Monday, May 6, 2013

Kurt and Jessie

We've had 5 babies go home in the last month. That's hard on our hearts even though we know it's the plan, the purpose, the goal. But it's still rough. People ask me sometimes if you just get used to it after awhile, and the answer is most definitely not.

Kurt and Jessie are brother and sister, a special situation around here. They went home together last week to a mother and father who are both blind and both sick. 3 years ago, we sent home their older brother Choolwe when he was almost 3, and we currently still have their littlest sister, Leahndrea, who is four months old.

Are you following all of this??
One family, 5 kids, 4 of whom we have or have had:
Lushomo-8 years, never lived with us
Choolwe- 6 years, lived with us his first 3 years
Kurt- 4 years, lived with us his first 4 years
Jessie- 2 years, lived with us her first 2 years
Leahndrea- 4 months, still living with us

I'm not sure how they managed when their oldest, Lushomo, was a baby. But they brought Choolwe to us when he had just started crawling and they couldn't find him and were worried he'd get burnt in the fire, or drown in a river, none of which they would be able to see and stop. It was a dangerous situation, so we agreed to keep Choolwe until he was old enough to understand and obey instructions, understood the dangers of fire and water, that sort of thing.
Here is their father on one of his faithful visits to see Choolwe, seated on his lap. Lushomo, the older brother (4 at the time), led him all the way here. It is about 30-40 kilometers from where they stayed, and a 4 year old was leading the blind parents alone.
On one of my visits out to check on Choolwe after he'd gone back home. 
When we all agreed that Choolwe was ready and prepared to go back to the village, they came to get him and lo and behold the mom was pregnant! Mama had warned them many times about the risks they were posing to their children by continuing to have children, but she still became pregnant with Kurt, their third born son.
Baby Kurt
When Kurt was 2, along came Jessie.
Baby Jessie
And then just this January we got the baby, Leahndrea.

In a situation like this, it's so easy to start judging. There are so many questions we have, so many differences in the way our world and our families operate that make this situation quite unbelievable and heartbreaking. I have to remind myself all the time that I can't even begin to fathom what life is like for these parents. To desperately love and want your kids, but to also have to make some really tough decisions to make sure they are safe and given a good chance at life. There are absolutely no resources here for a blind couple trying to raise their children. Instead, the harsh reality is that their children become their caretakers in many ways. What a huge burden to put on children so young. 
Kurt and Lushomo leading their mother down the Haven veranda.
Siblings reunited (Choolwe stayed in the village with their father)
It was finally hitting Kurt that they were really leaving after days of talking about it and getting ready for it. I know the fact that I had started crying by this point didn't help matters, but sometimes you just can't hold it back anymore/
It would be impossible for me to put into words the joy that is Kurt. He is sensitive and kind and smart and brave and loving and helpful. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. We don't typically have kids until they are 4, but his family had just moved to a new village about 30 minutes away, and they didn't know the lay of the land well enough to feel comfortable taking him home. He also was still on some medication that was keeping him with us longer. So when a four year old leaves, it's so much worse on us. We've been there for everything in his little life, and then all of the sudden he's gone. And Jessie. Well she's just the sweetest, most independent, gentle little girl. She's just started talking all the time, and her voice melts me.

And now they're out in the real world. There is no doubt that they are loved and have been prayed for and waited for. But there's also no doubt that they are completely overwhelmed and confused at what their new life is like. That makes me ache for them and wish to shelter them from all the harsh realities of life, of their life. We believe firmly here that if possible, kids need to be with their families. And it's possible for these, even though it's hard. They know not to get in the fire, they know how to do basic tasks, and I'm so grateful they are going together to start their new life and not alone.
As they settle into a new life, we do what we can from here, pray hard for their adjustment and for their future as a family. We'll hold tight to sweet Leahndrea and love her as best we can until she's ready, too, to head into the real world.


  1. Wow.....
    I don't know how you do what you do but am very Thankful God has chosen you to do it.
    Praying for that family and their new start.

  2. Meagan,
    Thanks for sharing the story of this family....even tho we've been there and played with Kurt and he is so special to James...I was not aware of this situation. I am so thankful that you are there to help and teach these families and I love how God is using you in His Kingdom. I'm praying for Kurt, Jessie and his entire family and will continue to pray for you, the aunties, Cecilia and the rest of the staff. Love you guys and can't wait to get there!!!!!

  3. Wow! That's an amazing story! Lushomo leading his blind parents 40 kilometers and you taking them in to the haven. I hope the blind parents can help their kids in the future.
    Aiden Davenport