Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Number 26

We (medical team) left the orphanage for the clinic at 815am. We traveled along the beautiful coastline just as we had for the past two days. When we arrived, Haitians were waiting patiently for clinic hours to begin. The first three hours were pretty routine; Dr. Jim, Dr. Randy, Dr. Henry and Dr. Kenner (Haitian doctors) seeing patients, Diane pulling teeth, and Mary and me filling prescriptions in the pharmacy. As I was filling a routine Tylenol prescription, Dr. Henry called me into the exam room. There sat a very young mother, with what looked like a newborn baby sleeping in her lap. As I looked closer, I realized this baby was seriously ill. Dr. Henry explained that the baby was born about 18 days ago and had not been eating. The mother had informed him that she was having problems producing milk and did not have enough money for formula, so she walked two hours to the clinic to have the baby examined. The baby had not been fed since birth, 18 days.

Dr. Henry and Dr. Kenner immediately went in search of formula. The clinic had three cans in storage, and two were expired. We took the one and only can of formula and mixed a few ounces to feed this precious little boy.

With a syringe in hand, I began to feed the lethargic newborn. At first, he had no interest in eating this foreign tasting milk. But after a few minutes, he was eating like a professional. He took the first syringe rather quickly, but slowed down when feeding him the second syringe. His little belly was not equipped for large amounts of formula.

As I was feeding this little one, the weight of this situation fell upon me. This baby's mother walked two hours to see us! She loved her baby so much, she knew if she didn't, he would starve to death. It was at this point I began to cry. I cried and I prayed to watch over this baby and help him grow, help him survive. I noticed Laura standing beside me at that moment and her sweet smile made me cry even harder. I told her his story and she knelt down and prayed with me, the mother, and the baby. We cried together, we fed the baby together, we continued to pray together.

In the meantime, Dr. Kenner had made a phone call to Tina. He had arranged for the baby and mother to return to Jacmel with the medical team where he would be fed and cared for at Miss Tina's orphanage. We finished our final tasks in the clinic and Diane, Mary, the baby's mother, and myself piled into Dr. Kenner's vehicle for the bumpy ride back to Jacmel.

Forty-five minutes later, we were pulling onto Miss Tina's property. The construction crew and Chuck opened the gate and  welcomed us with open arms. We showed Miss Tina the beautiful new addition to her family, whom she had already named Josiah, and whisked him away upstairs to feed him a bottle and bathe him. While Diane and I were feeding and bathing Josiah, Tina was speaking with Josiah's mother. His mother explained to Tina that she could not care for him and her other two children at home anymore. She had no money and her husband had died in the cholera epidemic right before Josiah was born. She knew with no milk production and no money, her baby would starve to death. Previously, she had tried to give him to another orphanage, but they refused because they had no room. The two hour walk to our medical clinic was her last resort. The mother willingly gave baby Josiah to Tina, and Tina in turn sent the mother home with food for the other two children. The mother so grateful, cried and thanked Tina multiple times.

Josiah is now sleeping, with a full belly and clean diaper, ready for our evening devotion. Another wonderful addition to Miss Tina's family. A precious gift from God. "Number 26".

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