One of the greatest joys in life is the experience of having grandchildren, and on March 4th 2016 I was able to experience this joy. My son Zerick and his girlfriend at the time Christian, had brought my grandson Zakari into the world, he was born perfectly healthy and beautiful, and I instantly fell in love.
Just like when you have children you pray and hope that they are safe and loved every day of their lives, but unfortunately we know that this is not always the case, tragedy and danger sometimes visits the most vulnerable among us and on February 16, 2017, it would pay a visit to my family.
Like most moms Christian had to work to help support her family, and on this particular day as she headed off to work she left her small not quite one year old son, Zakari, with a trusted babysitter. While at work Christian got a terrifying phone call, one that no mom ever wants to get, it was the babysitter telling her that “she needed to come home and check on her son, seems like something isn’t right with him”. Christian left work to come home and find that her son Zakari looked lifeless; of course when questioned the babysitter insisted there was no fault on his account. Christian immediately rushed Zakari to the emergency room, and upon being evaluated the Doctors quickly discovered that Zakari has been a victim of child abuse. No sooner had she received that devastating news, when she was told something even worse, Zakari was not expected to survive the night. According to the investigator, the child abuser must have grabbed Zakari by the feet and slammed his head up against a wall or on a hard surface, causing his skull to fracture into thousands of pieces. With the details of my grandson’s injuries now being exposed, the “trusted babysitter” was now looking like a person of interest in the abuse of Zakari. We were also told that the skull fracture was not his only injury, but that he also had sustained fractures to his ribs and both feet. The devastation our family felt was immeasurable, but this was only the beginning of a long horrible journey.
Because of the severity of the injuries, doctors of course had to call police and make a report, and it wasn’t hard for the Police to determine that this was definitely a criminal case of child abuse. Both parents Zerick and Christian had to surrender Zakari to Child Protective Services while the case was being investigated.
Watching Zakari recover in the ICU was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. All we could do was watch, pray, and wait. As a grandparent sitting by his bedside anxiously waiting there were times I felt hopeless, but ultimately I knew all my hope and strength was in the hands of my Savior Jesus Christ. From the moment Zakari was admitted into ICU, he was surrounded by friends and family around the clock, and it was beautiful to see how much my grandson was loved.
Test after test, scan after scan, and after three days the doctors gave us their prognosis. Due to the major head trauma he had suffered, Zakari had a very high risk of future mental challenges, and he could possibly be blind. Once family received the devastating news, it was very hard to take it all in. How is it that one minute this little person that you love and adore so much is healthy and whole with all of life’s bright opportunities stretched out before him, and in an instant his very life is hanging by a thread. How do you wrap your mind around the fact that because of the ugliness of one person’s actions, the trusted “babysitter in our case, he may not walk, may not talk, may not even see again. Devastation, Betrayal, and Overwhelming grief were all felt that day, but all we could do was pray, and so we did.
Days and weeks went by and with the power of prayer we began to see a miracle in Zakari and his recovery. The doctors were trying their best not to give us false hope, but our hope was not in them and their schooling, or expensive medicine and equipment, but in the God we serve. After 10 months of doctor visits, trips to specialists, and a protective helmet, God preformed a miracle, and by Christmas of 2017 doctors proclaimed him fully recovered.
Zakari was released from foster care in February 2018. He is full of life, energetic, and the love of my life. He has his sight, no mental illness, and I know because of God he beat the odds.