his own and work at a real job, he may even go to university, he is that smart.