Thursday, December 26, 2013

Guest Post By Marisa Boltz

My sweet friend Marisa and her boyfriend Brian came to stay with Annabel and I over Thanksgiving this year. I was SO excited to show her around our little corner of Haiti and introduce her to the work that I am doing here. I asked Marisa to do a guest post about her time with us. I am a bit uncomfortable because her words are so incredibly sweet to me and give a lot of credit I feel unworthy of but she wrote it so beautifully I had to share…

Thank you Marisa, (and Brian!) for your sweet heart and your time loving Haiti with me. Can’t wait to have you back again soon!

“About a month ago I had the privilege to return to Haiti for my seventh time in 2 years. I had always gone to the same spot in Haiti, Leogane, because that is where I would leave a huge piece of my heart every time. It is perhaps even the place that had my whole heart for a period of time. But this time was going to be different. I was staying up in the mountains, a place I had never been. A place so beautiful I never knew existed. I was staying with my friend Rhyan who I had met in Leogane almost 2 years earlier. She lives up in these mountains with her 2 year old daughter Annabel, in a house that is perfect for the two. Rhyan’s history in Haiti goes way back further than mine, back before the earthquake in 2010. She is running a non-profit helping pregnant mothers and sick babies whos moms do not want to give them up for adoption, but almost have no other choice if they cannot get the proper care for their babies. This is where Rhyan steps in and through donations financially and through supplies she is able to nurse these beautiful babies back to health and provide their moms with the knowledge they need to keep these babies going strong. And because of this, another baby gets to stay with their mom. It is an incredible act of selflessness, time, and energy investing in people’s lives that you will probably never see again. Raising a stranger’s child like it is your own on a daily, monthly, yearly basis. Because the thing is, to make a difference in someone’s life you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care. And I’m telling you, Rhyan cares.

And I don’t think I can phrase what my heart is trying to say any better than how Katie Davis puts it, “People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.”

Rhyan may only be able to feed one mouth at a time. She may only be able to help one mom in the pregnancy program a month. But there is not a doubt in my mind that Rhyan holds the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

-Matthew 25: 37-40 “

Friday, November 29, 2013

Christella

Today, all over the United States people set out to do something that to me, sounds much more terrifying that living in a “dangerous third world country”. This morning millions braved the cold and the crowds that had gathered to get their $119 Keurig, $299 Ipad and $700 55inch TV.

Now, lest you think I am getting up on my high horse here, I spent several hours looking at ads and making a mental list of all the things I needed, all the things that would make my life “so much easier”.

Until… I saw her pale floppy legs poking out of a stained and tattered blanket. Her tiny body rested upon the swollen, 9 month pregnant belly of her impossibly thin faced mother.

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Christella weighed 10lbs when I placed her gently on the scale. I asked her mother how old she was and she told me that she would be a year old on the 29th of November. A few seconds later I realized that TODAY was the 29th of November. Happy Birthday sweet girl.

Christella’s mother will deliver her 3rd child sometime in the next week or 2. She is 27 years old. She desperately wants to keep her baby. She wants her to be well. She is sure of herself when she speaks, she tells me about her struggles with a matter of fact clarity that is rare. She is not ashamed to admit that she needs help and yet, she doesn’t demand it. She expects nothing but her heart fully accepts what she is offered.

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Until her mother delivers her new baby, Christella will stay with Annabel and I. She will hopefully gain a little bit of weight and strength. Her precious personality is already coming out, her smile and sweet giggle can capture and entire room of otherwise self controlled adults.

I have no idea what the next few weeks mean for Christella here in our home. I have no idea the plan that is the big picture of her life but I do know this, I am blessed to hold her tonight. My life is richer and sweeter because I am allowed to know her for this time. I can only thank Him, again, for allowing me a front row seat to watch His purpose unfold.

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*If you would like to sponsor Christella’s recovery and time here with us please use the paypal button in the right sidebar to donate. $100 covers the entire cost of her care, every little bit is a blessing!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Live" Thanksgiving from Haiti

I Thought it would be fun this year to do a "live" update of our Thanksgiving. Being so far away from family, I often think throughout the day "I wonder what they are doing right now". I thought this would be a fun way to stay connected to Nana, Grandpa, Jake, Kacey, Travis and Kerderns this Thanksgiving day. 
So, as we go about our Thanksgiving celebration today I'll be posting photos as they happen. 
Hope you enjoy this little peek into our Haiti Thanksgiving. 
Right now it's 6:00am. I am awake way too early and thinking back on how LITTLE Annabel was last year! My little turkey, Thanksgiving 2012: 



7:15am Started getting the Christmas decorations up. Annabel is jumping out of her skin excited.

