Sunday, April 17, 2011

Metamorphosis

 How things work #3:  Be prepared for anything. 

Friday afternoon the leadership team came over to Casa LAMB for the second meeting to create a strategic plan.  It was about 4 pm and everyone was on break.  Next on the agenda was a visioning exercise.  Suddenly, Evelyn, David and Arely came up to me.  Some of the Children's Home staff and Suzy had gone to INHFA to pick up our two newest children - sisters 8 mo. and 8 years old.  INHFA had assured the staff both girls were healthy.   They were on the way to San Buenaventura  when Noelia, the baby, explosively threw up (side note: all over Suzy.)  U-turn to the pediatrician only to discover she has a very contagious form of diarrhea, bronchitis, and a fever.

They couldn't take the baby to the Children's Home and risk spreading the diarrhea throughout Sala Cuna (the toddler cottage) so they asked me if the baby could come to Casa LAMB until she was better.  Of course!  Well, it was chaos when the staff van pulled up with both girls and the caretaker who accompanied them to the doctor.  We still had the whole leadership team there milling around.  The caretaker was telling David and Jenny, who was going to stay and help with the baby, what all the doctor's instructions were.  David was trying to listen to her, translate for me, and write in English all the instructions for both girls.  (Extremely complex.  I had to create a spreadsheet to keep track of it all!)  Wendy was shell shocked, filthy and worried about her sister.  I asked if she could stay here too.  It seemed too much to separate the sisters and take Wendy to another busy place filled with strangers. 
 
Wendy - day 1
Jenny and Noelia - Day 1
The girls came with nothing.  Wendy had the clothes on her back.  Noelia, the one with severe diarrhea, had 3 diapers and one bottle. Clearly an immediate shopping trip was in order. It is about 5:30 now.  David, Evelyn, Arely, Wendy and I headed out for Metro Mall.  We bought clothes, sandals for Wendy, a stroller (second one I have bought in a month!) bottles, food, and toys.  Wendy was like a little zombie.  (Arely, Evelyn and I were thoroughly enjoying shopping for little girls clothes!)  She didn't make a peep.  I took her over to look at the toys.  I don't think she understood at first that I wanted her to pick something out.  She just looked at them solemnly.  I did notice her eyes widen at one package with two Barbie type princesses in it.  I handed it to her and said, "This is for you."  Well...the rest of the time we were in the store she wouldn't let it go. The shop clerk who was helping us kept offering to put it in the basket.  "No thanks," I explained, "we really need to carry it!"


By the time we got back home, it was 7:45.  We hadn't eaten yet but Wendy only picked at her supper.  I still had to make up the bed for Jenny downstairs and Wendy's bed upstairs in my room.  We turned a daybed style bed around to make a crib for Noelia.  By 9:30 I was able to take Wendy upstairs for a quick shower.  I am not sure she had said a word yet.  Not a sound from Noelia.  This is when quiet, obedient children is not a good thing.  Clearly Wendy was overwhelmed but both of them had learned the hard way not to be the squeaky wheel.  As I was drying Wendy off, I noticed burn scars all over her. Noelia's little hand is scarred and she has to wear a tiny pressure glove 12 hrs a day.   I asked Wendy what happened and her quick reply was, "I did it.  Only me."   I left it at that but my heart ached for all the pain and trauma leading up to that rote response.  She put her new pajamas on and I put her to bed. We said our prayers and I sang her to sleep.

Noelia -Day 2
Wendy  - Day 2
Saturday, she and I woke up about the same time.  I motioned to her and she climbed into bed with me and we just snuggled for awhile.  Her hair was a mess, no telling how or when it had been cut so off we went to Sala de Belleza de Any's for a real haircut.  So precious.  I also had to make 2 more trips for medicine.  Noelia slept well and her diarrhea was beginning to improve.  She is a small 8 month old with 2 bottom teeth.  She couldn't sit up without help and would slump over to the side in the highchair.  She was very lethargic and stoic.  Only an occasional squeak from her.  Judith came by and she, Wendy, and I went to see Rio at the movie theater.   It is a cute movie and I heard an occasional giggle.  Music to my ears.   After the movie and dinner, I introduced Wendy to the bathtub.  She was very tentative about getting in and then WOW!   We actually have a big jacuzzi bathtub in the big bedroom so it is Wendy-sized!  She had a blast! Sang her to sleep again.  Very sweet.

This morning we were getting ready for church when the doorbell rang.  It was Yisa, the young woman from my last post.  She was in a panic, desperate.  I finally figured out her 2 yr old son, Hector, was having surgery today at 2 because the infection around the colostomy was so bad.  She needed 300 lempira ($15) for something and, clearly from her frantic sobs, it was for something crucial for the surgery.  Remember, he is in the hospital that doesn't provide nursing care, medications or equipment for their patients.  Mari says they don't even provide food for them.  We calmed her down, gave her some food and water to take with her and, of course, the money.  I am hoping I can visit him tomorrow. Please keep him in your prayers.

Wendy and Noelia - Day 3
So off to church for a great Palm Sunday service.  Wendy had a chance to meet the children and see where she and Noelia will be living.  The kids were great, very welcoming.  Our afternoon and evening have been just like any normal(ish) family.   Wendy played with Noelia, I went to the grocery store and to get more medicine.  Now the girls are like two completely different children.  I brought Wendy a jump rope which she received with a squeal of delight.  Noelia got a set of blocks which she immediately started jamming in her mouth.  She is sitting up, crawling, and even stood up for about 3 seconds!  She will be walking before you know it!  She babbles and smiles, Wendy chatters away and is ready with a huge smile made cuter by the missing two front teeth!  She is sleeping in the bed next to mine now, such a precious angel.  I know it will be hard for me to send the girls to the Children's Home.  My heart aches for the children left behind at INHFA.

So this is how it works here.  From day to day, you never know what is going to happen.  I am so thankful for LAMB and the wonderful staff we have who make such a difference in these children's lives.  If only we could take them all.. Pray for the ones we don't have.

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