Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thanks for praying..........

Thanks for praying.........
Werke was willing to travel with Nicco today to Addis to get the medical care that she needs. Here is a photo of her and Allo (a sibling of Tia and Garrett and you can read more about her from my blog on Aug 31, 2010 labeled Need.....) as they took the long 2 hour boat ride to the mainland this afternoon. They then traveled by car for 3 hours and so I am sure that they are tired and scared.
Werke will see a doctor tomorrow morning and so please pray that the doctor will quickly be able to know the extent of what her health situation is.
Thanks for thinking of our family- many of you have contacted us on how to help and for this we are so thankful!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I had more time today to think than I do on a usual day. David and I had to take a quick road trip and so we had several hours in the car both yesterday and today to talk, reflect and enjoy time together. Yesterday was full of talking about us and today we had a few things to talk about that we wish we didn't have to even think about.
We received word today that Tia and Garrett's birth mom is very ill. We were told early last week that she had typhoid but after being medically evaluated something more is going on.

I spoke to Nicco on the phone today and after having an ultrasound (not as modern as our ultrasounds) Werke has a large growth or tumor near one of her ovaries. This will need to be surgically removed in order for her to regain her health. She will need to leave from the island and travel to Addis to get the medical help that is needed. As Nicco was sharing me the information that he had gathered my heart was breaking for this lady that I have come to love- Here are a few of my thoughts:

Who will care for her?
Who will care for her six kids while she is away from the island having surgery?
How can she have surgery in a place where medical care is so poor?(a broken arm was unbelievably scary when it came to health care)
How will she ever be able to heal in an environment where she is expected to do so much to care for the basic needs of her family?
How long has she been so very ill without the opportunity to seek health care?
How scared must she be to know that they only hope to get better is surgery yet she has no money to get the help she needs?

My thoughts then went beyond Werke's health:

How does she live every day and night in her hut which is in the photo above? This photo is from last week and as you can see it is in need of much repair. When we visited her last summer we purchased an orange tarp to cover the roof until a new roof could be constructed. Obviously this has yet to happen and so her home is open to all of the outside elements. Below you can see where she and the kids sleep. Notice the water marks on the wall and the ground where the roof is not providing protection for them.

What does it feel like to be so ill and yet lay on the ground to rest and sleep? As I saw the photo last week of her sitting on her "bed" I was reminded yet again of the contrast between her life and mine. Each night as I crawl into my nice, fluffy, king size bed I forget that so many in our world are sleeping on the hard ground. To think of her in pain trying to get comfortable on the wet dirt floor of her hut makes my heart break.

Who is caring for the kids while she is not feeling well? David and I both noticed that Tia and Garrett's siblings didn't seem very happy in the photos taken last week. They were very happy and excited when we were there yet in the photos from last week they didn't seem very joyful. I am sure that they are each very scared. Welde (the oldest brother) and their older sisters remember when their father died and so I am sure that they are worried about their mom. Tia and Garrett often say that when people got sick on the island then people would be very afaid because when people would get sick they usually would die. This must be a very real thought for the six kids who are watching their mother progressively get more ill.

Here are a few thing that I know:

I would give up my bed, pack it up and overnight it to Werke if I could. I would sleep on the ground in her place right now if I could so that she could be comfortable in my bed while she is ill. How could I not?

I know that God wants to me to go and help care for Werke if/when she agrees to have surgery. A trip to Ethiopia may come very soon for me. This is overwhelming to me yet I know that today God clearly told me to go. How could I not?

Our family will find a way to provide for all of her medical expenses. I am not sure of how we will do this but how can we not?

I am going to be proactive the next few days finding the best care for Werke in Addis. If you happen to know of a great physician in Ethiopia please let me know. I do have a contact with a Hospice nurse in Addis and I hope to be able to contact her soon.

I know that these are all rambling thoughts and not very put together but this is where I find myself and my thoughts tonight. We are trying to protect Tia and Garrett from worrying about Werke and so each night we are praying for Werke to be healthy. We just ask that you join us in praying for her and not mention this to Tia and Garrett.

Pray specifically tonight that as we sleep that Werke would be willing to travel from the island with Nicco to get the treatment that she needs in Addis. I know that it will be scary for her and the unknown is great yet she needs to receive this medical care in order to regain her health. Praise God yet again that Nicco is willing to help us love on our extended family when we can't.

Below is a photo of Werke (sitting on her bed). I hope that God will remind you of your many blessings as you look at this photo and as you pray for her and her precious family.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A True Gift......

On Mother's day 2009, Megan gave me an amazing gift that I will never forget. She ordered a silver necklace that was the shape of Africa and on it was a tiny heart imprint over Ethiopia. She made it extra special by having Tizita and Geremew engraved on the back of the necklace for me. Megan knew how hard the wait had been on me while waiting to bring Tia and Garrett home and I know that she hoped that this gift would help me with the wait. I remember crying as I opened the necklace and when I put it on my neck I was determined to not take it off until our twins came home.

Fast forward to August of 2010. As we were climbing off of the boat and onto Zedachu island I started to think about the special gift that hung around my neck. I never in a million years wanted to hurt Megan's feelings but something deep inside me wanted the freedom to give this special gift to Werke (the twins birth mom) if I felt it appropriate while we were spending the day with her. After I climbed off of the boat I found Megan and started a conversation with her about the necklace that was so special to both of us. I wanted to know if she would be hurt if I felt led to leave it with Werke. Megan was excited about the idea of Werke sharing in this special gift.

We enjoyed our time on the island and as we were saying our goodbyes I quickly removed my necklace and gently placed it around Werke's neck. Tears were flowing down my face as I pointed out to her that Tizita and Geremew were engraved on the back. Nicco translated for me as I told her that this was a special gift that I wanted her to have. A gift to help her daily remember that Tizita and Geremew were being loved and cared for. I am so thankful that we had many friends all around taking photos and someone captured this special moment.

Fast forward again to last week. A family and friend from our church spent the day on the island in Ethiopia. Our friends were not expected on the island and when they arrived at Werke's hut they found her sleeping. She is ill with Typhoid that has been hard to treat from what I understand. (Please do not mention this to Tia and Garrett as we are protecting them from worry) She was able to get up and spend time enjoying photo book that we sent to her and enjoying the company of our friends. It was such a blessing to our family to know that our extended family there was feeling loved on and cared for one day last week.

Last night I was able to see a few photos that our friend took while on the island. As we looked at each photo I was amazed at the growth of each of Tia and Garrett's siblings and it was fun to see Werke enjoying the photo book that we made for her. As I continued to view the photos I got to one that literally took my breath away. It was a close up photo of the precious gift that my daughter had given me as it hung around Werke's neck last week. As I saw the engraved letters of my precious children's names I started to cry. The very gift that had brought me joy and comfort for months is now doing the very same thing to a special mom half way around the world.

Please join us in praying for Werke's health. We will continue to check in with her and send updates when we hear about her condition. It is my understanding that she was going to travel off of the island to seek medical help in the coming days.