9:40am Coloring Thanksgiving pictures 

10:00am Borrowed the neighbors stove to heat water for a much needed and long overdue bath

10:35am Bath time


11:15am Snack to hold us over until turkey time.


12:00pm Annie is dressed and ready to celebrate!


12:30pm Arrived at GLA and I officially stopped remembering to take pictures, like completely! We were able to spend a good long time skyping with everyone back in The States which was a huge blessing. We did some crafts with some of the older babies in the nurseries, had a blast cooking up a storm with great friends and ate as much as our bellies could hold. Thankfully our friend Molly shared some of her photos from the afternoon with us. 


We are so blessed!




Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Once Again

THIS NEED HAS BEEN MET! THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL WHO DONATED!

I love fall! It’s always been my favorite season. I love the cold, clear nights, the snap in the air, the scented candles and hot caramel apple cider. Everything just feels so cozy and cuddly.

I struggled my first few years in Haiti. There just isn’t that definite changing of the seasons here like there is in Minnesota. I missed it. A lot. But, the longer I am here the more that homesick longing fades. Last week during an afternoon thunderstorm I had on my flannel pajama pants and fuzzy socks and I  commented to a friend about the awesome fall weather. I find myself looking forward to Christmas season here, a bizarre mixture of familiar carols and palm trees. With each year that passes this place feels more like home to me.

While I love fall there is one thing that happens every year that I dread. The ever present need to raise the money that I will need for the rent each year. Last year, if you remember, I was able to push off paying part of the money until April and within just 24 hours, you faithful friends had provided all I needed with even some to put towards the coming year. This year I will need to pay, in full, by the beginning of November. I was able to pay $1500 already but there is a remaining balance of $2000 that I will need to have in the next week in order to be set for another year of living in Haiti.

This home where I live is so much more than a place that Annabel and I go to sleep. It is where we do life, it is where we love on sick babies and nurse them back to health. It is where women knock on the door to share in the joy and fear of what the test results will say. It is the safe place where I unwind, where I can freely break down and cry over the injustice of this place. It’s where I ruin countless attempts at  recipes shared with me by neighbors.

The 3 babies that have shared our home in the past 6 months. 
This place is hard work but it is also home. I don’t want to be anywhere else. I am called, commanded by my God to be in the place where He built me to serve. The place that points me more toward Him every day.

Each of you who has given has been a part of what I am able to do here. Every dollar you donate to provide shelter for Annabel and I is another day spent holding and loving on His sweet children. I am eternally grateful and humbly ask again for your partnership that keeps me here.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Joy

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One Tuesday morning in early September I laid eyes on a tiny and breathtakingly perfect set of newborn twins. A round faced little boy weighing in at 6lbs 4oz. and a petit little girl, 3lbs 9oz.

As the days of living up in the mountains of Thomasin pass into each other I find my life heading in directions that I never would have imagined. After the blessing of having Nerline in our home I have been praying that The Lord would continue to allow me to love on His children in such a special way.  On that fall day I heard His calling, again.

After visiting with mama, and doing a few blood tests I began to feel that familiar stirring in my heart. That little voice that whispers that this one is different. This one would capture me. I had been waiting for the next ones that The Lord would lead to me and I and jumped in fully. I lost my heart to that family in the few seconds that I held those babies and heard their mama tell her story.

A past full of more death, pain, sickness and difficulty than I could ever fully grasp. Her life was HARD and it always had been, now she faced the responsibility of caring for 2 brand new babies completely alone. Add to that a dangerous post partum infection and I knew that she would need someone on her side. I could think of nothing I would rather do than be that one. 

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Just a few hours later, mama’s health had continued to decline and it became obvious that she needed to be transferred to a local hospital. 2 different hired vehicles and a rainy ride in the dark through twisting mountain roads before we arrived at the local emergency room. She settled in with IV antibiotics and a sweet neighbor woman to keep her company while I returned home to 2 little ones who would share my mattress on the living room floor for a sleepless night.

