One day in Addis we went to Cure Hospital to see the work of Dr. Paul Lim, our host for this week in Addis. I didn’t realize until another friend told me later that Paul started this hospital. Cure Hospital specializes in correcting birth deformities; particularly cleft lip and palate and orthopedic issues. Paul does the surgeries for babies born with cleft lip and palate problems.
On the way we passed a vehicle and our driver, Alazar said, “That’s Judy!” He waved to her driver. We had a stop to make, so later on when we got there we found that Judy is the lactation specialist for the hospital. It hadn’t occurred to me that children with cleft pallet wouldn’t be getting the nutrition they need due to not being able to nurse like most babies. After surgery they need to learn how to eat properly.
Judy is a high energy woman who moved us through the hospital explaining a number of things that happen there and people that do them. Judy gave us details about the children she’s treated and told us about her nursing groups. She introduced to a young one that was on his way into a second surgery. Finally she talked about a little boy whose mom is giving him up.
This mother’s story is probably not all that uncommon. She was engaged to be married, was messing around with another guy and got pregnant. Both men dumped her. Then her nice Orthodox family kicked her out because of the disgrace she was to them. On top of all the rejection and shame, she gave birth to a little baby boy with a double cleft lip and palate. This was likely interpreted as a curse.
Nearly my first thought was of how depressed the mother must be. She’s probably in her 20’s and probably feels very alone. Her life is truly in ruins and without a lot of options for her in the future. Judy confirmed that she was very depressed. She hadn’t even named her little boy initially.
They can’t do surgery until this little guy is 3 months old. And they will probably do two or more surgeries because of the complications involved in a double cleft. Now it seems that Judy is searching for a family to foster the little guy until she can find someone to adopt him. She already has a list of three or four folks that may take him. But care for him in the interim is needed.
Life can be so hard sometimes. I’m sure it’s that way no matter where you are in the world. But on this continent it often feels there are no options left. If you think of it, pray for the best life this little guy could have.