Antonio: a guarded kid with a lot of heart

Originally posted December 3, 2012

Antonio on the boat on the way to Amapala last year

Antonio on the boat on the way to Amapala last year

In our world of very guarded hurting teens, Jose Antonio stands out as guarded and hurting.

Since Antonio is Miguel’s little brother, Miguel and I have spent a lot of time talking about Antonio’s past. In his 15 years of life he has repeatedly been strangled and tormented by his mother and abandoned by the other adults in his life.

Antonio struggles to trust anyone and rarely shows anything but surface emotion. Over the past few months he and I have spent many hours talking and trying to pull him out of his shell. It is an uphill battle with him often sitting stone faced with heartbreaking tears running down his face, but he is learning to trust us.

He’s learning we love him and we’re not going anywhere. When I asked Antonio a few weeks ago what emotion he feels most of the time he sat for a long time then quietly answered, “I feel sad a lot.”

Antonio used to walk away at the mention of prayer, now he sits with my arms around him nodding with tears on his face as I pray over him. Getting Antonio to open up is going to take a long time but moments of joy in his life pry open a window into his heart, if only for a moment.

Antonio loves soccer and working outside.  His favorite chore is working with the plants in our garden. He loves hugs and attention like any kid but doesn’t know how to initiate or ask for it. We have all learned when Antonio is standing beside you looking awkward he is waiting for a hug.  Please help us hug the joy back into this precious boy’s life.