Monday, January 19, 2015

These Families Matter

“M” delivered a beautiful baby girl via Cesarean on Friday afternoon. Both mom and baby are doing great and her medical bills have been fully covered thanks to donations from you friends!

This morning I received a call from one of our most fragile mothers, Samantha. Samantha was due around the second week of January and is finally in early labor. I encouraged her to walk around a bit and to call me when her contractions started to get closer. I hope to welcome Samantha’s baby sometime in the next 24 hours.

While waiting to hear from Samantha a woman from my program came to my door with her one month old baby. She has been one of the most dedicated and willing to learn moms that I have ever worked with. Today she came to me in tears asking me to take her baby because, as of last night, she is sleeping on the streets. She told me that if she had to, she would give her baby up for adoption to keep him from suffering on the streets with her but that she thought that if she had to give up her baby she wouldn’t know how to live. She said if I would take the baby for a while then she would maybe have a chance to find a job.

The thing is, not only is this one month old baby breastfeeding, we have had to re-induce lactation in his mama because she followed the (poor, but very common) advice of an older woman to stop breastfeeding and instead give the baby a paste of crackers and water. She was amazing when I explained to her the dangers and she worked SO hard to get her milk back and begin nursing the baby again. Today she has a full supply of precious breast milk and any time away from her baby is going to compromise that.

The more I work with mamas and babies the more I learn about how precious and sacred the bond between them is and the more I am inspired to fight to keep them together. There is a mother in front of me, who’s greatest nightmare is loosing her baby but who feels like she has no other option to keep him from the suffering that she has known.

I have learned to accept a lot of injustice in the past 6 years, I have learned that there are some battles that I just cannot win but I am not going to accept this. I am not going to let this mama and this baby be separated. I still don’t know what the solution is but I know that for them, there is no option but to figure out some way, ANY way, for this mother to raise her child.

Today while I try to find a long term solution, they will find rest in the house that the Lord had given me to share. Her baby will snuggle close to her and I pray that she will hope will grown in her heart and that she will know that she isn’t alone and that someone else cares about her family.

Tonight I will be in a room where I will watch a miracle as a new life joins us and the air will be heavy with hope and anticipation. Every birth I have attended has been filled with the same emotion, every single mother has a plan and a dream for their baby. Sometimes life is kind and sometimes it isn’t.

It is glaringly obvious that I cannot fix this world, I cannot change the fact that Haiti is hard, and unfair. Today I just have to keep doing what I pray to do every day, love and believe that every single one of these lives is precious and that I am here for a reason. Today I get to love two women and their babies and I get to introduce you to them, so that you can “see” them too.

These families matter…

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Call For Help, For an Orphaned Widow.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
First, she was an orphan. Barely 6 years old and relinquished to the care of an instutition that she would call home for the next 8 years. She quickly learned how to fit in to a place with too many children and not enough adults. She studied hard, the one year that she was allowed to attend school. She was quiet and didn't make trouble, she was helpful and timid. She was too fragile for the hand of life she had been dealt.

When she was 14 her life turned again when an earthquake shook her home and changed everything. The place that had sheltered her was gone and she found herself alone in the world. Until, in the midst of chaos someone saw an opportunity, a man who had worked for the orphanage found her and took her into his home as his "daughter". But daughter couldn't be further from the truth of how she was treated. Repeatedly raped, forced into working unbearably long hours and all too soon, on the brink of becoming a mother herself. When she was 17 she gave birth for the first time She did what she could with no one to help, no one to teach her how to be a mother. Less than 9 months later she faced the greatest heartbreak of all, when her tiny daughter died.

6 months ago she found her belly growing again. Time and life had been hard, she was devastated over the fears of what was to come. He would be angry. He would probably beat her, and if she did manage to have this baby, how many months would she have to fall in love with her before the  hunger took her life too? That night she prepared for the worst, ready to tell him and endure his wrath. She waited for him to come home. The wait turned into hours and then days, finally it was confirmed. A car accident and all of the sudden, in the loosest sense of the description this 19 year old orphan had become a widow with no one to provide for her or the baby that she carried. Her situation, which was unimaginable was about to get even worse.

One of the sweet young ladies in my program is named "M" (she has asked that her photo and name not be shared publicly) That story is the story of her life. She arrived in my program on Christmas Eve this year, having been sleeping in a park in downtown Petionville for several months. She was set up with a temporary place to live and then enrolled in a program to provide housing and employment assistance. Her baby was due to arrive at the end of February.

Today she is about to welcome her baby into the world. What should be a time of joy and excitement is a time of fear and uncertainty for M. Her baby is not doing well and will need to be delivered by cesarean today, more than 5 weeks early! M has struggled so much in her life and she is finally on the brink of hope and a future that she has never known before, this baby needs to live! This baby NEEDS to bring hope and joy back into the heart of a broken woman.

M's medical bills are growing, the cost of her care, including the desperately needed cesarean is estimated to reach about $500usd. That is far more than Espwa Berlancia can afford to pay at the moment. We need some help to pay this bill and help keep this tiny family together.

If you feel led to donate any amount towards this mother and baby, you can do so by clicking the button below.  Thank you, for caring about and valuing the lives of Haitian mothers and children!