We have had more delays since we last posted, and it can be frustrating. If I even tried to describe the reasons for our delay, you wouldn’t believe it. I described in a previous post some of the reasons it is important that we get to Madagascar. Sailing is so much rockier than I anticipated. They have to secure everything, which makes it impossible to have the hospital set up until we arrive in Madagascar.
Think for a second about your most frustrating experience with health care. Whether it be not being able to get an appointment, waiting forever at the office, not having insurance cover a needed treatment, or worse… much worse. Not getting the treatment needed or the treatment not working. Health care is stressful, even when it goes well.
Now imagine having NO healthcare. And having your baby have a tumor the size of a cantaloupe on his face. You have no where to go, and if you did, you certainly don’t have insurance to cover a dime of it. Then, one day you are given hope. You walk many miles with your child (have you walked with a tired child anywhere?) to pursue this hope. They tell you they THINK they can help, but you have to come back to see the surgeon in 5 weeks. So you wait, and count the sun going up and down to make sure you get there on the right day, and you walk again with your child. If you are lucky enough to have a job, you have to not work during this time and there is no such thing as PTO or sick days. But you finally have hope for your baby. You get there and there is no white ship, no doctors. Did the people just lie to you, is this a cruel joke? And the people at the port say they are late, and not sure when or if the white ship will come. Hope, crushed.
Knowing this may be the reality for many patients, my heart is breaking. Mercy Ships exists to follow the 2000 year old model of Jesus bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor. But now, for those people their hope is crushed. But, we, helpless on this ship, sing “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty who was and is and is to come.” I’m sure my non christian friends think this is ludicrous. I stand in tears asking God why wouldn’t he just help us arrive and take away the delays? Maybe he wants us to provide hope and healing to people along the way, along these delays. But what about those people waiting in Madagascar? I can keep going and going. But, then I breathe. And remember he knows better than I. I remember a little boy that I love dearly. Not sure if I have shared the details of this story, but it is what I go back to when my faith shakes.
Our boy, we call him brother. He was our foster son for 2 years, and will always be a part of our family, along with his older sister. He not only faced a great deal of trauma, but also had autism. His life was hard, and consistency was the only thing I knew he needed. I honestly knew nothing else about autism. DHS had told me, he would be going back to his bio mom shortly after some paperwork was completed. So, as school started I asked the school system to allow the children to go to the school where bio mom lived. In my mind, this would allow the kids to have some sort of consistency when they transitioned back to bio mom. Are you following?
The school principal agreed to let sister into her school, but because of brother’s IEP and funding, he had to go to school in my district until he transitioned to bio mom’s house. WHAT? This was absurd to me. If anyone needed consistency, it was brother. He needed his routine like he needed water to drink. I was angry at that principal, I even said things I regret to her. I was angry at God. He could have made her accept him. Ugh, my blood boils even typing this, remembering how mad I was.
They did go back to bio mom after brother attended a school in my district for a couple months. Then, he had to transition… again. Then, he came back to us several times. As I think about ALL the transitions he made, I can’t believe he did as well as he did. I remember texting friends, “I’m going to get the kids again.” Fast forward a year, they were still with us. Are you following? I promise it’s worth it.
Brother and sister had made a ton of progress, but we knew we weren’t their forever family, and the courts had decided to move towards terminating bio mom’s rights. I wasn’t going to give up on them and kept praying God would bring their forever parents. The caseworker told me if I didn’t put them in the shelter he wouldn’t be on a priority list, and he would probably be put in a group home. Ummm, no. Not an option.
Finally, one day my good friend, Lori, said her daughter’s teacher, (who specializes in autism) was interested in adopting. She and her husband just stopped by to meet us. She looked at brother and recognized him! Where from? That school that I kicked and screamed about him attending. God was right there all along. Because the teacher had a previous relationship with brother, their process was much faster. AND, during that same time Mercy Ships had emailed Brian to see if he could come in November and if I could come with him, that there was a possibility they would need an anesthesia supervisor. If brother had not attended that school, I would have still had 5 kids and not been able to go with Brian in November. Does that make any sense?
So, as I think about those patients waiting in Madagascar, not knowing if they will get their surgery, I stand knowing God is right there with them, even when our white ship isn’t. God, you are almighty. You can heal them with or without a ship and I ask you to show up to those patients waiting, to their families standing beside them. To the team who has worked countless hours to schedule surgeries that will now be changed. And, please God, continue to show up in brother’s life. Comfort and carry him, his sister, and his new mom and dad. Thank you, Father.