Monday, May 14, 2007

Host Family Needed in Chicago Area!

We are looking for a host family in the Chicago area for a beautiful little Haitian girl! Her name is Ruthlande and she is just over 1 yr old. This little girl has spina bifida and hydrocephaly needs surgery quickly. She will be coming to the US as soon as we can get her paperwork cleared. We have been trying to get Ruthlande here for some time, but the situation became an emergency over the weekend when she fell and the sac on her back broke open and began leaking spinal fluid. Here is a bit of the email from the nurse who is currently helping care for her in Haiti:

Ruthlande and her mother came to COTP at about 3pm yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. Her mom told us that Ruthlande was playing around on the floor at home and she either fell over or something hit the myelomeningocele (I'll call it "sac" b/c that's shorter and easier to spell!) and it burst open. I"ll give you a quick history on her and then tell you what we're doing for her.

History: Ruthlande has hydrocephalus and spina bifida. Her myelomeningocele is in her lumbar area (very lower back) and about the size of a baseball or a fist. She is 13 months old and weighs 9kg. She can move her legs but doesn't appear to have much feeling in them. She has club feet but not severe - I've seen worse!

Presenting Symptoms: Sac completely collapsed in on itself, Lost roughly 1 liter of spinal fluid and blood. Tear in the sac the size of a quarter. Fontanel sunken. Vital Signs stable and afebrile. Sleeping and lethargic but responsive to pain.

The hospital that will be caring for Ruthlande is about a half hour north of downtown Chicago. I do not yet have the names of the medical team or facility. We need a host family that will be able to give this little girl a good bit of time and attention as her needs are significant.
Hosting a Haitian child is sometimes challenging, but it is always so incredibly rewarding. It is an opportunity to show God's love to the littlest of his children. It is an opportunity to reach out and touch the world, to make it a better place for even just one child. These little ones need a family here that will love and care for them as their parents would during this difficult time. We would happily bring a parent with each child if we could; unfortunately, it is not possible with the current state of immigration policies here in the US. So, if you think your family would be able to open your hearts and your home to little Ruthlande, please contact us immediately for more information.

Also, please keep this situation in your prayers as she is quite vulnerable right now. Her mother is so loving and dedicated and has not left her daughter's side through all of this. Little Ruthlande has managed to live with an unrepaired myelomeningocele in Haiti for this long due to her mother's excellent care. It will be incredibly difficult for her to let this little one go, but she is determined to do whatever it takes for Ruthlande to have a chance at life.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Hi All....Happy Mom's Day to all of you with kiddos! I wanted to share some photos of a few special Mom's Haiti. In my humble opinion, being a mom is the most wonderful blessing God can bestow on us; however being a mom is not about giving birth. It isn't even about being a woman. It is about love...selfless, unconditional and never-ending love. Regardless of how our children come into our lives, it is our privilege to share our time, energy, knowledge and love with these small, unique individuals who look to us for all their needs to be met. We would give everything we have to keep them healthy, safe, fed and loved.
For many of us, it is a challenge to provide these essentials, but we are fortunate that we live in a country that has resources to help us. While these supports aren't always enough and we do have children in the US that suffer from malnutrition & disease, most of us have enough to meet our needs, if not our wants. For so many parents in the developing world, their child's survival must be their sole focus and any failure on their part, would mean the difference between life & death. All this being said, today is a day to celebrate all of those sacrifices of mothers all over the world. We don't always have to make the same sacrifices, but we are all willing to do whatever we must to give our children the best lives we can.

These woman have made difficult choices for their children. They have trusted complete strangers with their children's lives because they have no other options. God has given them the strength to let go of their babies and place them into his hands alone. I am in awe of their faith and their determination. Today, I want to thank them for their incredible example of selfless love!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Great Video...please take a minute to watch!

Hey, if you have a minute and want to be educated on the problem of malnutrition in Haiti, please watch this video by our friend, Corey Waters. It is very powerful...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Few Updates

My apologies to all our readers for being an absent blogger for the last few weeks. It has been difficult to keep up with the blog since returning from Haiti. Chedner has been sick and in the hospital. This picture is a rare moment when he actually slept in the crib for a few minutes. Now that we are home and he is getting better, the daily regime of care we need to do for him and his refusal to let me out of his sight is making it a challenge to accomplish much else. That being said, Chedner is growing and developing pretty well despite all his medical conditions. We will know more about his future and the extent of his medical anamolies after some testing later this month.
I wanted to give you all a few updates on some of the children who are currently here getting treatment.

Christy: She is doing wonderfully and the recent pictures I received from her host mom show a smiling, happy and healthy two year old girl! What an incredible blessing. She is enjoying the playing with the children in her host family and is getting stronger each day. The doctors have said she should be able to return home to her Papa soon. Is she a diva in those glasses or what!?!
Nelson: Nelson had the surgery to replace his damaged heart valves last week. The doctors had said that he would need to have artifical valves put into his heart and would need to take medication to prevent complications his whole life. This situation would make it extremely challenging for him to live in Haiti. The alternative to the artifical valves would be pig valves, but they were not optimistic that the sizes would be compatible. Vanessa and I rejoiced following the surgery when we heard that Nelson's valves were a match for the pig valves and he would not have to be on medication. This is amazing news for Nelson and his family. Hopefully, once he recovers from surgery, he will be able to travel home to Haiti soon.
Angelo: This brave boy isn't doing as well after surgery as we had prayed he would. He has suffered from some amount of brain damage which is understandable now that we know that the tumor he had took up 1/3 of his brain. In fact, it had wrapped itself around his brain stem. He is struggling just to keep going right now and needs our prayers. There are so many unknowns in his future and his mother is going to need God's strength regardless of the road she chooses for him.

Achemine: She is going home in just a few weeks! Her parents will be so very excited to have her back. Achemine did have a few complications after surgery, but is now doing well. Her shunt is operating fine and her parents will need to be vigilent with her health when she is back in Haiti. It is so wonderful to see that sweet face so clearly now that the swelling in her head has been relieved.

Berny: This busy little man is ready to return to his Mama & Papa. This trip went much more smoothly for Berny than his first. His surgery to repair the cleft palette was a success and he has mended well. We also found out during his stay here that, thankfully, he did not suffer from epilepsy, but is actually having some trouble with episodes of low blood sugar. This is very manageable and his family was relieved to hear that he wouldn't need to be on medications for this condition. He just needs to be sure to snack often...I know...sometimes easier said than done in a country such as Haiti.

Vanessa will travel to Haiti on June 14th and take whoever of these kiddos that are ready back to their families. She will then travel back to the US with a few more children for treatment here. Please send her good thoughts as she travels and hopes to finish up a bit of paperwork for some of the children.

Finally, I just wanted to say Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there! Enjoy!