2-year-old Haiti boy makes international impact

By March 2, 2016

International (MNN) — Waldy was covered in feces and flies when he was found by hospital staff in Port-de-Paix, Haiti. The 2-year-old boy was left for treatment at the hospital, according to Michael Broyles–the Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot who would be called on to transport Waldy to Port-au-Prince for treatment.

waldy stephenvillefhJohn and Christi Barnes, missionaries with House of Moses in Port-de-Paix, were at the hospital Oct. 7, 2015 to visit a patient, when Christi saw Waldy. He was laying on the ground, unwashed and unloved. When she asked a nurse what was being done for him, she responded that she’d given him some water, Broyles said.

Treatable infections

No one is sure where Waldy’s life began, but it took a turn from where it was headed when he was unofficially adopted by the Barnes. Broyles flew Christi and Waldy to Port-au-Prince where he could get help. He ended up making multiple flights to and from his home with the Barnes to the capital city; some were helpful, some were not.

Waldy suffered from multiple infections along with a severe case of hydrocephalus. His brain was swollen from an infection as an infant–likely meningitis. In the U.S., such infections in children are treated early-on with antibiotics and rarely cause lasting damage. But Waldy was born in Haiti, and the infection wasn’t treated. Surgeons in Port-au-Prince would be able to put a shunt in Waldy’s head to drain fluid and relieve pressure, but first he would need to get there. That was where Broyles and MAF figured into Waldy’s treatment.

A flight of hope for a troubled boy

In the dry season, the Barnes’ home would have been six to eight hours by road from Port-au-Prince–an unpleasant journey with a sick 2-year-old. In the wet season, however, the trip is impossible by automobile. Broyles and his plane could make the trip in about 40 minutes. “I was delivering a pastor and coming back empty,” he said. “So I brought Christi and Waldy.” Waldy couldn’t be buckled into one of the seats, and Broyles didn’t have a stretcher. So the boy was bundled in a sleeping bag, and Broyles strapped him to the floor of the plane.

While Waldy was having surgeries and drug regimens performed, Christi was working to get a passport for Waldy and an emergency visa allowing him to travel to the U.S. for more complicated procedures, and adoption.

A trip from Haiti to the Lone Star state

Early in February, Waldy’s visa was approved, and he was put on a flight for Texas Children’s Hospital. Once in Texas, the tiny 2-year-old with the swollen head was adopted by Dustin and Lindsey Wood of Mansfield, Texas. He was renamed William Josiah Wood.

Broyles believes William “Waldy” would have died the same day he left Haiti, if he had not made the flight to Texas. While in Texas, Waldy suffered complications from infections. Despite prayers from those in Texas, Haiti,and across the USA, he died on Feb. 23. The Woods had a funeral Saturday at Rock Creek Baptist Church in Crowley, Texas.

How could God be using a 2-year-old?

The church was packed for Waldy’s funeral.

“We have a small building,” said Rock Creek pastor Rev. Doug Helms. “We’ll have 110 to 120 on a Sunday, but last Saturday we had 140 or more there for the funeral.”
Waldy began changing lives when the Barnes took him in back in October in Port-de-Paix, but his affect on peoples lives continued from the time he got off the plane in Texas, Helms said.

The Barnes got off the plane with Waldy and were standing in the baggage area. They were crying and praying and hugging him. The Woods were standing nearby, and they were crying and waiting for the Barnes to say their goodbyes. “Everyone in the area that day knew something special was happening,” Helms said.

Waldy started as a malnourished boy, desperately in need of help. No one would touch him because, in Haiti, it is accepted that if you touch a child in such a state, you become responsible for them. Doctors in Texas found that Waldy had a stomach infection. That could be dealt with, but he had been malnourished for too long prior to the Barnes ever meeting him. “By that day in October, he was already dying,” Helms said. Both the Woods and Barnes were there for Waldy in his final hours. Having arrived in Texas on Thursday, he died at the hospital 2 a.m. the following Tuesday.

There were so many hoops that had to be jumped through, both for the visa and for the adoption. It’s a process that often takes a year. His went through in about two months, he said. “On a Wednesday night prayer meeting about two months ago. Lindsey came to us. We’re praying that the Lord is opening the way for Waldy to come to us,” Helms said. “We made him a special matter of prayer. Why would God bring him to Texas but not allow him to even finish out a week here? I think God has used Waldy to open our eyes.”

Both Helms and Broyles noted that there are many children in Haiti who are in Waldy’s shoes. They are in desperate need of help.

“It was really amazing. Our family, the Wood and Barnes family — this little guy just touched people’s lives.”

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