Ask anyone about 2-year-old Nayron, and they’ll typically respond in the same way: “He’s the happiest baby in the world.”
They might just be right.
Nayron fills the Welch home with laughter – his own and that which he causes to erupt from others.
“Nayron’s just a loving little boy,” his father, Shain, said. “I love to be around him. He’s always smiling. He’s always happy. He loves to arm wrestle. He loves to do all the things a little boy does.”
Nayron is almost as unique as he is happy. He’s one of dozens of primary medical needs children who come through the Texas foster care system each year. He was shaken at three weeks old, which caused a brain bleed that led to a stroke. Half of his body is paralyzed, he suffers seizures and has a shunt to drain fluid off of his brain.
Primary medical needs children often are among the hardest to place in family care. If homes cannot be found for them, they live in institutions. Some never know the love of family.
“When you get a baby with shunts and all this, it is kind of scary. But once you get them in your home and start playing with them, they’re really no different than any other kid,” Shain said.
May is National Foster Care Month, and I am continually astounded by how I grow closer to God each time I visit with Buckner foster parents and the children they care for. They pursue God and God’s calling with all their hearts. That passion inspires me.
When some people discuss foster care, they talk about the need. They cite statistics like the one above. Others will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the foster care system. For the Welches, it’s about serving a person who is made in the image of God.
“He was made in the image of God. He was made to be who Nayron is,” Shain said. “For us to receive that blessing of taking him into our home means everything to us.”
Remembering that each person you encounter – today, tomorrow and each day of your life – has been made by God transforms the way we think about them. God has a purpose for them as much as he has a purpose for you and me.
They have value to God. Shouldn’t they have value to us as well? Genesis 1:31 says: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
This week, let’s strive to see the gifts and talents God has put into those around us. Then shine hope into their lives.