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And sleepless it was! Between two newborns needing feeds and changing I didn’t get more than 20 minutes of rest all night. They kept me busy in one of my very favorite ways. The next morning baby boy was looking a bit yellow so I set him up in the Caribbean sun for some good old fashioned vitamin D and went about trying to get baby girl to take in as much milk as possible. She was almost 2 full pounds smaller than her twin and wasn’t totally convinced that eating was more fun that sleeping yet.

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While baby boy was bigger than his sister, he was also jaundiced and had some sort of skin infection. It was decided that it would be best for both him and his mama to have him join her at the hospital for a few days. Not only would he be getting the medical attention that he needed, mama would have a chance to bond with at least one her new babies while she was receiving care.  He moved into mama’s hospital bed and baby girl settled in with Annabel and I.

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You wouldn’t believe what a complete and total joy this baby girl was! we both fell head over heels in love with her immediately. She started eating well once I was able to take some time to really commit to getting milk in her little belly. Over the next few weeks she ate, slept, smiled her first smile and spent hours dancing in my arms around the living room.

It didn’t take me long to realize that, off all the “temporary” babies I had cared for, this one would easily become the hardest to say goodbye to.

With some kind of fierce love that is impossible to describe to anyone who isn’t a mother, I cared for her. I woke up in the middle of the night, glad that she had cried to eat because I had already started to miss her in the few hours we had been asleep. I celebrated every single bottle finished and every tiny ounce gained with a bit of pride in my heart. I took her for walks and smiled and agreed when the neighbors would stop us to to tell me how beautiful she was. I daydreamed over what she would be, who she would become as time went on. I took her to church, I prayed over every inch of her little body. I painted her tiny toenails pink.

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As baby girl grew stronger, Mama began to improve too. Finally, she was released from the hospital. She moved into the small room we had prepared to be her new home. She grinned to be reunited with both of her babies, she put on a happy, brave face but in her eyes I saw just the smallest flicker of fear. The responsibility before her was huge.

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Women in Haiti make decisions every single day that would wreck you and I. Life here is something that, even though I live among, I just can not comprehend. I will not pretend to understand them, it is not something that can fit inside of my head. These women are stronger than I could ever dream of being. 2 weeks after being released from the hospital, with my support and love, Mama of baby boy and baby girl decided that she simply could not parent these babies in the way that they needed. I won’t lie, there was a brief, and terrifying moment where I wondered if God was really asking me to take both of these babies into our family. I knew I couldn’t do it! It became obvious, very quickly, that He had a plan for these two precious little lives. That afternoon, Baby Boy and Baby Girl were admitted to a local Creche (orphanage) where they will wait for their new family to come get them.

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A broken past leads the way for a broken heart. I wanted things to be different, I wanted this family to be the one that stayed together. I wanted my encouragement and work to mean something. I wanted everything to be different for this mama and for these babies. I did what I thought was best but I still have so much to learn. My human heart felt that I failed until I laid it before Him and His promises whispered loud. “I know. Me too. I cry for my children who hurt. Remember, I make all things new. I create BEAUTY from PAIN. I have a plan for them.”

No child should live in an orphanage. No woman should be sold for her body. No man should die because he has nothing to eat or drink. This world is full of unfairness and “shouldn’t be’s”.

This mother deciding to relinquish her babies felt like a failure to me until I realized how outrageously prideful I had become. Who was I to think that I had anything to do with this families future? I was nothing but a weak and willing heart called to love on them for a little while. He holds their future, not me. He was putting this puzzle together and He is the one who loves them more than anyone else. I just got to go along for a bit of the ride. He blessed me to fall in love with a baby girl and share a few weeks with her. He graciously put her into a tiny bit of the picture He is painting for my life and now I can’t help but wonder the masterpiece He has in mind for hers.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ti Nerline

A few months ago I was out for lunch at a local cafe. I had taken Annabel to this very place countless times before and knew many of the vendors who sell their souvenirs outside. On this particular day a face I didn’t recognize separated from the crowd he pulled me aside and with sorrow in his eyes, told a familiar story. A mother was dead and another tiny baby was a brand new orphan. This man explained to me that the mother was a cousin of his and the family was searching for options for their tiniest member.

