I was asked last night “How do you choose one?” There are so many orphans and the needs are so great. How is one going to make a difference. Why Dylan? I don’t think I answered well, but this morning I woke up to my answer.
This is Alice… She was a foster child placed in my home in May of 2008. I received the call from CPS about this little baby and they could not find a home for her. She was medically fragile and her needs were great. Would I be interested in going to the hospital and seeing if this was something I could handle for a short time? And of course, in my innocence and naivety, said, “Yes, I’ll drive to Phoenix right now.” And little did I know the heartache and fear that answer would bring.
Alice was born to an alcoholic mother who had already birthed 13 children. Alice was very sick and initially not expected to live. But the days rolled by and Alice hung on. She was alone in the hospital for 3 months as her mother left the hospital after her birth and never looked back. Alice came to my home at 3 months of age with a string of diagnoses, a feeding tube and a mop of hair that could not be tamed. She was skinny, hairy and cried a lot. I remember picking her up at the hospital where she had lived for her first 3 months of life. The nurses had nicknamed her “Hair” and she looked so tiny and sickly. e were also told that we were a temporary home because she is Navajo. When she was considered medically stable, she would return to the Navajo Nation. At the time, we were okay with this. She was such a sad, sick little girl and we knew that we could help her body to physically heal. We understood from the beginning that we were only a temporary stop and we hoped we could make a difference for the time that she was with us.
Alice was not an easy, happy baby. Her medical needs were extensive and she spent a lot of time in doctor’s offices and in the hospital. She almost died at one point and I was scared. She could not keep weight on and she was constantly ill. Test after test revealed nothing and we were desperate. Finally after a stomach biopsy they diagnosed her with severe protein allergies. She was placed on specialized formula and had a feeding tube. This completely changed her and she began to thrive.
This sweet baby had captured our hearts. Her face always carried a smile and it lit up her whole face.
It seemed that each moment, each hour and each day was a countdown. The year in our home was coming to an end and her court date was looming. Our little girl was soon leaving.
On the day of court, we were not ready for the Navajo nation to take over jurisdiction of Alice. We sat in the car on the drive and could not believe our time was up. Our sweet little girl was leaving and we were crushed. I remember pleading with God and thinking that I was going to lose a piece of my heart. And that’s when God chose Alice for us. In an unprecedented action, the Nation felt that her needs and her future were too much and they did not have a home to take her in. I walked out of court and stared dumbstruck as our caseworker told us that Alice could be ours. We drove home with tears streaming and we chose her name,
So, how do you choose? WE didn’t. How can you make a difference when there are so many? WE didn’t. God chose us and the reality is this….. Ellie Nizhoni has made more of a difference in my life, than I can ever claim to have made in hers. She was chosen by God to be loved and cherished in our home, I’m just blessed she calls me MOM.