Thursday, February 17, 2011

Loving and Losing the Fragile Ones

Baby Nakolong was close to death
Even while composing yesterday's post I was thinking about how glad I am for the gifts and calling of others who lay down their lives to serve in ways I'm pretty sure I couldn't. Have been thinking a lot of my friend M. She moved to Uganda a few months back, along with her husband and their five children. I don't like to see America send so many Christian workers to the same dozen countries, so I approached the plan with reservations. But I've also seen God's hand in this one.

When I got to know M., not so long ago, they only had one child. But she had already made the switchover to seeing herself as a mother more than almost anything else - and when a U.S. adoption was quickly followed by the adoption of three siblings, I could see that throwing herself into motherhood was a very good thing. And now she's pregnant with number six, due in early April. Sometimes I'm fearful to see young women responsible for so many children but there's something to be said for diving in when you are young and strong!

Furthermore, what brought M.'s family to Uganda, was the opportunity to help care for other people's children - orphans. And one of the most significant experiences they have had to date was this month. M. explains: 
"A need was presented to us to help supply formula for a mother who was not producing milk. After learning more about the situation I thought it would be best to be able to look over the baby. The baby was brought to me and to my amazement I was looking at a baby that was close to death. Something I have never seen before, and honestly it is still hard to wrap my head around this all.

"I immediately made some homemade formula and started feeding the baby with an eye dropper. I fed her almost constantly for six hours and saw life coming back to her. We decided to take the baby during the night in order to feed her every hour. Every hour we saw her improve. However there is something else that seems abnormal. Her features, her feet, hands, etc. It was evident that were not just dealing with a preemie baby. With different resources it seems as though she may have Trisomy 18. I will not go into detail, but the bottom line is that they do not live past a year. So here I am holding a baby that probably will not live and the mother wants me to take care of her as she will not be able to. Not sure how to process it all, but it is not easy for me to deal with. She represents the 'least of these' to me." 
M. did everything she could to care for this little girl and saw her gain strength and come alive.
"I loved watching your personality transform, and hearing you make a noise for the first time. I relished how you gained enough strength to wrap your wee little fingers around mine. All your hair was adorable. I miss the way you would suck on the eye dropper and how you would inspect me and your surroundings with your baby eyes. How the last two days you started rooting around and trying to cry out when you were hungry..." 
But in the, Nakolong - whose name means 'sunshine' - only lived with them for five days before she died.

Would you be able to pour out your love on a three-pound infant like that? What would it do to you to give your all for a little one and then lose her? On the other hand what a difference it could make for that child and the community. In Letter to Nakolong, M. writes:
"I know fruit will come from this, and I see roots taking place already. I am planning to continue a relationship with your mom, and I would like to get to know her better. I went and visited her today. I need to learn the language so I can speak to her without a translator. If you get a chance tell Jesus I could use some help with language learning. :) "

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