The past three days we have been in the village where Ali Rose was born. I am struggling to find words to even write this post. The village rarely has power and so it was not easy to get on my computer or the internet. We were certainly in the minority and everyone stared at us without shame. It was uncomfortable to say the least. Many of the children ran up to us and wanted to touch- it was obvious that “muzungu” or white people are a novelty here. They snickered as we passed. Some shouted, “Is that your baby?” “How can that be? She doesn’t look like you!” Mandie Joy coached us to respond, “Yes- she has a nose and I have a nose, she has two eyes and I have two eyes, she has hair and I have hair.” They would pause and say, “Ahhhhh- you are right, it is okay then. Thank you for caring for our babies.” The welcome we received from the village (if you could call it that) was perplexing.
I was able to see the care center where AR was taken after her mother passed away. We met some of the 290 children- yes, that is not a typo, 290 children that the center provides care for. We were swarmed by children as we entered the property- I had at a minimum of 6 children at all times trying to hold my hand- my leg- my clothing. They were dressed in rags and had big eyes that were searching for love, affection, a kind word. The children were polite and sang songs for us. We were treated as very special guests. I felt so undeserving of their relentless and freely given love. The poverty in the community and at the care center was overwhelming. The two Ugandan individuals who run the facility are doing the best they can with little to no resources. They have so few supplies, inadequate space and little food. My mind questioned, why Ali Rose? why us? why did God choose to intervene in such a specific way? And what about the rest of his beloved children? I have more questions than answers tonight.
We’re working on finding options for providing long-term assistance to the care center while maintaining accountability and building capacity in the community. As soon as I can share ways you can help, I will.
I also had the opportunity to go to the hospital where Ali Rose’s mother gave birth and later passed away. We were given rare permission to tour all of the facility because Mandie Joy and Rachel have a relationship with the head nurse and hospital administrator. They often have no running water or electricity at this hospital. No water. No electricity. Can you even imagine? We walked pass rows and rows of beds with sick & hurting people and there were not nearly enough nurses, not enough doctors, not enough medicine, not enough hope to go around. Ali Rose’s mom was initially denied treatment at this facility because she wasn’t able to pay for the sutures necessary to do the required c-section. For around $5, she could have purchased those sutures. All I could think about was my own c-sections and the care I had received. Ali Rose slept peacefully against my chest wrapped tightly in the Moby wrap as I toured the hospital. I must have kissed her head a thousand times thanking God for her life, for the gift that she is. All the while mourning the loss of her mother, knowing that it didn’t have to be this way.
We also visited the medical clinic where Mandie Joy & Rachel have served so tirelessly this past year. The staff at the clinic was happy to see their “baby Rose” whom they had cared for and loved. They were pleased at how much she has grown! We actually had to have her ears checked because I arrived in Uganda with a cold and promptly passed it onto her. Neither one of us can breathe through our noses and we are a pretty pathetic pair! As if we needed anymore confirmation, just like my other children, AR’s ears were too full of wax to see if she had an ear infection. I just had to laugh! We’ve started her on antibiotics and she is already feeling better. While we waited on the hard benches outside the clinic to be seen I saw those sick with malaria, and open wounds and mothers holding limp & swollen babies in their arms. One little girl who sat beside me had a cavity. A cavity in a land where pediatric dental visits are unheard of. The cavity had abscessed and eaten a hole right through her cheek. You could see through the hole on her cheek into her mouth. Her jaw is locked shut and she can only eat by pouring milk into a crack in between her teeth. That side of her face she was unable to move, but the other side of her face that wasn’t paralyzed smiled at me. She smiled as she held Ali Rose and posed for a picture and waited to see the doctor who most likely wouldn’t be able to help her now. It’s hard to reconcile this world I am experiencing. Hard to process what we are taking in here. And yet I’m thankful to see these places like where my daughter was born and then left with the hope of a better life.
Lindsey and I are most likely going to contract malaria on this visit. The mosquitos were abundant in the village and they seemed un-phased by our futile bug spray attempts. In the morning I would wake up to several mosquitos inside my net and fresh new bites. The paradox here is that Lindsey and I will be able to go home and be treated for malaria and go on with life as we know it. It’s a different story for those living here who can’t afford the treatment.
You can visit Lindsey’s blog to read more on the adoption paperwork & process from the last few days. Her address is www.doyleadoption.wordpress.com and the password is fanta
Please do not share any of the information or pictures on our blogs as we must keep it confidential until our adoptions are finalized.
Right now we are praying for a miracle that we can file in the village and receive a court date in the next week or two. Please pray with us!