Saturday, September 3, 2011
When this summer began I knew it would be a time of refreshing for Alex and I - for us to spend time together, finish some projects around the house, and begin to become integrated into a new ministry. Before school ended in June I met a tiny little baby who had been born with the same skin condition that Alex has, Ichthyosis Lamellar, and at first it seemed that he needed a home but when I went to seem him and his family in the hospital they had been convinced to take him home.
Sadly, this is a regular occurrence in this hospital - staff having to convince mothers and fathers to take their children home.
So I gave as much advice as I could, and left the situation up to the Lord. Alex and I did have a wonderful summer - busier than I had originally thought it would be, but life happens whether you are sitting back watching it or taking part! We attended a house build dedication, and while we were there the pastor of our church spoke a word from the Lord to me that was such an encouragement! Proverbs 15:23 says “A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word!” Well, this word could not have been more timely, he said to me (roughly translated); “Sister, God can see your heart, He loves your heart for Him, and He has a special plan for your life. You are going to do something special, but right now you are in a time of waiting. He has a plan for you, but right now what you need to do is wait in Him.”
Now this is a man who is a pastor of a large church, and therefore really does not know me personally, or even know what it is that I do, or that I was even in a time of transition. What a blessing! What a confirmation! It was difficult to be in this position until that point - I was constantly reading in the Word about waiting in, and on, the Lord, but that guilt of not doing enough or being enough was always there at the back of my mind. This word chased all of that guilt away and allowed me to spend the rest of the summer with my sweet Alex. Not waiting in the sense of sitting and doing nothing, but waiting with expectation, with excitement, and while being in communion with the saints and doing what I knew was right. Working on projects around the house, spending time with our dear Minerva, teaching a bible / english class to some kids of various ages that a friend asked me to take over while she was gone, and getting to know everyone involved in the Erma Fennell Foundation.
The older that Alex gets the more I realize that God has a real plan for his life, and how much he could be used to the glory of God! He has such a soft, sweet heart, such a fun happy personality, and he is so smart. Now please realize that in some of the indigenous cultures here a boy like him would normally be hidden somewhere in a back room. He would be a reason for shame, would make parents wonder what they had done wrong for this to happen to one of their children, and at best might receive some education, but always be at the end of the line within his own family. Survival of the fittest, basically. These are the people that are shocked to see us in grocery stores, in the park, in the bank, or any public place. These are the people who stare, not in a kind way, and I cannot help but wonder what they are thinking.
Imagine what God can do through one of these kids who their society would cast off! What a witness, what a testimony, what a joy. This is what I see when I look into those deep, soulful dark eyes of the first baby I ever loved as my own. The thought quickens my heart and makes me reevaluate every day what we spend our time on, what I am teaching him in word and in deed, and how I am showing him to love the Lord our God, and how to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Sometime during the summer Alex began to ask questions, such as, why don’t we have a baby mom? Don’t you want a baby? Can we have one? Questions that are not complicated yet sometimes are a struggle to answer to a 6 year old who is on a need-to-know basis. He brought up this subject periodically, asking where ‘the baby’ could sleep, if he could sleep in his room, what would the baby eat, etc. I thought it all very sweet and innocent and we talked about our imaginary baby because it made Alex happy.
And then about three weeks ago I had a phone call from sister Elia, who lives in Zapata and does a lot of ministry with women and children, specifically those who speak Mixteco. She said that she knew a lady who had a baby with a skin disorder that looked like what Alex had, and that he was about two months old, and could I come and talk with her? I said no problem, I already know exactly who you are talking about.
Well a long story made longer, this baby’s momma had taken him home to their little one room shack where her husband and four other children live, on the same lot where her husband’s other wife and eight children live as well. Little Miguel was bundled up in his little flour-sack hammock, red with heat and wet through the blankets because they didn’t have enough diapers. He was not the first child that had been borne to her with this disorder, unfortunately the first never made it past 4 months old. She explained that she just could not care for him the way he needed, and was desperate for help. She spoke while Elia translated; how well I know the difficulty of living in a place where you do not know the language!
I took Miguel home the same day.
Now before you judge a woman for giving away her child, please consider the desperation that she must have to be able to do so. Think of how a hard and cruel life has hardened her to be able to leave her baby with a stranger without a second thought. I thought of her as an older woman, but when I read the hospital paperwork I realized that she is just 27 years old. She looked twice that.
I could thank God all day, every day for everything that I have, and it would never be enough. What grace, what mercy he has on us when we do nothing to deserve it.
This also made me think of this people, this culture, and how they must view us “gringos”. What do they think about what we do here? I am fairly sure most of these people don’t really care what we do, as long as they can get some rice and beans or clothing out of it. Or best case scenario, a house. Now I am not saying these are bad things, on the contrary, this is an excellent way to show them the love of Christ. But what if they don’t recognize it as such? What if they don’t really know what love is? I mean think about it - born into a large family, no individual attention, no affirmations, barely enough to survive, mom and dad gone working long hours in the day. These are not an emotional people. This mother did not shed a tear when she handed me her 2 month old son, did not hold him an extra second to try to memorize his face, nothing. A heart hardened by years of disappointment and struggle.
I am convinced this is where we can begin to change things, to not just accept everything as ‘cultural difference’, to be different, an example. This is where I believe these two little boys could come in and be such a light! What an awesome thought, what an awesome privilege I have in being able to raise them!
So Alex has ‘his’ baby, and I realize that this little 6 year old understands a lot more than I can ever give him credit for. And hears a lot more from the Lord than probably both of us realize. What a gift. He burst into tears of pure joy when we parked in front the pharmacy to buy a few necessities for our new little family member. I will never forget that moment.
So many changes! Alex turned 6 at the end of August, started first grade, and got a new little brother all within one week! So now we are three; we have a new family member and Miguel has a whole new world to figure out. It is easy to forget where he comes from until moments like just now, when I realized he has an incredible fear of mobiles, dangling toys or anything looming down from overhead. And why wouldn’t he? He spent the first two months of his life completely covered up every moment that he wasn’t being fed, whether in his little hammock to keep the flies off, or out in public on his mothers back. He is just learning to focus, to follow us with his eyes, to hear our voices, to drink from a bottle, to sleep in a bed. The third different formula I have tried seems to sit well with him and he is finally settling down; this morning he woke up so content and when I started feeding him his bottle he looked up at me and gave me the biggest smile I have seem from him so far.
What else can I add? My heart is full, His burden is light, His love endures forever!
Much love, Karen, Alex and little Miki ♥