Wednesday, September 10, 2014

sometimes it's not all rainbows and butterflies

I have told you about Lydia, and her sweet baby brother. They are precious, I love them.

I have told you about Steve, who is the eldest brother and the reason I met Lydia and baby brother.  I love him.

I fell in love with them the moment my eyes were exposed to their sweet little souls. I can't help it, I just look in their beautiful eyes and I am done, in love and forever holding them in my heart.

So this wipes me off my feet and punches me in my gut,

Steve died on Saturday, I just got the email today. I was sitting in a meeting, and there is was on my phone screen,  "Stephen died on Saturday"


just like that, "Stephen died on Saturday"

what is that, my heart on the floor being pounded into the smallest pieces and my brain running a sprinting marathon trying to understand it all.

He died, his precious little life ended, I don't know why, I don't know how and to that end may never really know.

In Zambia, you can die from a stomach ache, a toe infection, a run in with malaria, or any number of things that we could cure and live long healthy lives after in America.

My mind has gone all over the place on this, maybe it is the way the grieving process works. The "what ifs", "should have done this", "could have done that", "why didn't we", "HOW", "WHY", it's just a running loop of a bunch of thoughts that are simply speculations, wishes, and unexplained scenarios.

Steve died.

My heart is broken.

A while back, I came home from Zambia  and replaced my heart break of trying to have my own children with the love I have for these children. Loving these children has helped heal my heart after some really tough losses. This one hurts too, I can't get his hopeful little face out of my mind.

I wanted to save him, I wanted to make sure he was cared for. I have to believe that he is in a better place.

I had asked for your prayers, and I appreciate each of you who have reached out to help these kids. Tonight, I am asking you to pray for baby brother and mom. Mom has moved, we don't have baby brother in our custody. I need prayers we find mom and baby healthy.

keep in touch...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

updates and prayers...

Y'all, my cup overflows!

Baby Lydia is out of the hospital, she is living at Chelstone (our transitional housing for Tree of Life). She is eating and playing and enjoying LIFE! She is precious, I mean REALLY precious.

Today, an amazing family stepped up to sponsor her little brother, he will be moving in soon.

TWO lives incredibly changed and made new.  This is wonderful news. Thank you for all of your kind words and help passing the message of my sweet babies along to others to help find a way to save them.

As I sit here with pure joy in my heart, I also feel the pain of knowing that Steven (the older brother) is still living in the same situation, and these beautiful children's mom must be hurting for making such a huge sacrifice.

I am exploring options with Family Legacy for what we can do for Steven. Please keep him in your prayers, specifically, that we can get him in our school program and that his mother will be able to better provide for him and his disabilities.

I would also beg of you to pray for "mommie".  She loves these kids, I saw it, I know she loves them. She showed up to the hospital each day to visit Lydia. They had a compassionate connection, the love of a mother and a child, it is there. So, for "mommie" to give her child up for the chance at a better life, knowing she could not provide enough to keep Lydia alive has got to be one of the toughest things a person could ever do. My heart breaks for "mommie", Lydia and baby boy. I know these kids will have a better chance and we can physically care for them better than "mommie" could. I know our house moms will love these kids like their own and be the best parent they can. It does not take away from the fact that there is a loving bond between a mother and her children and the ties have been severed, it will never mean the love is gone, or any less or replaceable. There is love there and my prayer for each of them is that they can remember and always know that they love each other and that bond will always exist.

No big secret, I love these children, each and everyone of the little souls that I meet, look in their eyes, hug their frail little bodies, touch their sweet little cheeks and cry over for house on end. I can't understand how it is possible that I meet these littles and in less than the time it takes to blink, I have fallen in love with them. They consume my heart and make me feel a passion I have never experienced before. I fully take on the responsibility of loving, worrying and praying for their sweet souls. All from a distance, through longs times of absence, hundreds of miles and oceans apart, I keep praying for them and advocating for them because I can't help  but BIG love each of them.

keep in touch...

Friday, September 5, 2014

meet Lydia's little brother...

If you have been directed here by FB, you have already seen his precious little face.

I wish I could put a name to his face, but honestly, the way we met, there was so much commotion it is all a little fuzzy. I will post his name as soon as I either remember or someone tells me! 

This is a different situation than most for how children become part of our full time care at Tree of Life.

Here is where things get so hard for me, the lack of education can not overcome the love this mother has for her kids. They don't understand how HIV is spread, I am convinced they don't totally understand how babies are made and to follow up all of that, they don't have the skills to work and jobs are hard to come by. They don't have the luxury of going to school, they don't have the means to provide good medical treatment for themselves or their babies, they scrape to get by in complete poverty.  I believe these people find a way to survive, this mother is no exception. I say all of this, because I want it to be understood that although a lot of parents in Zambia don't appear to care for their children (by American standards) this mom, I believe, loves her babies. She is just helpless as to care for them and is caught in a vicious cycle. So, I beg of you, as you read the story of this little boy, know that in this situation, it is in the end, a mother making the biggest sacrifice she will ever make. It is a story of complete desperation and love of life that brings us to this point. Please read with an open mind and a loving heart, she is doing the best she can, and I feel like we have been called to help her and these precious children.

I actually found this little boys brother, Steven, who is paralyzed on his right side and has a substantial burn on his left upper arm on Thursday of Camp Life. I asked our community leader to bring him to camp on Friday for medical treatment. On Friday, Steven, showed up with his mother and two siblings. Immediately, Dr. Guffy (our infections disease Dr, who is on staff with Family Legacy) said he could not change Steven's situation, but we could save the sisters life. You can read about my sweet Lydia's situation here. He examined the baby, and at the time, with the information we had, felt like the baby was being provided for and could go home with mom.

Yesterday, Family Legacy reached out to me to say, "mom has reached out to us, her situation has changed and she does not feel like she can care for this little boy." I guess she has come to the realization that she can't provide for the 10 month old once he is not nursing and has asked us to take him. While we have them at camp, everyone was tested for HIV, the baby, Lydia and Mom all tested positive. 

This baby boy is precious, I got to hold him while Lydia was being examined. He is so small for a 10 month old and barely sits on his own. I didn't know at the time he was 10 months old, I thought he was 5-6 months. 

This child will be in our Tree of Life program. He will live in a home with 12 other beautiful little souls, have three meals a day, regular medical evaluation and treatment, lots of love and an amazing education in our private schools. He will be given not only a chance to live a healthy life, but an opportunity to have a full life with opportunities to thrive and be a significant part of the future of Zambia. 

If you want to know more about our program, go to

Sponsoring a child at the Tree of Life is a long term commitment. The monthly fee is $250 month for full term care. 

If you are interested please contact me. 

If you feel called to sponsor a child but not at the $250 level, we have children who live at home, who would love to attend our schools In their community for $65 per month. I can get you in touch with folks who have met these sweet kids and tell you all about them. 

I fall so hard and fast in love with these kids, I want to take them all home and love them for the rest of their sweet little lives. The goal of this program is to educate and empower the future of Zambia. If you can help us, we can change a nation. 

It is the only place I have ever been that feels like home. I would trade the luxurie of my life to spend 10 more minutes in their life of poverty to hug them for a second more.

If you can help- I would be forever greatful. -xx

- Keep in touch