RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WSAV) — A Richmond Hill family is looking to the community for help after their adoptive son was hospitalized in early July.

19 -year-old, Ethan Kelly, is a child abuse victim. At just 18 months old, his adoptive family tells News 3 he endured severe abuse from his biological mother.

“He was being zip-tied in a crib and in a basement 24/7,” John Kelly, Ethan’s father said. “And when he came to us at that time, forgive me for saying this, but he was eating his diapers to survive.”

Ethan is also a victim of shaken baby syndrome, and the Kelly family says he deals with the effects of it every day.  However, they say he has made tremendous improvement since the day they welcomed him to their family.

“He learned to eat again, learn to walk just using one side of his body, went to school…,” Stephanie Kelly, his mother said.

Recently, Ethan’s health took an unexpected turn because of his severe brain damage.

“They said due to his shaken baby that his brain on one side had filled with fluid and then pushed the other part of the brain into the brain stem, causing it to herniate,” Stephanie said.

This led to Ethan getting surgery. John and Stephanie said Ethan is going to need to begin learning basic skills all over again.

“Now he can’t even get himself out of bed in the morning without our assistance,” John said. “It’s hard to start back at square one at 19 when your body is that much bigger.”

Having to stay at home to care for Ethan has put John and Stephanie’s jobs on the line, still uncertain what the future holds for them. Now, the Kelly’s are turning to the community for help.

“We’re limited,” Stephanie said. “We have in total five children and we’re teachers. We’re limited in what we can do for Ethan. We don’t really have the finances to be able to give him everything he needs.”

They told us Ethan and this journey has taught the entire Kelly family the real meaning behind don’t judge a book by its cover. They say you never truly know the full story.

Their story is powerful, and their GoFundMe has additional information about Ethan’s journey.

Linked here is the family’s GoFundMe with a goal of $50,000.