Monday, August 4, 2014

An Unexpected Journey: Part Two

The next morning our in country coordinator W picked us up and we took the long, bumpy ride to the hospital. It was really more of a "clinic" I guess. This was one of the hardest days of my life. If ever I forgot that I was in a third world country, in our air conditioned hotel room, sipping a coke and or eating a slice of pizza, here I was reminded that we were not in Kansas anymore. Here, I held down my hysterically screaming baby boy who was just beginning to trust me, his mommy, but also a perfect stranger, while other strangers did very unpleasant things to him. It was all medically necessary, but no less traumatic. At times we would have to stop, to wait for the electricity to come on again so that we could get another xray, from another angle, and then another... there were seven, I think. In between each scan we had to pick J up, shake him (like a soda can), turn him to another side, pin his arms and legs to the table, they would take the x ray, and repeat. Seven. Times. At one point, W saw the tears streaming down my face, and relieved me. "You go. Its ok." God bless that man. After four hours of this, we were headed back to the hotel. Jerome refused eye contact. Not exactly the bonding exercise that Karyn Purvis would recommend, I don't think. Eventually, he forgave us.

The next day, all of the fluid injected in his tiny body came out, and J finally got a little relief.

Our hotel reservation was only for 7 days, so we had to switch hotels at the last minute. We found another safe place to call home while we waited for the test results to come in. Another family in country filing their paperwork at the same time was staying there, so we got to spend some time getting to know them and their precious twin boys. I'm so thankful that God is in the details. In meeting this family we not only found a safe and affordable place to stay, but we learned that our boys had so much in common. I can't wait to see them again. Jerome will grow up with several buddies that share a common bond, and that is a priceless gift. We renewed our visas, and told the folks back home what was happening and that we would be delayed. We had to find a way to get Jerome into care somewhere else. We would never send him back to where he was.

We began treatment for parasites, just in case this was causing or contributing to the issue. It did help to clean out his system. A few days later, the doctor came with the results, they were not what we expected. In fact, they were not even anything we had ever heard of. The diagnosis was not an extra long lower intestine, but Hirschprung's disease. A rare congenital deformity that is invariably FATAL if left untreated. Treatment, was surgery, a surgery that his doctor (who works in the most advanced hospital in this country) would not advise be done here. It was not that they do not have skilled surgeons, but that this surgery would be more likely a series of surgeries, a colostomy, and too much risk of infection. J was too little, and the environment and tools available would be too risky. Again, he stressed that we must take Jerome home. Again, these poor guys had to sit and watch mommy lose it. I just started bawling there in the hotel room. "Don't cry. It will be ok. Don't cry." The doctor, and our coordinator, are two of the most genuine and good hearted men I have met. I could see they were trying to keep themselves composed. I know in hard places like this, a doctor sees more heartache than most,  but the love of a mother for her son that is hurting, was enough to choke him up a little. He patted my back as I stared at Jerome, sitting up now, happily on the floor of our hotel room. The world stopped spinning and all I could hear was my own heart, pulsing in my ears and my thoughts began to race. "How could this be? Where are we and what is happening? 7 days of TLC and filing some paperwork. That was the reason for this trip. What on earth is happening right now?  My baby needs surgery to live, and he can't have it here, and he can't have it at home because they won't let him come home. Maybe they will let him go somewhere else, like South Africa to have it. What about that mercy ship thing I read about? Oh God... what are we going to do..." I asked our coordinator if he thought that the authorities would allow J to come home, given the circumstances. He said other families have tried, without success. He had heard of one child going home for surgery during the suspension, but it was a long shot. It was known that they would only listen to the Ambassador himself, and were not interested in speaking with anyone in a lower position. He tried to be encouraging, saying there is always hope, but he made sure to stay realistic and not make any promises or get our hopes up too high. That night, we wept and held our boy as close as he would allow. We begged God for his life. We pleaded to Him for more time with our boy. We needed a miracle.

After extending our stay a couple of more weeks, Richard had to return to the states to care for our other children. They were hurting and scared, work was suffering, and our support system back home was stretched. I would remain in country with Jerome, until we could all be together again. The decision was made that one or both of us would always be with J no matter what. It was clear that he just needed more than he could get without us, and we were told, as we knew, that he was lucky to have survived this long with such a condition left untreated. We would have to move again. This time prepared for an extended stay, J and I moved into an apartment with two other mothers and their little ones. They both came many months ago at the end of their adoption processes, believing they were bringing their children home, and then were denied exit letters as the suspension went into full affect.


  1. Just cannot imagine what you've been through. Your momma love is fierce and I am just in awe of your strength. Love you!!

    1. Well, I could say the same thing about you! Love you too. :)