I have tried so many times to find the right words to write this post, but I am coming up empty. I will stick with the simple facts and hope you know that my heart is aching to have to write this.
Two of our precious FMN children have passed away. They were completely separate circumstances, yet called home on the same day.
Sweet Kenneth (age 2 with Cerebral Palsy), and beautiful Martina (age 1.5, with Hydrocephalus), passed away in the early morning hours last friday, just hours apart.
Kenneth had contracted Malaria, which is VERY common. The problem with CP kids, is they cannot fight an illness like an average child...they can't cough to remove the junk that can build up, and they are much weaker and so fragile...therefore, alot of the time, malaria becomes complicated with pneumonia. These are the times that it gets REALLY hard for these little ones. Yes, we do take precautions to try to keep malaria 'at bay', such as using mosquito nets, giving our kids daily vitamins, good nutrition, and getting medical care once they start having any kind of symptoms of being sick. But, you must also understand the lack of 'sufficient' medical care for 'special needs' kids. Sadly, Kenneth could not fight the Malaria with the typical 'treatment' (antibiotics). His malaria became aggressive and entered his brain. Kenneth died from Cerebral Malaria.
Martina had Hydrocephalus. Her foster parents said she had died quietly in her sleep. Her beautiful little body just had had enough. We believe she had been suffering from headaches from her hydrocephalus for awhile, and could only combat that pain with simple tylenol. I'm sure there were other unknown symptoms that she suffered everyday from her Hydrocephalus. Global Orphan Outreach had been working toward a medical visa to get her the needed surgery to help her. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to find a dr. to care enough, do a medical examine, get a PROPER diagnosis, and finally get the proper medical paperwork to move forward. We have been working on this for 8 months! Just to get a simple letter! Again, the impression of the FMN team from the Dr.'s perspective, was that she 'was not worthy', why bother? It's heartbreaking!!! When we were there in April, we had taken Martina to the hospital to be admitted for an allergic reaction, as well as suffering from some illness, (we never did get an answer for this). They wanted to release her two days later, even though she could barely breath and was in distress! I had to beg for two more days and her to be put on IV!! It was insane! But, again, this is what we are up against! This is normal practice. Thank goodness she got better and had been flourishing with her new foster mom since! We truly thought she had more time, as well as Kenneth.
I cannot tell you in any words my despair and heartbreak! I can't help but think how wonderful these kids would have done, IF Liberia would have let them out of the country on an 'expedited' medical visa, to have sufficient medical care, or to be adopted and have the peace of mind that whatever illness or therapy is needed, they would have the the access to great medical facilities.
Kenneth had CP equal to the extent of my Liberian son. My son is doing amazing! I have the priviledge to have that peace of mind, that whatever hurdle we will go through, I have help! Kenneth didn't have the opportunity to have access to great medical facilities and tons of therapies.
Martina would not have even been considered a surgical candidate in Liberia, simply because a shunt surgery is pretty rare in country, with very few shunts available! Those shunts would be 'saved' for a more viable child!
Both of these precious children were loved dearly, especially by their foster moms. They were cherished and will be greatly missed.
Global Orphan Outreach and Forget-Me-Not, are more determined than ever, to be the voices for the rights of these special children!