Please don’t think me heartless, the truth is everywhere I turn, every single day there is someone hoping to place a precious little baby in my arms for one reason or another. My first response was to refuse the request. I had no business taking in a child with no thought of future plans. I thought that I knew that my plans for this family were the best ones. I grieve to see babies separated from their families and I knew that if I took her into my home, even for a short time, the chance of this family ever taking this little girl back were extremely slim. Reluctantly, I agreed to talk to him more the following week and left. A few days later the same man stood on my porch and told me again of a little girl who needed help. While I still wanted to refuse to take this little girl I heard that whisper that is undeniable. “This one, right now. This is my plan for you this season”. I agreed to see the baby and help the family make a plan. 2 days later a teeny tiny 3 month old treasure was placed in my arms.

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Her name was Nerline and she was swollen with Kwashiorkor, a sign that her malnutrition was serious. She had been cared for by a great aunt, a woman who looked to be at least 80 years old but was probably closer to 60. For months she had been spoon-fed a mixture of dry crackers and water, on a good day a little cows milk thrown in.

She was 3 and a half months old and her unofficial weight was 7.5 lbs (I don’t have a peds scale so I weighed her in my arms on my bathroom scale) She did not know how to suck but she was hungry for the bottle of milk that I offered her. I told the family that I would take her for 10 days, though a round of antibiotics and to give her time for her swelling to go down. At the time I thought I (and God) must be crazy! I was caring for a friends baby for a few days and that night I found myself alone with 3 babies under 18 months old! His Grace is bigger than my crazy and anything that can overwhelm. Both of the older babies slept through the night and I set an alarm to wake Nerline to eat every 2 hours and she immediately fell right back asleep. We all woke up well rested the next morning.

The next 10 days were full of a kind of healing that still amazes me. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, a child recovering from malnutrition is incredible. Her puffy cheeks disappeared and her tiny slits of eyes opened to reveal huge, chocolate brown irises that shined with life. By the time she finished her round of antibiotics the swelling in her face had gone down and she weighed over 9lbs. I was confident that she was ready to go back to her family. On a Thursday morning I sent her home.

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On Monday I did a home visit to check on Nerline. I learned that only a few miles from me lived a family who’s world I will probably never understand. I made my way down the side of a cliff where one wrong step could leave me seriously in trouble, next to me tiny toddlers played alone… I stepped through the doorway into a room that held a bed, a propped up “table” and a charcoal grate. From what I understood at least 5 adults and 4 children lived in this space. Nerline was there in the arms of her elderly aunt. In the 3 days since she returned to them her swelling had returned and she had a fever once again.

The aunt looked into my eyes and begged me to take her back to my house, “I am old, I won’t live much longer. Already she has had one mother die, if she stays with me she will have another soon.” No argument against that could find it’s way to my lips. As I stood there visiting a bit longer and young woman came in the house and started talking excitedly to me. She ran out the door and came back a few minuets later holding a tattered photo album, she was thrilled to show me photos of a little boy she had placed for adoption years ago. This family insisted they understood and that they wanted a plan like that for their Nerline.

While I wanted desperately to help this family it is not legal, nor it it wise to just take a child offered to me. Everything would need to be done legally and beyond that, I simply did not feel like I was being called to adopt this baby. I told the family I would take her home with me again, temporarily, get her fever and her weight under control and then I would work together with them to make the best plan for their baby.

It only took a few days for Nerline to gain almost 2lbs. She began smiling and laughing, she was precious. The longer she was with us, the more Annabel and I both fell in love with her.

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I began to share her story with a few close friends and they prayed with me for Nerline. 2 of those friends are a married couple who live here in Haiti, they have a heart for adoption and already have a little boy they are in the process of adoption. While God worked in my heart to care for Nerline for a little while He was working in theirs to care for her forever! In His perfect timing her brought Nerline to her mommy, daddy and big brother. Their family is precious and she fits right in.

After a little more than a month with Annabel and I Nerline went to live with her new family. She is thriving in their care and seeing how she has continued to grow is beautiful.

God is blessing me with time and opportunities to be involved in stories like these. On the days when I am frustrated feeling like I am just not doing anything meaningful, He reminds my heart, He will use me in the ways of His plans, doing the things He decides necessary, the things that paint a picture so much bigger than I can see. I pray to always be willing to be used in this way.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Miracle Mo

51 days ago Monelson was extremely sick. He had collapsed and lie in a hospital bed in a 3rd world country. The room where he was being treated was hot and privacy unheard of.

