|Happy 17th birthday Chloe!|
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Babies, children having babies, children caring for babies and another baby.
My brain is cramping tying to write this blog. It’s about babies and children having babies and children caring for babies and then more babies.
Yesterday, July 5th, was our daughter Chloe’s 17th birthday. Like many mothers I woke up remembering where I was 17 years ago, how excited I was, how expectant of the future for this unborn child and what the future might hold for her.
After I thought about that and enjoyed wonderful memories of the past I thought of another young woman who was in labor when I went to sleep the night before. I had taken her to the hospital the day before to be checked out and then subsequently induced because her baby was 2+ weeks overdue and she had been 2 cm dilated for nine days. Not an optimal situation. But this girl was not excited or expectant that way I had been with Chloe.
She had her first child at the age of 14-years after being raped by someone close to her. After that she was kicked out of her homestead and sent to live on the street because she was pregnant. A couple of years later a “sugar Daddy” set her up in an apartment and paid for basic needs. She got pregnant again and gave birth with her second at age 18-years. Then that man got married, but alas couldn’t stay away from her. Baby number three was coming to a 20-year old girl who has no education, no skills, no family (her mother died when she was five years old and her father denied paternity) and nowhere to turn. The man was no longer paying for anything because he was married. She sought help from the Social Welfare Department several months ago and that is when I first met her, the man AND his new wife. THAT was an “awkward” meeting, but that is also a blog for another day!
We have a summer intern named Audrey Wright with us this now. Audrey is helping me with some story writing and capturing information that needs to be recorded. Audrey was with me when we drove the young lady to the hospital on the morning of July 4th and it was Audrey who pointed out that the girl was wearing a T-shirt from North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA. It was a T-shirt that Chloe wore when she volunteered with “Upstreet”, which is a program designed for elementary school children. My teenage daughter was volunteering with young girls to help them know who Jesus is back in 2010 and now this young girl is wearing the T-shirt on her way to give birth on the same day that I was in labor 17-years ago with the girl who owned the T-shirt. That is why my brain is cramping. I gave that t-shirt to our “store” of used clothing for distribution a few weeks ago and then when I asked for a few things for this young girl, the T-shirt must have made it in to the bag. It was not planned, at least not by a human.
I am not trying to make this in to more than it is, but I will honestly say that I am in awe at the hand of God and how he weaves together threads to make the mosaic of our lives and then shines a light so that we don’t miss its beauty.
Chloe is in the US for a few weeks and is spending time with Spencer. I miss them both very much, but this week the Lord allowed me to be the surrogate mother for a girl who needed a mother, and sent a piece of Chloe to be with me, on the very day that I was bringing her in to the world 17 years ago.
While I am sitting writing this blog there is another little one sound asleep in our bedroom. His name is Caleb and he has the Chicken Pox so is in “isolation” at the Maxwell house for a week or so, so that we don’t have Chicken Pox with 34 babies and many Aunties who have never had it (the vaccine is unavailable here until 2014).
Caleb came to us when he was only 8-months old after his mother had died of AIDS and his father was very very sick. Caleb was sick too as he is HIV positive and has been on Anti-Retro Virals (ARV’s) since birth. People don’t die of AIDS they die of AIDS related illnesses and that could be anything from a common cold to pneumonia to Chicken Pox. So we are watching him closely and loving him to bits. Each morning at 7AM and each evening at 7PM EXACTLY he gets his ARV’s and it is a very haunting moment. To think that this baby would not be alive without these medications is not only sobering, but is a twice daily reminder of what our true mission is here in Swaziland.
Today I am thinking about my own babies (Spencer 19 and Chloe 17 – not really babies anymore) as they enjoy breakfast at IHOP in Georgia. I am thinking about the young girl who has been discharged from the hospital after 16 hours to go home to her 5-year old and 15-month old baby while her newborn, Daniel, is sleeping at the El Roi Baby Home. And I am thinking about little Caleb who is fast asleep, dreaming of chasing our chickens and then enjoying lunch (and maybe a little ice cream … shhhh, don’t tell the Aunties!) and then maybe another nap.
The song playing on my iPod right now is singing, “You are great. You do miracles so great. There is no one else like you.” It brings tears to my eyes.
Thank you Jesus for calling us to this ministry and for pursuing us until we said YES. I would hate to have missed this week.
Live from Swaziland … Happy birthday Chloe. I love you. xoxo