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Monday, July 2, 2012
2:40 AM | Posted by Jenny | Edit Post
The above pictures are from my two trips to Liberia. The first ones are of our Ariana, our daughter we adopted, twin to our daughter Sofia. I spent weeks loving and nursing her in Liberia and I fought for her life. She died the day before we flew home from Liberia.
At her funeral, as she was lowered into the dirt and I didn't know if I could take my next breath from the heaviness in my chest, Brad started singing, "Blessed be your Name" and all the church bells in Monrovia started ringing. A beautiful reminder that we were not alone. And we had to decide if we were going to try to adopt her cousin who was also very sick and at the same orphanage. Brad said the enemy was going to pay for taking Ariana's life and we would adopt more now.
The thought of risking my heart again wasn't appealing. My son Gabriel, 7 at the time, gave me a reminder, "Unless a seed falls into the ground and dies it abides alone. Ariana was like Samson Mommy, she accomplished more in her death than she did in her life." Her name meant, "Holy and set apart for God." So we risked it all for love again and although they went straight to PICU when finally arriving on US soil and nearly didn't make it.....and we were told all kinds of terrible prognosis about their futures.....today, having overcome so much.....these girls were so worth it.
God used the girls as the first fruits in our community to spur a Liberian adoption revolution! Many children's lives were redeemed as people connected a face, a name, to the orphan crisis in Africa.
My second trip to Liberia I fought for a baby's life named Hope. Another family was in the process of adopting her and I ended up burying her in a dirt hole in the ground as well, my heart breaking, asking God what this was all about again.....re-living the same scenario of our baby girl's death the year before. It did something to my heart that made the "yes" easier to our following children we adopted a couple years later. I knew it was going to be life or death either physically, emotionally, or spiritually for them. Despite many challenges, these sweethearts were so worth it.
There was a baby in Uganda that we were fighting for. (still in shock I just had to write that sentence in the past tense) She was the visual aid of how Esther was when she was brought into the orphanage. About 2 1/2 based on dental record, but weighing around 10 lbs. Baby Beatrice was HIV positive, severely malnourished, and fighting for her life. She wouldn't feed well and I noticed white spots all over her tongue and cheeks, and I wondered if she had a fungal infection that extended to her esophagus (those who know our daughter Blessing know I think about the esophagus more than your average person). She couldn't even keep her ARV meds down. I could not sit back and do nothing. I have a new nurse friend whose fiancé "just so happens to be here" who is a pediatrician and recommended we bring her to a hospital that costs a lot of money. And all the Americans here loaned me gobs of Ugandan shillings while I emailed my friend Carolyn of Project Hopeful and told her about baby Beatrice and the need. And within under 2 hours a Baby Beatrice Fund was established and the money was raised for her medical expenses.
Sebastian carrying baby Beatrice to the hospital.
And she was stabilized and transferred to another hospital, and I just talked to the doctor today who had seen her and said she was going to be there about 3 weeks before she would be ready to be transferred back to the orphanage. And then about 10 hours later I received a text that she had died. We will be burying another child in Africa. Not an orphan statistic but a child with a name and a face.
And we could magnify the same old generic tricks of the enemy and get discouraged. Or we could fight back, overcoming evil with good. The timing of all this is interesting to me. Project Hopeful , the ones who raised the funds for Baby Beatrice's medical care, won a 50,000 grant today. They are the ones who go to bat for the most vulnerable orphans around the world and highlight the most overlooked children for adoption. They are the ones helping us raise the funds for Esther's adoption. They just had a medical team here in Uganda helping spread the TRUTH about HIV. I had just posted this photo on Facebook when I found out they won the grant of me and Esther having a celebratory kiss and declaring July 2nd as our new favorite holiday:
And now July 2nd will also be my Baby Beatrice Memorial day. Because she won't be forgotten, her death will signal the start of something life-giving for others. Like with our Esther, God weaves together multiple threads in His beautiful tapestry so that one event is never just about that one event. He does more behind our backs than in front of our faces, but when He reveals His glory....which is His goodness...we are left in open mouthed awe and wonder at how He took what was meant for evil and turned it around for good. Blessed be the Name of the LORD.
We will keep fighting to see God's Kingdom come and His will be done on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN.
We ultimately can't lose. The whole Trinity is on our side. We don't quit, we press on and abide under the shadow of His wings. We keep worshipping in Spirit and in Truth. We filter what our eyes see through the lens of faith in God's loving kindness.
One of my favorite lines in the Kingdom Tales books I mentioned is their greeting to each other, "How goes the world?" "The world goes not well, but the KINGDOM COMES!" King Jesus, our Victorious Warrior, is in the battle with us, praying for us, Holy Spirit is interceding for us, and most of the angels are on our side as well! Jesus weeps too, even as I am full of boogers and tears tonight, and our Comforter takes the scars on our hearts and etches them into beautiful carvings of our testimony of God's faithfulness to us.
Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate...
1 Chronicles 26: 27 KJV