From all over the world people worried and waited and PRAYED.

This morning Monelson woke up under a warm blanket, in his comfortable bed, in a private hospital room in Pennsylvania. With his Mother by his side he walked his slowly strengthening body into the clean and fully functioning American bathroom.

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The last 51 days have been heartbreaking, difficult beyond imagination and filled with more tears, joy and miracles than even those of us who walked through them can fully comprehend.

On Friday, August 9th at around 6pm, by the favor of God, Scott and Julia were granted a private meeting at the United States Embassy in Port Au Prince. Time and options were running out and the truth that no one dared to entertain was growing more and more obvious. if Monelson were to live he needed to get to the United States immediately. For those in the adoption world Friday afternoon is not a time to rejoiced as it is for most people. Friday afternoon means the beginning of 2 LONG days where nothing happens in any offices. The government buildings shut down and the wait for Monday and the possibility of new news begins. I have seen and know the power of Jesus Christ, He could have written Monelson’s story however He wanted… I don’t believe it was by any accident that He chose a time constraint put on by mere human hands to point even more to Himself. God stole Friday evening back in victory for adoption on August 9th and Monelson was granted Humanitarian Parole and approved to enter the United States to receive medical care that would save his life.

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The very next day Monelson left Haiti on a private ambulance flight, the funds for which being provided by many of you! He landed and was admitted to the PICU at Hershey Medical Center. The road to recovery has been difficult and long but God has been faithful in His grace.

Today, though still weak and with a long journey ahead of him, Monelson is doing well. The Doctors have figured out that a case of staph pneumonia was the cause of the original infection and while he is still fighting blood infections and severe malnutrition, his condition improves every day. There are even whispers of plans for discharge and finally being able to go to his new home with the Deputys!

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Monelson is a modern day miracle that points to the faithfulness and heart of our Heavenly Father. Every single detail was undeniably and carefully orchestrated by Him. I consider the honor of seeing Him work and I am overwhelmed. Each of you who read Monelson’s story, gave of your resources for his care and prayed over his healing were used in a powerful way. I believe that as the body of Christ came together in love over this very special little boy, miracles occurred. Let us never forget in our weaknesses the power of God we saw in this season of life and healing.

FOLLOW MO’S ONGOING JOURNEY ON FACEBOOK

Monday, August 12, 2013

Change The World 2013

THIS NEED HAS BEEN MET! A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED PROVIDE FUNDS FOR THESE CHILDREN TO ATTEND SCHOOL!


It’s the start of another school year here in Haiti. Uniforms are being whipped out left and right. New books and shiny black shoes are appearing and kids, like all over the world, are anxiously awaiting that all important first day.

There are 4 precious children here in Haiti who dream of what this year, and the future will bring. Without help, September 2nd will come and go for them just like any other day. While their neighbors and friends head off the the first day of class and they will be left behind.
An education in Haiti is not guaranteed, it does not come without a huge sacrifice and sometimes, unobtainable price.

I know the families of these children well. They are truly in need of help and I desperately want these 4 to go to school this year. Allow me to introduce you…

Meet Mike

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Mike is 6 years old. He lives with his mother in a one room house. He is the only child in the home. Their small hut is in a compound with several of their extended family members. Mike’s mother does not have regular work, she has given 1 child up for adoption, 2 years ago.

Mike is entering 1st grade. His favorite subject is French. When Mike grows up he wants to be a teacher. He has been sponsored for school for the past 2 years and has done exceptionally well in all of his classes. He is a hard worker and his mother is very supportive of his education. Attending school this year is very important to Mike.

WoodMike Toussaint (2)

Meet Williams

Williams Pierre (1)

Williams is 11 years old. He lives with his mother and aunt in a one room house. He is the only child in the home. Their small cement house is in a compound with several of their extended family members. Williams’ mother does not have regular work, she has given 1 child up for adoption, 6 years ago.

Williams is entering 2nd grade. His favorite subject is Math. When Williams grows up he wants to be a race car driver Winking smile.Williams is several years behind in school because his mother has rarely been able to afford tuition. This is his first year in the sponsorship program.

