I mentioned before that I’ve had a number of people tell me, you should write down your story because it’s an absolutely amazing story.
First off, it’s humbling to hear that because I don’t see it that way. I’m just a dad with 5 kids, 2 of which happen to be from another country.
Secondly, if I can, by writing my story, encourage one more person to take one more step “outside their comfort zone” and make a difference in this world, then that’s worth it.
Starting next Saturday, every Saturday I’m going to post a small part of the story. It will take a long time to tell (this part of the story is over 10 years long) but it has been a very interesting and enriching ride.
I hope you’ll join me and share part of your story too.
While last week was an important week for Haiti and for those who care about Haiti (the 12th of January was four years since the quake), I want to share with you two special anniversaries that occurred this week. One of them is a 4 year anniversary and the other one is a 3 year anniversary.
At 3:00 PM today, Eastern Time, I was finally able to track down one of our adoptive Moms. This was a Wednesday afternoon and we had just gotten word that all of the US adoptive parents needed to be in Miami. Not some time, not in 4 days, but in 24 hours!
I got in touch with Jayne while she was in Toy’s R Us attempting to get the stuff she was going to need IF her little girl could come home sooner.
Let’s just say that when I got on the phone with Jayne, I think the entire store heard our conversation. She started screaming, crying, jumping up and down and just sort of, well, let’s just say it’s one of the most deeply moving and incredibly joy filled phone calls I’ve ever made. I consider it an honor to have been the one to tell her to get on a plane.
Wednesday, I’m going to post a LOT of pictures from the 4 year anniversary of that homecoming.
The second anniversary actually happened yesterday. 3 years ago yesterday, I got a message from Dixie. It went something like this, “Tom, I have a project I want you to work on – we have a 4 month old who is going to die if we don’t get her out of Haiti and get her heart surgery.”
Gulp. I had been on the job full time for less than 3 weeks and suddenly this little girl’s life was in my hands! The first thing I did was call my good friend Rebekah – she’s done a number of medical visas before and said, “I need you to help – I’ve never done this before!
We walked through it and began figuring out what it would take. To say she was a big help is an understatement.
I’m going to quote Lisa on the next part –
“3 years ago today, January 19, I received this email that changed our lives forever, “We’ve got an urgent situation with Sonia, a 4 month old who has been at GLA since she was 6 days old. The short story is that our pediatrician said she needs to get out of Haiti for medical treatment or she will probably not survive.”
I still remember getting an e-mail from this lady by the name of Lisa who was so insistent on helping Sonia. We talked, we e-mailed, we researched, she talked to hospitals, she talked to the senior pastor at her church, I talked to her senior pastor, we both talked to hospitals. Lab reports were translated and scanned, X-rays were taken and sent.
And throughout it all, countless people were praying for Sonia.
And little by little, the details started falling into place.
And then Lisa (and Al)’s senior pastor talked to a friend of his. Oh and that friend happened to be on the board at Miami Children’s Hospital.
God opened doors and a travel date was set for her to come to Miami on a Monday with surgery tentatively scheduled for later in the week.
The Saturday before that, I got a message from one of our nursing staff – “Tom, Sonia has a fever.”
Uh oh. But they decided to send her anyway – and it’s a good thing. She ended up spending 21 days in the hospital for a bone infection.
It’s an infection that would have killed her in Haiti.
Long story short, she had the surgery, it went well and she returned to GLA. Her host family became her adoptive family and she will soon be coming home permanently.
Oh and the icing on the cake? Since then, her adoptive parents have moved back to Michigan and I’m going to be able to meet them at the airport when they come home.
Here’s a picture of Sonia from when she first got sick and then one from earlier this month.
God is good. Life is not easy, nothing is easy, but God is good.
And I’m blessed to play a small role in making a difference for these kids.