Last week I put a prayer request on Facebook for our sweet Deli. Well, we have been on a roller coaster ride with this sweet little thing lately. Actually, more like her whole life. But as it should be, she is oblivious.
She is the prettiest, sweetest little thing you have ever seen! She was diagnosed with Rickets, due to lack of prenatal care, at about three months old. Rickets is a vitamin deficiency that affects bone development, often causing curvature of the legs, a sort of bow-legged look.
She is now a happy, healthy little girl. She will have some long-term effects, but they will be minimal and are not likely to affect her daily life in a significant way. She is just absolutely perfect!
Deli came to us in a sensitive situation. We have worked tirelessly with the family to determine and do what is best is for little Deli. Our general preference is to reintegrate a baby with their biological family if at all possible. In this case, we have adamantly felt that her biological family was not the best for this baby. We have involved and consulted the Children’s Department, the courts, and lawyers, and it always comes to the same conclusion: the family, especially the mother, will always be given precedence.
At one point, the mother was willing to sign over her rights for Deli to be adopted. It turned out that that was just one high point on our roller coaster ride before plummeting again and sending us on a few more loops. When we realized that our efforts to have family’s rights terminated and/or Deli freed for adoption were futile, we began the dreadful task of preparing to return Deli to her biological family. We began pressing the family to come visit and begin developing a relationship with their daughter/granddaughter. Each time they came, or when we visited them, we were told that they “weren’t ready” for her to come home with them. Still, we knew that was to be the end result, unless we just keep Deli indefinitely.
But then, the hard part…doing it. We could delay and just keep her with as long as we could, or until the family said they were ready to take her back. But is that really what is best for this sweet girl? The longer she stays in our environment, the older she gets, the harder the transition will be. She would deal with so many differences that the family would likely not make the effort to transition or adjust. For example, we use filtered water at the baby house. She would be very prone to contracting illness through unfiltered, unsafe water. Our babies’ food is cooked in the kitchen and the babies are not around the hot stoves and jikos (similar to charcoal camping stoves on the ground). Babies here learn from a young age to avoid the jikos; Deli was never taught about that. There are countless more adjustments Deli would be making in her new environment. The longer we waited, the harder it would be for her to make the transition from our home to their home.
We prayed. We prayed hard. We prayed for a miracle. We prayed for protection for Deli, for acceptance from her family and community, for her to know and feel that she is loved, not abandoned. And then we said goodbye. And then we waited for a miracle.
When our social worker arrived and found that the grandmother was not home, a woman “happened” to pass by and ask who she was looking for. This woman “happened” to know that the grandmother would be working in the shamba (garden) nearby. Our social worker and the woman began talking as they walked and the woman “happened” to know and be well aware of the situation of the family and Deli. She agreed that the home placement was NOT a safe environment for Deli. They found the grandmother and the woman began telling her that she simply could NOT bring this baby back into the community and into her home.
And then, the miracle came together…..this woman “happened” to be the village elder! This woman had the right and the authority to make things happen! And what great thing did she make happen??? Well, she convinced Deli’s mother and grandmother sign to release Deli for adoption! Exactly one year from when we first went with the mother to sign over her rights, she finally does so! Now, we wait for six weeks for her to reconfirm her decision. Again, the village elder said that she would see to it that they will be there to complete the process.
We saw a miracle last week. And what better blessing than to know that God has each and every little baby in His hand and will see to it that His great plan is accomplished in their lives. Deli is proof of that!