Kimani’s childhood was lived behind closed doors. His adoptive family made it seem as if the young boy didn’t exist.
The family wouldn’t allow Kimani to play outside like other children. No one would ever catch a glimpse of him riding the bus because he wasn’t permitted to attend school.
Within the walls of the family home, a horror story played out as Kimani struggled to survive his parents’ unimaginable abuse.
“I had no hope. I didn’t think I had anything to be hopeful for,” says Kimani, who is now 18 years old. “I didn’t know what love was.”
Kimani was forced to stay indoors to prevent his parents’ atrocities from coming to light. Every aspect of his young life was enveloped in darkness. At night, Kimani was made to sleep in a small closet. Whatever light pervaded the tiny space was quickly smothered when his mom or dad closed the closet door locking him inside. He never knew what to expect when the door opened the following day.
Kimani came to the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) when he was 12 years old. He weighed 32 pounds and wore size three toddler clothes. In coming to BCH, Kimani experienced having his own bed and attending school. He has grown from around 3’ to 5’2” with the aid of doctors. More importantly, through BCH Kimani has learned who Jesus is. “I have been transformed, renewed, changed, and I have been rescued thanks to them,” Kimani said.
“I went through all types of abuse,” Kimani reveals. “I’ve been beaten on the tongue with a brush. I’ve been kicked.”
He was also starved. Kimani only received food when his family felt he “deserved” it. The malnourishment took a serious toll on Kimani’s health.
He was constantly fatigued and the lack of regular meals severely stunted the boy’s growth.
“Sometimes when I was fed, my mom would tell me there was poison in my food,” Kimani said. “When you are a hungry child, it’s hard to decide whether to go to bed hungry or eat something that’s not meant to be eaten.”
In 2007, Kimani’s situation was finally discovered and he was brought to Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH). At the Broyhill Home campus in the mountains of Clyde, he received a new home under the care of houseparents Will and Betty Porter.
“When we first met Kimani he was 12 years old, weighed 32 lbs., and wore size three toddler clothes,” says Betty Porter. “When we got him into care we started praying and asking God what we could do to make a difference in his life.”
The differences came immediately. Kimani moved into Frizzell-Higdon Cottage with his houseparents and the other boys. And for the first time in his memory, Kimani had his own bed and plenty of hot food to eat.
“I got to go shopping for the first time and choose my own clothes. I was so happy I didn’t know where to start,” Kimani says smiling. “It was a great night, and I felt safe.”
Along with the care of his new BCH family, Kimani also received much-needed aid from medical specialists. In his six years at BCH, Kimani has grown from around 3’ to 5’ 2” tall with the help of doctors.
The boy who had never attended school is now a healthy, high school senior who dreams of being a personal trainer.
“When I first arrived I could barely walk up the hill,” Kimani says. “If it hadn’t been for BCH, I honestly don’t think I would be alive today.”
Kimani has soared both physically and spiritually since coming to live at BCH. Because of the love shown to him through BCH’s Christ-centered ministry and the support of North Carolina Baptists, Kimani has accepted Jesus as Savior.
“The Lord takes something so many times that the devil means to be harmful to us and He’ll make good out of it,” Porter shares.
“He has sure done that with Kimani’s life.”
Kimani has stepped out of the darkness and into the light. His future, once shrouded in uncertainty, is now filled with hope and promise.
“I went from a kid with no life in him to a kid full of life. That’s all thanks to Broyhill – they have shown me love and they have shown me Jesus,” Kimani says. “I have been transformed, renewed, changed, and I have been rescued thanks to them.”
This year’s theme for Baptist Children’s Homes annual Thanksgiving Offering is “Blessed.”
For more information, or to see the 2013 offering video featuring Kimani and other BCH residents, go to bchfamily.org/offering. Or, call (800) 476-3669, ext. 1209, to order free offering promotional materials for your church.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Blake Ragsdale is director of communications for the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina.)