This little boy was referred to us from another foundation just a few months ago. Born with visual and hearing impairments, he was surrendered for adoption but complications and slow development made the “powers that be” decide he was not adoptable.
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Ronnie was referred to us from a local government hospital. Abandoned. We knew why. Children with visible differences are often left. It is just too much to deal with for a young mother who probably has a multitude of equally heavy responsibilities.
We sleuthed and were able to find more of this little one’s history. It’s always questionable to know more. Sometimes better to not. Bottom line is he has suffered more than any little one should have suffered. He has been rejected enough.
So now, as our mandate is, we will love him and allow him to heal. At the same time, we will do all we can to give him the best opportunities and chances at having a permanent family. He is a fighter, to be sure. He has recovered from his malnutrition and is so responsive to his caregivers.
He is beautiful… and we have found a surgeon who will fix both his lip and palet in one operation.
It is not free but in order for us to have the best treatment and use a hospital that is clean and will respect our child’s privacy and rights, we have chosen to try to raise the funds.
The surgery will cost almost $5000 and as always if more money is raised, it will go to expenses like milk, diapers, toiletries, and rice.
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Please check out the links above – ONE TIME GIVING or MONTHLY GIVING – and you can find the best way you can give to the work of Gentle Hands.
They are all tucked in… not in their own little beds but tucked in, none the less. Tummies full, cheeks kissed, belly’s tickled, and each one prayed over.
There are six of them. But it is the one, two and three year old that have captured my heart.
The abuse they have suffered is unfathomable to me. So little and they have known more fear, hunger and pain than I have known in my whole adult life.
They flinch at the slightest raise of the arm. They shriek when they think you are leaving the room. They cry endlessly to be held as if they cannot be held close enough, tight enough, often enough. They eat non-stop, until their bellies might burst and they still want milk. They have been starved. Maybe since they were born. The night is terrifying, with screams and dreams that don’t let them wake up.
They are broken. Their bodies are full of scars and healing wounds. Small ones that look like cigarette burns and fingernails scratches and boils and the worst part, for me, is just not knowing.
Each dirty diaper, they stand still as a statue. Waiting. Silent. Their bodies tensing when I change them. They hold my eyes. Baby powder gets a pat of approval. Baby lotion gets a smile and sometimes a giggle.
Their eyes watch every move of every person in the room. When I touch one of them, the others eyes’ follow my hands, intently. They already take care of each other. They protect each other. They have a sense of independence that I have never ever seen in ones so little. They are wiser and more aware than any children I have ever known.
And yet they are resilient. The middle one hugged me and kissed me spontaneously today. I had to blink my tears away.
They are learning to trust. They are learning that when they climb up in the high chair, there will be food. They are seeing when they get hurt, there are prayers, hugs and kisses. They are starting to relax and let me be the “mom”, the one who should take care of them. They are learning what love is.
I have rescued many and seen so many children heal over the last 13 years. But these siblings have awakened afresh in my heart the why of what we do.
And why we take those no one else will take.
And why we love how we love.
And why God sent His son Jesus to die for us.
I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt… there is hope in HIS love.
I ran down the stairs to get our newest baby… a referral from a good quality city Hospital. I just had a few minutes before supper was ready and bedtime routine would start. I had read the case study and referral earlier and it looked pretty standard. Rehabilitate nutritionally in order for operation because of mass on the tongue… he needed to gain 6 pounds. Easy. Read more
A referral from another agency… sounded easy enough. Family needing milk and possibly some rice. I didn’t give it much thought. Read more
It is Friday, the end of the third week of this awful ordeal with the little boy who was so badly burned.
Ate E (our Scottish midwife) and I get the basin of water and put on our gloves trying to prepare ourselves for this task. We’ve done it every day this week and it isn’t any easier today. Gil looks over at me from the TV show he is watching and starts to cry. Not a silent cry but more like shrieking… I haven’t even touched him yet. I would very much like to turn around and leave the room… God, give me strength. Give Gil strength.
Nico is here, the older brother but he looks weary already. Slowly we drip water on the bandages. Gil shrieks. Not so much. Do it slowly. Ow. Don’t touch me! Slowly, please. Please! I need my mommy. I don’t like you. Please. No more. No, I don’t want this. Please…
Ate E gently strokes his brow and holds his hands. I natter non-stop to him… the same old lines. We have to do this. We have to get the infection off the wound. Do you want to go back to the hospital? Come on, you’re a big boy. Jesus will help you. You ask him to help you…You can do this, Gil.
