Thursday, July 28, 2016

Interview with Mercy

Bryan, Faith, and Elijah are in Jo-burg today bringing home Bryan's sister and brother-in-law. Polita and Nthabeleng were not allowed to come to BG today cause the BG kids are on school holidays and we were asked not to bring them until a year after adoption, so.... I brought Mercy to work today. As we drove into the gate she sighed and said, "Ahhhhhh home sweet home!" Watching her come on campus and go from kid to kid or staff to staff, it is so heartwarming. She loves them all so much, and they genuinely love her so much too. Anyway, I thought since she is here, I can interview her for a blog post.
This picture was taken at Mercy's medieval birthday party last Sunday.

Me "Mercy, how do you feel coming back to BG today?"
Mercy, "It is lovely and it is my home. I will always miss it, and I will miss all the staff. I will also miss the tree I used to climb all the time, but I will miss the kids and staff most."

Me "What is one of your favorite memories with a staff member?"
Mercy, "I have two. One was with my friend Thato, and we were eating mulberries. We liked to see the faces the staff made when they ate the unripe mulberries we shared with them. I also enjoy painting her nails and she enjoys it too. Me and Thato have a lot of fun and we are great friends. Another memory was when Ntate Francis told me there were sharks in the water tank. He pretended to go inside the tank, and I screamed all the way home thinking that there really were sharks in the water tank. Now I know that there really are no sharks, but I was 3 or 4 at the time."

Me "What is a favorite memory of Beautiful Gate?"
Mercy, "I enjoyed collecting tadpoles from the middle pond (by the way there are 3 ponds) and climbing the big tree."

Me "If someone wanted to come and visit BG, what would you say to encourage them to come?"
Mercy, "BG is the most wonderful place. You get to play with orphans whenever you want. You get to hear birds sing in the morning. It is so beautiful here so please come."

Me "Anything else you want to say today?"
Mercy, "My family has been a little bit harder since we adopted, but I am happy that we adopted. I have two little, wonderful, sisters and I love them with all of my heart. I love my mom, dad and siblings with all of my heart. My aunt and uncle are coming today and I am really excited. Love, Mercy"

By the way, this little cutie just celebrated her 9th birthday!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Really Good Day

I cannot really put everything into words, but today was one of the best days I have had in several months. I think it is a combination of so many things really. Yesterday, we decided to adopt a dog, a great dane named Bali, from one of our good friends. Her daughter is terrified of dogs, and she tried having a dog for protection from robberies, but she was robbed even with the dog. She decided to make life easier for her daughter by adopting out her dog (please pray for her cause she has been robbed 6 times in 7 months and it is exhausting and scary). All that being said, I am not happy about her loss, but getting a dog has been the dream of my 3 oldest kids for years and they had even convinced Polita and Nthabeleng that we should get a dog when we move back to America. Imagine their incredible joy when I surprised them all with a dog, now instead of when we move. They were so happy and spent tons of time outside with her today.

Then I got to sneak over to BG for 2 hours today so I could see one of my absolute favorite friends (Meredith) who is with a team for the next few weeks. We had a really nice conversation - despite the interruptions of my cute kids. I was able to share some deep feelings I have been working through with a friend who has known me for 18 years. It was pretty incredible and I thank God for that gift. Since I wasn't really supposed to have Polita and Nthabeleng there, I decided to take them out on a date to Spur while the rest of the family remained with the team and had dinner together.

Anyone who knows the BG kids, knows that they same the same prayer at every meal. Polita and Nthabeleng have been praying that same prayer every time they pray for the 51/2 months they have lived with us. Today at Spur, Polita prayed the most amazing prayer ever. She prayed for Kim, our friend who was robbed, for Bryan, Elijah, Faith and Mercy to have a good dinner and to get home safely and for us also to get home safely after we ate. I literally just started at her for a minute and then gave her a huge high five. Normally she says, "Father we thank you for the food, in Jesus name, Amen" Wow, so cool that she has been listening to the rest of us praying and that she is feeling comfortable enough to try her own prayer. The 3 of us had such a nice dinner full of smiles and laughter and I just stopped, thought about my life, and thought, "wow, I am so incredibly blessed."

There are many days that don't turn out perfect, but days like today make up for some of those bad days. Days where I can soak up the joy my kids have, and feel such peace that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am doing exactly what I was meant to do, raising up 5 absolutely fantastic kids to know and love the Lord and to love each other.

I will leave you with something that really touched my heart. As we left the restaurant, we had decided to take a balloon home for Faith and Elijah because Mercy, Polita and Nthabe already had ones at home. When I got home, Bali was a little too excited to see us and the bumped Polita into a tree and the balloon popped. Polita started sobbing. I asked if she was hurt and she said no, she was just sad because she really wanted to give Faith something special. Wow, what a beautiful moment. Almost 6 months of being sisters and she wanted to be thoughtful and it broke her heart that her plan failed. Nthabe made sure Eli knew to share his balloon and all ended well. Adoption is a really big adjustment, but moments like this let me know that we defiantly made the right choice.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Waiting in pain

5 1/2 years later and medical apathy is still one of the most frustrating things about living here. I honestly don't know how most people are still alive in Lesotho. We had a child who was struggling to breath on Saturday so I had to make the call whether we take the child to the government hospital or the private hospital (government one is free for kids in care centers, private is not). Thinking of what I would want for my own kid in that situation, I went to the private one where the wait is usually minimal. After a short time the child was on oxygen and getting medical help, and another hour later, the child was admitted. I got back to BG and there was another child who was having some pretty bad symptoms, but not immediately life threatening, so I took that child to the government hospital. We waited for a couple hours just to be seen by the triage doctor. Then a couple hours for an x-ray and admission. I thought to the first child and really began to think that had we not taken them to the private hospital, the child may have died. Waiting several hours could be the difference between life and death, and every time I am in this situation, my heart is sad. Most people in Lesotho can't afford the private hospital. I was informed by the nurse that the oxygen alone was going to be M8 a minute which is M480 an hour. Many people make less that M1000 per month so they could never afford to give their kid private health care.

The amount of pain and suffering I witnessed in my 5 hours in the government emergency room was really heartbreaking. The blood, the moaning, the seizures, the coughing, the crying, and so much more. Seeing people in their deepest hour of need and knowing that they were going to be suffering for many more hours, it just hurts. Everyone waiting for their turn no matter the depth of their pain. What I do know is that the Basotho are a very strong group of people, to suffer as they do, and yet they still praise God. To walk through that kind of pain must force them to lean closer to God. I am grateful for the health we have been fortunate enough to have, and I am reminded to pray more faithfully for those who are hurting in Lesotho. Please pray for our 2 kids who are in the hospital and for the people who are providing their health care. Pray for the health care professionals to see their patients as people who desperately need their care, and not as a bother.