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Meet Robens

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Robens is 16 years old. He lives with his father, stepmother, sister and 2 stepbrothers in a 2 room house. Robens’ father sometimes buys supplies in bulk and resells them for a small profit but he does not have regular work. In 2007 Robens’ father gave his youngest son up for adoption due to the family’s circumstances.

Robens is entering 10th grade (of the Haitian 13 year course). He told me he loves all subjects and can’t pick just one favorite. Robens dreams of going to medical school and becoming a doctor one day. Robens has a special medical need which we are trying to address. Because of his condition and his family’s circumstances he has not been able to attend school regularly. This is his first year in the sponsorship program.

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Meet Dencia

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Dencia  is 18 years old. She lives with her father, stepmother, brother (Robens) and 2 stepbrothers in a 2 room house. Dencia’s father is sometimes employed but he does not have regular work. In 2007 Dencia’s youngest brother was placed for adoption due to the families circumstances.
Dencia is entering her final year of school. She has begun taking nursing classes in addition to her regular school studies. She hopes to be able to attend nursing school full time after graduation. Dencia has been sponsored for the last few years through another program before transferring into the Espwa Berlancia sponsorship program. We are praying her schooling will be fully covered through the generosity of our partners. (You!)

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The average income in Haiti is $2 a day. That equals out to be roughly $730 a year. School tuition is $325 per child. The math speaks for itself. It is virtually impossible for any of these kids to go to school this year without sponsorship. They have dreams for the future and they deserved the chance to follow those dreams.

You can choose to fully sponsor one student for $325 (please put the child’s name in the memo of your payment) or contribute any amount you choose to the general education fund to be shared between all unsponsored children.

Please use our paypal like below to donate or send a check to

Espwa Berlancia
PO Box 16803
Alexandria, VA 22302

With School Sponsorship 2013 (Child’s Name/General Fund) in the memo

Thank you for your help in providing a future for these precious little ones.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Strong Like Spiderman

Just over a year ago God called me to a place that broke my heart.

After deciding to close down the Espwa Berlancia house in Leogane I was desperate to find a way to be used for His purpose. I stumbled into the gates of an Orphanage. The things I found there were heartbreaking. Unbelievable. All the things that The Church begs to see, hiding the truth of what we all wish didn’t exist. Among the chaos lived almost 30 little ones. Children. Sons and Daughters of God, my brothers and sisters. Quickly I fell head over heals in love with each of them. I learned what cry from each meant, who was scared, sad or hurt. I learned who needed hugs and who needed my extra alone time. I learned how to give when I was empty of anything but His grace.

Every single one of these little lives still fill my thoughts every day. Leaving that place did not come easily to me, I grieved for each of them on the day I drove away. While I still think about them all, a select few stand out to me. There is the little girl, extra special and full of hope, trapped in a broken body, radiating joy from her very core. There is a little boy who once shared my home and my dinner table… and there is one who stands out the most tonight.

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In the last month the one I have thought about, prayed sleepless nights over and dreamed of is a young man who is stronger than Peter Parker on his best Spiderman day. A boy named Monelson. He is sweet. A leader. Already clearly a man of God at just 11 years old. He was handpicked by our Father for a family that inspires me in every way. His parents define grace, they inspire me as I learn to lead my own daughter, their every move pointing to Him. God knit their family together and has been writing His story of grace through them for the past 2 years.

Last month Monelson became very ill and every single day since then has tested this family in ways that they have never known.  I asked Monelson’s sister to share a little bit of his story…

“To tell the whole story we must rewind. Two years ago, Scott and Julie followed the calling to take their family of three girls from Pennsylvania on a mission trip. We ended up in Leogane, Haiti in an orphanage surrounded by the most beautiful souls in the world. Scott and Julie have always wanted to adopt so they went to this orphanage with their hearts and minds wide open and no expectations but that of the will of God would prevail. That is how we all fell in love with our precious gift, Monelson.

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At age nine he was boisterous, athletic, full of life, intelligent, and the newest member of our family. We began the paperwork right away and have been swimming against the strong current of adoption politics ever since.

This brings us up to speed to July 8th, 2013. We receive a phone call from Haiti that Monelson, now almost age 11, had been hospitalized due to a fever and collapsing. He experienced shortness of breath and a sore throat and was taken to the nearest Doctors without Borders Hospital. While there, it was discovered that he had bacterial pneumonia and his condition worsened.

