Children’s Horrific Experience Leads To Salvation And Forgiveness

We see horrible stories in the news every day – unbelievable tales of abuse against innocent children.

Many times, this abuse is committed by the very people a child should trust most – parents or caregivers who are supposed to keep them safe.

But a story out of Texas is proof that God has a hand in everything, bringing people together when they need each other most.

It was a scene that was impossible to imagine.

Two young kids were found in horrific conditions after neighbors reported that they heard crying that lasted several hours coming from a nearby home.

Authorities arrived to investigate and were shocked at what they saw.  Three-year-old Naomi Reed was bound tightly at the wrists with her arms above her head, tied to a garage door.  She could not sit or stand on her own when they released her.

Then they spotted older brother Josiah, age 4, who appeared to be dead he was so motionless, chained to a dog spike.

Both children were filthy and injured, surrounded by their own feces and suffering from malnourishment and exposure.

They had numerous visible injuries in different stages of healing, and authorities estimated they had been in this tragic state for at least two weeks.

The children’s mother, Cheryl Reed, had abandoned them by leaving them in the care of two “friends” she knew from California, Porucha Phillips and Deandre Dorch.

Six other children belonging to the couple were also found in the home, though they were unharmed.

Witnesses said that the adults grew tired of caring for Reed’s children and began to abuse them once they determined she would not be returning for them.

That’s where Theresa Nealy comes in.

Theresa and her husband, Danny, had been fostering the children since they had been taken from the home.

They were physically healing but faced a long road ahead, and the Nealys were looking to find them a forever home.

One Sunday morning during church in 2016, it was if God Himself was speaking to Theresa.  She found herself incredibly moved by a hymn being sung by LaKenya Shaw, another longtime member of the church she had never met.

Nealy knew nothing of Shaw’s circumstances or ability to care for the children, but she said she heard God’s voice telling her that LaKenya Shaw was the one.

In my mind I heard God say, ‘Those are the parents I have chosen for those children,‘ ” said Nealy, according to the San Antonio Express News.

Nealy introduced herself and told Shaw the amazing story.

The miraculous encounter continued when Shaw said that she and her husband of 17 years desperately wanted children but had not been able to – Shaw had even recently suffered a miscarriage.

Both couples and the young children immediately bonded and after getting to know each other, the Shaws petitioned to adopt the kids with the help of the Nealys.

Child Protective Services tried five times to place the children with relatives in California, and the Shaws were devastated that the adoption may fall through.

But each time, family members failed the home visit inspections carried out by authorities and the Shaws’ adoption was finally granted.

The children are physically healthy and happy in their new home.  Their names have been changed to Shaw, and they continue to heal with their new parents.

They still have a long way to go, however.  They continue to suffer effects from the abuse, both physically and emotionally.

Josiah sleeps sitting up because he had never slept in a bed.  Both children are constantly hungry as if they are afraid they will not get another meal.  And they are both coping with the childlike confusion of not understanding why they were hurt, or why their mother abandoned them.

“I think about how it could have been for them,” Shaw said to the San Antonio Express News.They could have died in that yard.  They had to be loved back to life,” she said, adding what they all went through “just makes us want to love them more. I needed Josiah, I needed Naomi. God knew what we all needed.”

After the children had settled in with the Shaws, God continued to unfold his divine plan for them all.

Theresa and Danny Nealy are still close with the family, called “Nannie” and “Poppy” by the kids.

And during the trials of the three adults involved in the abuse, LaKenya Shaw made statements in court – of forgiveness.

At Cheryl Reed’s sentencing, she told the mom she would be open to letting her see the children again – but it would be their choice.

She told Deandre Dorch that she forgave him and told him how healthy and happy the children now were, bringing him to tears.

Dorch was found guilty and was sentenced to four 65-year prison terms for his hand in the abuse.

Porucha Phillips plead guilty and was sentenced to 50 years.  And the children’s mother, Cheryl Reed, was sentenced to ten years in prison for child abandonment.

And if all of this is not proof enough of miracles, LaKenya Shaw and her husband also adopted Cheryl Reed’s baby, Matthew, when Reed gave birth in prison – wanting to keep the siblings together and give them all a stable life.

It’s a pretty amazing testament to God’s plan, don’t you think?

What do you think about this miraculous story borne of tragedy?  Leave us your thoughts.




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