The below stories were written on October 13, 2011 after Tiffany and I went to Haiti to present documents to a panel of organizations stating the need for IMMEDIATE intervention in the lives of the children living at Son of God Orphanage.
We just returned from another quick trip to the orphanage in Haiti last night. We arrived at the orphanage late Monday morning. It was obvious there were many sick kids (nothing new there). We were given permission by the directors to take some of the kids down the street to a medical clinic to have them checked out. We grabbed as many kids as we could carry and the ones that looked most desperate. We knew we needed to look for a little girl that is 5 years old and had been taken to the clinic just one month ago by one of our teams. Let me give you a little history on her story............................................
A precious 5 year girl, was in the worst condition they had ever seen. A couple of months ago she had mumps from head to toe, a month later she was in a body cast that covered her from her waist to her feet. When they found her last month she had an extremely high fever and like all of the other children – horrible skin conditions. She had lost most of her weight and she couldn’t even lift her head. After pleading with the "caretakers" of the orphanage they released her to let them take her to a local medical clinic.
The doctor at the clinic examined her and determined that she had infections that were destroying her, she was nearing death. He told them that if she doesn’t get proper care right away she will die of infections and malnutrition. He gave them a prescription and orders to give her a high protein drink and medicine 3 times a day for the next 2 weeks.
They were able to administer the medication for a few days, but they had to leave to come back to the United States. They left the medication with the "caretakers" of the orphanage and instructions, with hope but doubt that they would take care of her properly.
So it was very important for us to find her and get her checked again. We quickly found her and took her with us. While we waited in the waiting room for the Doctor, this little girl was silent and sat with her head down. Earlier before going to the clinic we had taught the kids that holding up your thumb, pointer finger and pinkie all at the same time meant, I love you! So as we were waiting, the other children with us were showing us with their little fingers and telling us in their broken English with their sweet little voices " I love you"
It was her turn to see the Doctor. I sat her in a chair and knelt down in front of her while the doctor started to take her temp and check her over. She sat still with her head down. I slowly reached out my hands for her to hold and she slowly grabbed both of my hands. At that moment she lifted her head and starred into my eyes (full of tears of course). The Doctor proceeded to tell me, she is not well......... he is very scared for her........ She needed to eat and she needed to be on a nutritional program. He wrote me a referral to send her to a place he knows of and asked me to try and get the directors at the orphanage to allow me to take her there. As I carried her out of the room, she put her three little fingers up and in the softest voice said "I love you". At that moment all the strength I had to keep it together was gone. I told her I loved her too and kissed her on the cheek. I knew the directors would not allow us to take her to the clinic. My options were limited...... Do I sneak her out and take her anyway? That is what I wanted to do but I knew the trouble I would get into for doing that.
I love you............... Had she ever heard those words before? Did she truly know what it meant to be loved? I pray that she knows we love her and we will continue to fight for her and all the kids at that orphanage!
As of today there are still no leads on what has happened with Katia. We are grieving the possibility that something happened to her. We shared her story in our meeting on Tuesday and told all of the organizations present that, "Katia is dying in their care".
- written by Tiffany Cherry, Welcome Child Global Orphan Ministry Leader
I have never seen or held someone whose life was so fragile and vulnerable. When the doctor at the clinic began to examine her, Tiffany was standing in front of her whispering words of love and encouragement and I was holding little Guerlande who would not let me out of her sight. I set Guerlande down on the bed beside Katia and got my camera out so that I could take pictures of the doctor examining Katia.
It is hard to describe the feeling of respect for life that filled the room at that moment. It was a moment of quiet awe of being in the presence of something so close to heaven. I think we all felt the presence of the Comforter right there in that room. While I positioned my camera to take a picture - a feeling of Katia's life being so fragile that it would be disrespectful washed over me and I couldn't take a picture.
Dear Sweet Katia - your gentle spirit will never be forgotten. We will keep fighting to find out where you are and fighting for the release of your friends who are at Son of God. Your pain has changed us forever. You are deeply loved.
-written by me - Kari Stewart, Welcome Child Director
It is hard to believe that almost one month has went by since this happened. God used that visit as a culmination of many visits and inquiries to open doors for the children to be removed from Son of God Orphanage. There is still much work to be done. We trust and commit the next steps that need to be taken to God.
Sweet Katia was never found and we have been told to presume that she has past away. While our hearts grieve, we know that she is healthy, whole and in the presence of her loving Heavenly Father.
Over the last year in this journey in orphan ministry I have learned that my heart truly does not belong to me. The brokenness that God allowed us to feel for these children was not a brokenness that left us hopeless or defeated. It propelled us to pray, fast, act, seek, listen and speak on their behalf. It has had a radical effect on our entire church.
He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you. But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
More to follow soon on how you can help!! :)