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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sometimes you just have to break the rules.

We know that we can’t save every child, that’s a fact. So when we opened the El Roi Baby home we had to put in some “rules” that would guide what babies would be allowed to come to us.  We decided that we would only accept children under the age of 12-months who were placed with us through the Social Welfare department of Swaziland.  We decided that we would not knowingly accept disabled children because we didn’t have any expertise in that area and it would require a lot of specialized and one-on-one care, which we did not have funding for.  We also decided that we are a permanent placement home, and not a “half-way house” or temporary home for children.

We have made a few exceptions to the age rule, and have accepted children like Gabriel and Rose at 18-months as well as Jared and Junior at 2-years because of the extreme situation that they were in (and I am a softy).  We also know that 10% of our children have a long-term disability (discovered as they grew) and two are blind, and they are our children and will stay with us.

In November 2015, I was called by a Magistrate Judge (the ones who sign the court orders to place the children in our care) and he explained that there was an urgent case that he was asking for help with.

I made the 90-minute drive to Court and in front of the Judge sat a Grandmother with her 21-month old Granddaughter.  The child was clearly severely disabled, unable to move, challenged to swallow, and not very responsive.  After a short visit I explained that we have a policy about accepting disabled children, any why we have that policy.  The Grandmother burst in to tears and sobbed in front of us while she rocked the sweet little girl.

The Judge explained the complicated family situation, but the bottom line was that the husband of the Grandmother didn’t want the disabled child and was going to kill her and the child if she went home.  What was she to do?  What were we to do?

Khosie and I stepped out of the Judge’s Chambers and talked about it. Khosie reminded me that we could not properly care for the child, but we agreed that maybe we could help for a short time.  Sometimes you just have to break the rules. We agreed to take the child for 90-days while the family “cooled down” and worked on a plan for her care.  Social Welfare was involved and yesterday we were called to say that the little girl could be returned to her family. 

It was a bittersweet day for those who have loved and cared for her. The good news is that she is stronger, healthier and more stable than she was when she came to us.  We sent her with clothes, diapers and toys that would help the family care for her.  I am thankful for our amazing team of Aunties who love unconditionally, just the way Jesus does.

In other news, baby Shirley’s surgery went very well this week.  Sadly, they did have to amputate her index finger, but that was the best decision.  The reconstruction on her face lead the doctors to putting two VERY heavy casts on her arms so that she can’t touch her face.  Chris Cheek is, as I have said before, an angel and we pray for strength for her and joy and perfect healing for Shirley.

Monday we are launching a new campaign called #hopewins.  Please be sure to follow Heart for Africa on Facebook and/or Twitter as we will be posting a short story of HOPE every day for the month of February. Each story has been written by a Heart for Africa volunteer or staff member about the HOPE that they see in the eyes and stories of our children. 

Our focus for February, the month of love, is to increase our monthly donors who support the baby home.  We have 17 children who are not funded, and there are three other children who MAY come to us next week. We have to increase our monthly support in order to be able to say “yes” to the next children.  Can you help us today?

In the US: Click here
In Canada: Click here

Live from the Wilkerson’s kitchen table in Alpharetta, Georgia … #hopewins.


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