I am realizing now that it had been long enough since I stopped writing here, that I had not shared about TheThe. If you remember, we were hoping to adopt two children, and after the lost referral of Junior and Marie, there were a few other disappointments with close referrals that just didn't work out. But then one day, we heard about a little girl named TheThe. TheThe had some unidentified special needs. We never really set out to adopt children with special needs, although it was something we had talked about we were not confident that we were those people. The ones that were strong enough, or brave enough, or selfless enough. But through the process we came to understand that these children, the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, had little hope of finding their forever families. We though about how with our biological children there were certainly no guarantees of perfect health and a long life, yet we never in a million years would have considered terminating a pregnancy if we found out our baby was sick. We wouldn't be able to say that it wasn't what we signed up for, because when you take the risk of parenting, it is exactly what you sign up for. You sign up for uncertainty, and inevitable heart ache. You sign up for your heart to ever exist outside of yourself, and the same is true of adoption. So when we heard about this little one and her situation, we knew with all of our hearts that we should say "YES" to her. This two year old little sweetheart stole our hearts the first time we saw her face. The most beautiful little girl, with the biggest, saddest eyes. She suffered from a spinal condition, thought to be from advanced TB, but would need testing in a bigger city to be sure. She was in chronic pain, especially at night, and it hurt her to stand. Our hearts were completely broken for her, and we longed to hold her and comfort her. The idea of this little one crying out in pain at night was too much.
The good news, was that there was a possibility that we would get to meet her while we were in country. Although we were just beginning her adoption process, she was to be moved to the capital to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment, and we were told they were moving her right away. Before we left for our trip, I got a phone call on a Monday, saying she was going to be at the hospital in the capital city by Thursday! We were so excited she was finally going to get the care her little body desperately needed, and that she would be there waiting for us when we flew in to visit Jerome and file our I600. We were also going to attend court for her adoption! It was all very exciting and overwhelming. Our little missing piece was finally coming together. Thursday came and went, however, and TheThe remained at the orphanage. She was not moved and we didn't know why. It was mentioned that another adoption case was having problems, and attentions were focused there at the moment. Another week went by and nothing. Time went on and as we prepared for travel, we packed dolls and dresses for our girl, just in case. We were told that the possibility that she would be there when we arrived, or at least during our stay was very high. She was a top priority. She was still in pain and needed treatment soon.
To make a long and sad story short, TheThe never was moved to the hospital. After we received the grim diagnosis for Jerome, we met with our agency's director and owner to discuss his care, and her care. There were some big questions to be answered concerning the attention and quality of care our children were receiving. At the end of this conversation, as I held my weak and feverish little boy in my arms, the following words were spoken to us. "I almost forgot to tell you. TheThe has passed away. She died of malaria. I'm sorry." Words would not come easily. They still don't. A daughter waits in heaven, no doubt in the loving arms of her mother. Where there is no death or pain, and that is our only solace.
Richard had to break this news to the kids at home without me. They had to grieve without the comfort of their mother's arms. When he came home, Bella greeted him right away with a drawing of "girls day." Bella, mommy, and TheThe. Once again our little girl's heart would be broken as she learned that yet another sister in her heart, would never hold her hand here on earth. We will probably never understand this, but we know that her death was not in vain. We may never know the full impact that her life had here on earth, but we do know the difference she made in our lives. It is real and significant and her story will always be a part of our story, including the shaping of our family. One day, another daughter will eventually join our family, and TheThe will be a part of her story too. We love and miss you, TheThe.