Week 3: in his favour
Favour- A story of life and death, of pain, suffering and healing.
I knew this day would come but can you ever prepare yourself for it? Upon leaving for Ghana 7 years ago, a friend said, "Debbie, you are sensitive, what will happen if one of your babies die? You know it is enevitable. What will you do? "
My response, "I don't know...., cry a lot and hold onto God. He knows!"
Favour was born in Liberia with extreme special needs. She was born with some of her internal organs on the outside of her body. Her family travelled to Ghana to receive medical treatment. Shortly after receiving her medical diagnosis which would involve numerous surgeries and a lengthy, expensive hospital stay, the family abandoned their little girl at the hospital. They were never found. The hospital found themselves with a very fragile baby, who wasn't even a Ghanaian. Who would care for her? The Dept. of Social welfare in the hospital, called us in on her case. She had been in the hospital over a year and half at this point, having survived several complex surgeries that left her with a feeding tube and a colostomy. I remember meeting her for the first time in a crowded hospital room full of other babies with mommies caring for them. Favour was in her crib, only to receive hugs and holding when the busy nurses had extra time. That rarely came. She spent most of her time in her crib. She seemed content, but shy with me as I looked a bit different than the caregivers she was used to:)
Favour was ready to be discharged, and we had been asked to care for her. We were a bit hesitant because of the severity of her medical condition. They assured us that we could be taught. We prayed with our house administrators, William and Priscilla Deku as to whether God would have us care for Favour. We reached a united decision and began our training with the medical staff at the hospital. We started befriending Favour, spending time, playing with her. holding her. We wanted her to feel safe, she afterall had spent over a year in the hospital. It was all she knew. Now she was going to a home- our HOMe. We prayed for the transition to go smoothly. Upon discharge the hospital staff emphatically stated that Favour's case was unique and her medical condition sensitive so if issues were to arise, we were to bring her directly back to the children's ward because they would know how to proceed. So when Favour developed a fever about a month and half later, our house parents did exactly that and took her directly to the hospital. They were told it was nothing to worry about and to administer Tylenol. She was sent home. The next day, the fever rose higher, they took her back, and again were turned away, saying she was fine, just keep the regiment going. They asked for her to be admitted, but there were no available beds that night in the children's ward. They took her back home and she died the next morning.
That early Sunday morning call, awakened us out of bed. It was William, who himself, grief stricken and sobbing, told us what had happened. We were in absolute shock!! We had just arrived back in the country the day before after spending Christmas in the States. To have to go through this horrific ordeal alone would have been so much harder but we had each other. We, physically and emotionally held onto one another , weeping and praying together. This experience has bonded us together like nothing I can explain. Death in a developing country is very raw-- MUCH different than in the U.S. We had to transport Favour to the hospital ourselves, then wait for hours for a doctor to even show up because it was a Sunday. Afterward we transported her precious body to yet another hospital for an autopsy. A month later, we found the cause of death to be a kidney infection. Something in our mind that would have been simple to treat, had someone just listened and taken the time.
Why did this have to happen? I don't know but God knows and that is enough. I thought back to what my friend said to me, years ago. It was true. I cried, and cried and cried. We were all hanging onto to God.
Favour"s story is difficult to share. It brings back painful memories but it is also a story where we experienced deep comfort in time of trouble. Favour is with Jesus. She died having been loved.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither your ways my ways declares the Lord. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than you thoughts."
We don't pretend to understand yet our God is completely trustworthy. We loved Favour, we miss her. We are thankful for the time we had with her. But we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We will see her again.
Submitted with love by,
Favour at the hospital (Left), and Favour at HOMe (Right)
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