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Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Father built a crib for Baby Deborah 46 years ago - she was born last week

I don't believe in coincidence, but every now and then I find myself shaking my head and wondering, “what are the chances of that and what does it mean?”.  I will try to explain how I experienced this in the past few days.

On May 23rd 2011 I posted a blog called “My Birthmother was 15-years old when I was born” ( and it has been the most read blog over the past nine months until this past week.  It’s my personal story of how my birth-mother got pregnant at the age of 15 years, but how God’s plans for my life were made even before she knew she was pregnant. El Roi (The God Who Sees) had the perfect family ready to adopt me and when I arrived in this world and Bernice and Russell Willis brought me in to their family to love and care for me as their only child.

On Tuesday, February 12th I felt compelled to write a mid-week post called “It’s Tuesday night: Newborn dumped, a baby dies and mother tries to commit suicide” ( and in only three days it surpassed the total number of reads of my May 23rd post.  It is the story of a tiny baby who arrived in this earth last week, unplanned and unwanted.  The premature baby was put in a plastic grocery bag, the top was tied and she was left under a tree to die.  But El Roi saw her there and His plans for her life were very different.

On February 13th, 2005 my dad, Russell Willis, passed away and to this day I miss him terribly. He was buried on February 17th, 2005 and for those of you who have lost a loved one you know that the days between the passing and the funeral are intense, emotional and look to God more than we might on another normal week.  This past week I have thought a lot about my dad as I remember his life and his love for my mom and me.

What am I talking about?

Yesterday, February 15th I had the privilege of bringing the little baby who was left in the bag under the tree home.  She has been named Deborah (from Judges 4) and she is a fighter.  She is only 1.9 KG (4.3 lbs) and has a nasty/angry wound on her backside so she requires much one-on-one care and a very clean environment to get her strong and healthy quickly.  Ian and I decided to bring her to our house, which is only a seven-minute walk from the El Roi Baby Home.  The Baby Home currently has 26 babies and we are short staffed so this seemed to be the most logical and practical solution to provide love and care for this little one. 

When we arrived home I was making a plan in my head of what I needed.  Of course Helen had things prepared for me to take to the house:  bottles, clothes, diapers (although we have to leave her diaper-less to have the wounds heal), towels etc.  Brooke came and helped attend to the wound and give Deborah her first round of oral antibiotics and then we had her alone. So tiny, so bruised and scratched and yet so perfectly made.

Then the question was where would she sleep?

When I was a little girl my dad, Russell, made me a crib for my baby dolls.  It stands about 24” high and is about 35” long – just perfect for a little girl and her babies.  I haven’t kept a lot of childhood stuff, but I remember deciding to keep that crib so that if I ever had a daughter that she would play with this special crib made by her Grandpa.  Chloe did play with it for many years.

When we moved to Swaziland the question was asked if we should ship the crib, especially now that Chloe was well past that age :).  The answer was yes, they can use it at El Roi when the babies are bigger.  Christmas 2012 I pulled the little crib out of our shipping container and had it in the living room when all the babies were up for Christmas dinner. I planned to send it back with Helen that night, but alas we had many babies and many things to move that night so the crib stayed.  It sat at the back door waiting to go to the Baby Home for weeks.  Finally it was moved in to Spencer’s room to get it out of the way. 

Ian's hand size compared to Baby Deborah's hand
Yesterday I used Spencer’s bathroom to get baby Deborah cleaned up and medicated (thank you for sharing Spencer :).  And when I turned around to bring her out to the living room, there was the little crib that my dad had made for me, literally 46 years ago in Northern Ontario, Canada.  And now it was with me in Swaziland, Africa so that a little baby who seemed to be unplanned and unwanted had her own perfect size bed.

Coincidence?   God’s perfect planning?  Either way, the thought brings me to tears as I see His hand on my life and the life of this little baby whom He has brought to us for such a time as this.  Take a look around. He has done things like this for you too. Don’t miss them or think they are just coincidence. I believe they are a part of a master plan and I am in awe of the Master Planner.

So glad Ian saw her holding on

Thank you all for your prayers and for those of you who have committed to financially supporting us on a monthly basis. Thank you for being a part of the story and the lives of so many lives who were planned and wanted, even when circumstances might have seen to be otherwise.

Live from Swaziland… I am enjoying watching a tiny baby sleep.



  1. What a wonderful story Janine. Bless you. xx (Janet - Sydney)

  2. After reading the previous post, I was soo happy to read that this baby was taken home, even for a litte while, to be loved.
    God Bless you and your family.
    Keeping you all in my prayers.

    Mrs White