The gauze is so stuck… it is more like cheese cloth and adheres to the bloody wounds like sticky tape. How are we ever going to get this off?
I have called my friends in Canada to send a special kind of non-stick gauze… O, why isn’t it here yet? How much more of this can I take? How much more can Gil take?
His screams bounce off the walls and my head pounds. There… one more piece off. Oh that one is stuck right there at the back of the thigh. Oh, dear. That one will have to be pulled.
No… don’t… please…
Come on, Gil. Help me out. Work with me. I will be gentle. I am going very slow. Stop freaking out. I give a gentle tug… its been an hour already and I’m not even half done… it comes off.
We all breathe a sigh of relief and rest for a moment. Ate E is still calmly talking into his ear and praying all the while. The sound of her voice is somehow very encouraging though I look at her and her eyes are red and brimmed with tears. She looks exhausted.
I start again with the water but it is too late. Gil has had enough. Now he roars. I decide to pull the last piece of gauze off his inner thigh without his permission. I have been so careful to not cause any pain or surprise him. I’ve been so gentle… But it is so terribly infected. He screams because he is angry. The wounds start to bleed. Gil sees the blood and starts to kick and scream… I can’t hold him down… he’s like an animal… but the leg is really bleeding because of his screaming… I have to settle him…
That is enough. I hear my voice above his. You will stop right now. Your wounds are bleeding because you are screaming. Stop it right now. I roar at Nico to hold his upper body still and not let him see the blood. I think he is panicking. I pad on gauze to stop the blood. The white sheets are soaked… this is enough to give anyone a fright. I continue to speak in a restrained yet very strong voice and suddenly all is very quiet. Just me barking orders…
We move him onto clean sheets and I remove the bloody gauze and I hold his leg still watching to see that the bleeding has stopped. It is just raw meat. Is this ever going to end? Will it ever heal?
I simply cannot do this… I will not put that stupid cheese cloth stuff. O, that the other gauze will arrive tomorrow. The room is silent. I decide to leave the wounds open, to give the air a chance to do something. Anything is better than that gauze. We move him into Noah’s room with the air conditioning. How horrific for Gil to have to see his leg like this but I don’t know what else to do.
Pray, Ate E. Pray.
He settles down on the bed with his Spiderman movie and his plate of supper. He takes his medicine and refuses to look at me or respond to my questions but he looks fine. He even laughed at the cartoon… Ate E and I are exhausted. We go to the kitchen to make hot tea and debrief…
The next day, we took Gil to the doctor at the burn ward. The infection was so concerning to me. He cleaned the wound and said nothing. “Keep
doing what you are doing,” he said. I stare in unbelief. “He doesn’t qualify to be admitted. It’s not bad enough.” He wraps up the wounds in more cheesecloth
gauze and we go home.
That afternoon the gauze arrived from Canada. We have used it for 3 bandage changes now… it falls off by itself with just a little water. Thank you, Lord. The dressing of the wounds now only takes 30 minutes at the most.
Please continue to pray for healing. There is great improvement on the side and buttocks… the thigh wound is so deep and so infected. Pray for us to have wisdom as we are left to care for this child with little help or advice from the medical community…
By God’s provision, we have had enough money come in to pay for all the expenses so far. Thank you for helping us. Thank you, Estevan, for the gauze. We believe God has a plan for this little boy, that his little life will be an example of God’s miraculous provision and healing.
This afternoon, the hospital discharged the little boy that was burned on more than 20% of his 5-year-old body. The hospital needed the beds and after only one debridement and very strong intravenous antibiotics, in just 10 days he had recovered incredibly fast. Read more
Gil was admitted to PGH (Philippine General Hospital) where the burn unit was closed. Last week there was an outbreak of a drug-resistant bacteria and the ward was closed and fumigated. The burn victims were placed in other areas of the hospital. The doctors were not going to admit him but we fought and begged… they relented and after 15 hours in a wheelchair in the ER, we were given an actual bed in the Trauma unit among stab victims and other very serious injuries… Read more
He is only five.
He was playing while his mother was cooking hot soup in their squatter shack.
He saw a spider and tried to catch it… the pot of boiling soup spilled over him causing 3rd degree burns to 20% of his little body… Read more