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He spiked high fevers daily, and his lungs began to fill with fluid. Due to the fluid he had to have a drain placed in one of his lungs which began to empty out all of the pus that his lungs were producing. After two weeks of several IV antibiotics and both of his lungs collapsing, emergency surgery was done to re-inflate the lungs and new drains were placed in both of the lungs. The growing severity of his condition left all of the doctors baffled and it was at that time the Doctors without Borders hospital felt it was in Monelson’s best interest that he be moved to the Bernard Mevs Project Medishare Hospital in Haiti’s capital Port-Au-Prince.

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On July 27th Monelson went in for his third surgery for bilateral thoracotomies which once again cleaned out the pus in his lungs and fixed a leak in his lung. They also re-placed bilateral chest tubes in him to aid in the drainage of fluid and support his lungs that had already failed him on more than one occasion. Monelson will be eleven in less than two weeks and has lost so much weight that he is only a mere forty pounds and his bones can be clearly seen through his skin. His body cannot retain proper nutrition that he needs so a feeding tube has been put in place to try and replenish his fragile body as well as a central line IV to his heart where they can feed more concentrated nutrients to his body. He has also recently been intubated to aid in his breathing so he can no longer talk, eat, or
 breathe on his own. This has been Monelson’s life for the past month.



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Scott and Julie have gone down to be with him when time and jobs allowed it and their oldest daughter, Lydia, delayed her college degree completion, left her final semester of college and went to be with Monelson full time and care for him in any way possible. In the midst of this, we are filing for an expedited completion of the adoption since we could see the finish line before Monelson became sick. Our family has never faced a trial such as this one. Those of us in the states wait every day for a phone call in hopes of good news but unfortunately those are few and far between. Our faith has been tested beyond measure as this handsome boy faces death daily. I have never seen my parents so worn down just getting through each day. I’ve never heard my sister so tired and weary but trying to hold it all together for Monelson daily. He is discouraged and restless longing to play and laugh while feeling safe and healthy. He is only ten years old but the strongest and most resilient child I have ever met and he’s the one who’s body is filled with infection. God has a plan and asks us for the faith like a child, patience, and perseverance. He is the ultimate healer and we have to seek him daily, hourly and most times every minute for peace and guidance in this trying time of our lives.

Doctors are telling us that Monelson needs better medical care. Haiti simply cannot offer this so the process has begun in getting him a medical visa to the United States in order to get him the proper surgeries, antibiotics, and recovery that he is in need of to begin healing. If the adoption is completed before the medical visa, then we can take him right away however, we are currently waiting for a hospital that will accept a pro bono case, as well as, looking for a Medevac to transport Monelson, home safely to a US hospital. Once getting here Monelson faces possible lung surgery, ventilation rest for two weeks, and intense nutritional care through an IV. For now, the doctors are doing all they can to just sustain him from getting worse but he needs to come to America, not only to get better and live, but to be with his forever family that has prayed for him for two years and loves him more than anything. We are in desperate need of funds to pay for the Medevac, as well as Monelson’s growing hospital bill. Please consider playing a small part along with the rest of the body of Christ, in helping to get our boy home where he belongs! Please follow the directions below for giving a tax-deductible donation. 100% of all donations will go to his hospital bill and medevac expenses. On behalf of the rest of my family both here and across the ocean, we thank you for your role in helping to give my brother the life he was meant to live!”



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This little boy, this fighter, this SON of the King and of my sweet friends, needs our help. The body of Christ is called tonight to rise and care for His precious child. Will you join the cheering squad, believing and claiming life over Monelson today? Will you stand behind this family in constant prayer, breathe your words of encouragement and faith upon them and help them carry this financial burden together as brothers and sisters of Monelson, Scott, Julie, Lydia, Maryl and Grace?

All donations are tax deductible and go directly towards Monelson’s medical care, VISA process and emergency evacuation to the United States. (Approximately $20,000usd)  You can donate using your paypal, bank account or debit card.

                          Mo Button


Please specify “Monelson Deputy” in the comment area of your donation!
If you would prefer to mail a check please make it out to Espwa Berlancia with “Monelson Deputy Fund” in the memo.

All financial donations can be sent to:
Espwa Berlancia
PO Box 16803
Alexandria, VA 22302