Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How Are The New Babies Doing?

One month ago Coral Arely and "unnamed baby boy" joined our GBH family. Within the first hour we named our baby boy, Mateo Andrés, meaning strong gift from God. Weighing in at just over nine pounds we knew this two-month-old must have a deep inner strength in order to have persevered through his first turbulent weeks of life.

Having both arrived sick, Coral improved with care and medication in the first week. Mateo got worse before he got better. Struggling with reflux, and a bad cold that came with a horrible cough, he had our team busy nursing him to health while remaining fervent in prayer. Just in the last few days he has turned a corner and is beginning to look, sound, and act like a healthy baby boy.

Coral and Mateo are now very comfortable with their new surroundings, routines, and caregivers.

18-month-old Coral is thriving in an environment that includes constant attention, eye-contact, and communication. Once she learned that we were listening, she started communicating back to us. Though we know her babbling has definite meaning, we gave her the tools of sign language to communicate some basic needs. She is so excited to get a reaction from her signs that sometimes she will do two or three at once.

Mateo is in a rapid growth spurt. Once he started feeling better and keeping his food down, it is as if he is trying to catch up to his 4 weeks of being premature all at once. He smiles, coos, makes eye contact, and is easily soothed by a warm embrace and tender care. These are all excellent milestones.

Please continue to keep these two new little ones in your prayers. Though their road to physical and emotional healing has begun, we realize that it is a long one, and only possible with God.

Posted by Juan Strutton at 8:22 PM

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Saying Good-bye

How do you emotionally let go of the babies after you have loved and cared for them with your whole heart? This is one of our most frequently asked questions.

The short answer is... God's Grace. It is only by His grace that we are able to cuddle them tightly while holding on to them loosely. But as our staff was studying 1 Samuel this past week, we were able to make some parallels between Hannah saying good-bye to Samuel, and ourselves saying good-bye to our babies. The timing of this study was divinely fitting as we had to say good-bye to our precious Dani just a few days later.

Samuel was conceived after Hannah poured out her heart to God in prayer and made a promise that if He gave her a son she would give him to The Lord all the days of his life. After Samuel was weaned she fulfilled her vow and brought Samuel to the House of The Lord - not with tears and anguish, but with a huge sacrifice, worship, and an amazing prayer that begins with, "my heart rejoices in The Lord". It was through prayer that Samuel came into her life and through prayer that she left him at the temple.

From the moment our babies enter our doors, we begin praying for their forever family. We know that when we pray these prayers, we pray according to God’s will, as He is the creator of the family and His word states, “God sets the lonely in families.” Based on her recorded prayer life, Hannah's prayers were most certainly not limited to the ones we read in Scripture. She likely prayed for Samuel's future every time she nursed him. Just as her prayers prepared her heart to trust God with her son's future, our prayers prepare our hearts to trust God with our babies' futures.

Hannah is acutely aware that Samuel came to her by God's strong hand; The Lord had closed her womb and The Lord opened her womb. When she left her son at the temple she could confidently place him back into the strong hand from which he came. When our babies come through the door it is because God's strong hand has defended them and brought them to safety. When He asks for them back, we are confident that they go straight into that same hand.

When Hannah rejoices in The Lord it doesn't mean that she won't miss her son, or be sad to say good-bye. It just means that her desire to see God's will demonstrated in the future of her son is greater than any sadness she may feel. Similarly, whether He chooses to place them with biological family or adoptive family, we rejoice when one of our babies gets to go “home”. It doesn't mean that we aren't sad, won't miss them, or don't cry. It means that our desire to see them in a family is greater than our sadness.

I guess that's the long answer;)

Here are a few photos from Friday when we placed Dani back into the strong hand of her Defender and He carried her to her new family.
We pack a few bags including practical items and sentimental items. Some sentimental items include her dedication certificate, her blessing box, her God's Promises to Dani frame, her footprint, a photo album, her crib toy, artwork, and a few favorite toys. We also include an adult and a children's Bible with a personal inscription inside each one.

Dani ready to go and dragging her bags to the door.

Tio Juan carrying Dani out to the car of the DIF (social services).
And she is off to meet her new family!

As a side note: One of the things we told the DIF is that Dani would do well with siblings. Also based on her love for dogs, we started praying that her new home would have a dog. The social worker informed us that her new family included a big brother AND a dog. God is good.
Posted by Juan Strutton at 11:29 AM

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