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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!”


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


Max said...

Mo button does not work ((

Dizneluver said...

Praying for this sweet brother of mine!!!

Also is there any way that somebody can contact Miami Children's Hospital Foundation and/or Holtz Children's Hospital (part of Jackson Memorial Hospital also located in Miami) to see if either hospital would treat Monelson pro bono???

I know that Miami Children's has helped another orphan from Haiti in the past...with heart surgery.

It is worth a try

email me if you need help getting in contact with either facility.

Loving God, Loving Haiti, Loving Monelson!

Kelly DeBardelaben Berge

kdizne (at) gmail (dot) com

Kierstin said...

what do i do after i click the link to donate?

T & T Livesay said...

Had heard of this little man's situation via his Dad and have been praying ... hoping a visa is a quick and easy thing and that no morons stand in the way of it being so. Amen.


Sheila said...

The last update I read was in August and he was in the US and soon to be released from the hospital.

And because every good story has a great ending... Mo arrived in the states on Saturday, August 8th and on Thursday, August 15th, he celebrated his 11th birthday. He had pizza (for the very first time!!!), chocolate cake, and his mom, dad, and three sisters by his side! He loves his sisters, watching Disney Channel, movies, Spiderman and Batman. He is still in the hospital in Pennsylvania and probably has a few more weeks but he is home, he is safe, and he is able to receive the medical care that he needs. He is only requiring a tiny bit of oxygen through a nasal cannula, which is amazing, and being treated with multiple different antibiotics and antifungals to kill all the things that have been invading his body. He will get better and he will be strong again. I can't wait to watch you grow buddy, I pray for you every day!
"Be strong in the Lord, and never give up hope, You're gonna do great things, I already know. God's got His hand on you, so don't live life in fear!"