Jayden sits on the floor and plays with his Power Rangers. He drags the figurines across the carpet in the living room, their worn edges and scratched surfaces are a sign of how often Jayden plays with them. His imagination runs rampant, creating dangerous scenarios and life-threatening situations where the plastic figurines in his hands swoop in and save the day. To him, they’re heroes. In this way, Jayden is like every other 7-year-old boy. But Jayden is not just an ordinary boy. There is something dark, something haunting, that hides behind his wide and vulnerable eyes. There is something somber about his smile.
For the first years of his life, Jayden appeared to be a typically developing child. What was not seen was the hidden horror he was living through.
At age 3, Jayden was beaten so severely by his biological parents that he had to be air lifted to the nearest Children’s Trauma Center. He sustained a Cervical Spinal Cord Injury, (C1-C2) Neurogenic Shock, and Traumatic Brain Injury. When he was fighting for his life in the hospital, further investigation revealed several old rib, spine, and shoulder injuries that went untreated. Some of these injuries date back to as early as 18 months old. While most toddlers grow up in a stable and loving environment, Jayden had been suffering in an abusive home since he was born.
For the next year he healed. First in the hospital, to treat his physical injuries. Then, in a home for severely disabled children, to treat his emotional injuries. He struggled with symptoms of PTSD, emotional delays, and extremely low self-confidence. It was there that Jayden realized he had a choice: he could surrender, or he could fight.
Years before, a blond-haired green-eyed baby in an orphanage was facing the same choice. His name was Randy, and he had been severely neglected. He was diagnosed with 1p36 Deletion Syndrome, a rare genetic syndrome that results in global developmental delays and medical complications. What he had stacked against him, as a young boy, seemed overwhelming. He didn’t have to fight. He didn’t have to do more than just survive. But he did. And that’s what led Randy and Jayden to find the family they were searching for all along.
Randy’s fate took a turn for the better when Sheila came into his life. After finalizing his adoption, they moved forward with a foundation of love and support. Sheila, along with her sister Shellie, had grown up in a family with many adopted siblings who had disabilities and knew the joy that could come with adoption. So, when Shellie received a phone call in the fall of 2012 about a young boy looking for a family… she jumped on a plane.
Shellie met Jayden, and the next chapter of his life began. Immediately, they forged a bond so powerful they knew both of their lives had just changed forever. One day as Shellie was playing with Jayden he said something that had an impact on her – “Friends don’t leave friends behind.” She started the adoption process, and now Jayden has been in his new home, with his true family, for over 2 years.
This family is no different from theCHIVE family – we fight for the underdog.
theCHIVE is more than a website. It’s a movement to make this world a better place. A mission to look at what is and say “That could be better…” theCHIVE means more laughs, more friends, more beer, more RAKs, and as a community of misfits, there is no one who isn’t welcome to become a part of it. Jayden is right, friends don’t leave friends behind. So Chive Charities made sure Jayden and Randy didn’t get left behind with a $53,000 grant for an ADA accessible van.