Week 6: coming home soon
In October 2008, a sweet little girl was born in Ghana, and the fact that I am able to tell the story of this little girl as I sit here in December of 2014 is nothing short of a miracle. You see, Christabel is disabled. We know that when she was born it was clear that she had club feet, but that her mother likely had no idea that her daughter also had Spina Bifida. In Ghana, children born with deformities are often “taken care of” because there is no support system for disabled persons or their families. Parents of disabled children are stigmatized and often shunned by their community because the burden of such a child is considered far too great. So, you see, the fact that Christabel is alive today is, as I said, nothing short of a miracle!
"But...there is so much more to her beautiful story. Christabel’s mother chose life in a world that did not place any value on the life of her child. I do not like to imagine how Christabel and her mother were treated by those around them – a single mother with a disabled child living each day without the support of a family or community. A single mother who was already dealing with her own chronic illness.
Sadly, in early January 2013, Christabel’s mother passed away, yet the miracle of this sweet girl’s life continued. After being left alone for nearly a month, she was rescued on January 24, 2013, and brought to HOMe. Christabel was very ill when she was found. She was malnourished, had ulcerated wounds, and severe Malaria. Without the care of HOMe, she would not have survived. When she came into their care, the HOMe staff knew she had club feet. However, it was not discovered until later that she also had Spina Bifida.
It was at this time that she was taken to the FOCOS hospital where a MRI confirmed this and gave the diagnosis of Myelomeningocele. There is no cure for SB, but a surgery to correct the lesion would help to stop any further damage to the nerves in her spine.
Here is where we became part of Christabel’s story. Through other HOMe families in our community, we had heard Christabel’s story, saw her picture, and were drawn in by her sweet smile. Several families in our community (and across the U.S.) had come together to raise funds for Christabel’s spinal surgery. We joined in the effort and began praying for her.
We placed her photo on the fridge, and God started to work. (and let’s be honest, He did not have to work very hard on the females in our house, and that is 4 out of 5 of us!)
Our three daughters were the first to start the adoption discussion. Then, in the summer of 2013, our oldest daughter was able to travel to Ghana and visit HOMe. While there, she met Christabel, and not long after she returned, we all knew God was calling us to be Christabel's family!
While we took the leap of faith and started the l-o-n-g adoption process, the surgery fund reached the goal. Christabel was able to have her spinal surgery in mid-November. The surgery was a success and she recovered well. While at FOCOS, her club feet were evaluated, and we were told that with treatment she will walk! This was really no surprise to us. This little girl has more determination than any six year old I have ever known. She truly does not know that she has a disability. She will do anything she puts her mind to!
If she had not come to HOMe, if she had not been loved by all those who support WAMM, without each dollar donated and each prayer lifted for her, Christabel might not have lived to become a VanKoevering in August of 2014!
We cannot express how grateful we are for WAMM & HOMe, and especially for William and Priscilla, who care for each of these beautiful children. This is an organization that opens its heart and its doors to “the least of these” in a culture that often walks away from these precious lives without blinking an eye!
What an amazing witness to the mercy that God has shown to each of us. Our favorite verse for Christabel is Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Christabel is a beautiful daughter of the King, a King who has orchestrated so many wonderful works in her life. We anticipate that our adoption journey will come to an end when we, Lord willing, bring Christabel to our home sometime in January. And we look forward to having a front row seat to all the wonderful works He has in store for her life!
Please consider supporting the work that WAMM is doing in Ghana! Become a part of this beautiful story!
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Christabel when first brought to HOMe ( Top Left Image), Christabel at HOMe (Second from Left), Christabel with her dad, 2014 (Third from Left), Christabel with her sister Tate, 2013 (Top Right), Christabel today (Bottom)
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