Zachary was removed from his biological mother when he was three months old, placed in foster care and adopted by what seemed a loving foster family. But following Zachary’s 5th birthday, his adoptive mother was asked to meet with a school psychologist about one of her other children. It was the sight of young Zachary, sitting on his mother’s lap, that prompted the school official to immediately contact the police – notifying them the young boy’s entire left side of his face was bruised and the thin child’s stomach clearly distended.
When the police brought Zachary to Childhelp’s Children’s Advocacy Center in Phoenix, it quickly became apparent to our doctor that he was in severe medical distress – suffering from not only a black eye and other injuries on his back, arms, and legs but also from malnutrition and breathing problems caused by starvation.
Our team of investigators and therapists learned Zachary’s adoptive mother had been physically and mentally abusing him for years. One common occurrence: Zachary was frequently locked in the hallway behind a metal gate, forced to watch the rest of the family eat their meals.
Zachary’s adoptive mother would eventually be convicted of child abuse and sent to prison, while Childhelp found Zachary a new loving home with the Morris family – a couple already raising other medically sensitive children. In the weeks and months that followed, Childhelp was there every step of the way. Our therapists patiently worked with Zachary as he learned to trust his new family and eventually begin to open up. Once he found his voice, he didn’t stop talking.
Today, Zachary is a funny, kind-hearted, loving sibling. And when we spoke to the Morrises and Zachary earlier this year, we got a wonderful update. The child once near death from starvation is now a 6’2” high school student and playing on his school’s basketball team.
Lizz Schumer of Woman’s Day Magazine recently wrote an amazing update article about Zachary and his story of hope and healing. Woman’s Day Magazine is read by over five million people and is one of the most widely read and distributed magazines in the United States. Childhelp is proud to share this story of love and hope it inspires others to take action to protect our children.