Bookmark and Share

Kimani Stands Tall

June 13, 2012

By W. James (Jim) Edminson

Kimani crawls into the closet and curls into a fetal position, tucking his blanket tight to keep warm as the door is slammed closed. In the darkness, he hears the door lock.

Exhaustion and hunger battle throughout the night as he struggles to sleep. He is small. The years of being deprived food has stunted his growth.

The darkness of the night subsides – finally giving way as the morning light creeps underneath the door. He hears the door lock click. Slowly, he pushes the door open – flinching as his eyes adjust to the brightness. He is alone and is greeted with silence, not a “good morning” or an “I love you.”

Kimani sluggishly moves into the room. His frame is bent over, legs stiff and shoulders rolled forward like a small, old, crippled man, not like that of a 12-year-old boy.
“It was my life,” Kimani remembers. “I was told it was my fault. I thought everything was my fault.”

Kimani’s adoptive parents terrorized the boy calling their abuse discipline. He was often deprived of food, and when he was fed, he feared the food had been poisoned.

“You feel weak when you are hungry,” Kimani reveals. “You feel like you could eat anything, and when you get to eat, you don’t know when to stop. I would eat until I would throw up.”

When he was brought to Broyhill Home in Clyde five years ago as a preteen, he stood around three feet tall, weighed only 30 pounds and wore size three toddler clothes. Kimani’s life changed radically. He had his own room and a bed for the first time in his memory. He was taken shopping for new clothes within hours of arriving. Now, he was fed regularly – three nutritious meals a day.

“This was the first time that someone did something nice for me,” he confides. “They told me they loved me. There was food – I was happy I got to eat.”

The strong partnership between North Carolina’s social services and Baptist Children’s Homes greatly benefited Kimani. The two began working together immediately to improve the boy’s health. Medical specialists were called and in a short time, Kimani was being treated with growth hormones. Those involved call Kimani’s response to the treatment a miracle.

Now 17 years old and a sophomore in high school, Kimani stands five feet tall.

“I’m at a good height,” he says confidently. “My doctors says I could grow to about 5' 3" or 5' 4" tall.”

Kimani has not only grown in stature; he has also grown in character. Kimani’s behavior the first couple of years was less than stellar.

“I would misbehave and act out – here and at school. I would be coaxed to do something stupid by my friends, and I would do it.”

But he says that before beginning high school he determined to make some changes. He wanted his teachers and cottage parents to feel they could trust him.

“There were kids at school who told me I wouldn’t go far,” he recalls. “I wanted to prove they were wrong.”

The young man has accepted Jesus as Lord of his life. He reads his Bible and takes part in his cottage’s daily devotions.

He plans to go to college and use that time to prepare for the real world. Kimani wants to be a personal trainer helping others to live healthier.

He is quick to say that his life has not been easy, but he says now he is not alone. He is surrounded by people who help him every day.

“I have hope,” Kimani says. “I have a home, and I have Jesus in my heart.”

Video Extra! Click to view Kimani's powerful testimony.