Saturday, March 15, 2014
I remember meeting Ashley and her mother in our clinic. Katherine (another American nurse that I work with) and I sat down with this woman to admit her daughter into our malnutrition program. The first thing Ashley's mother did was beg us to take her baby. She came to our clinic because she wanted Katherine and I to take the baby. Katherine and I sat and listened as we heard this woman's story. She was 18 years old and wasn't actually the mother of the baby, but rather her cousin. Ashley's mother died when she was just eight days old and her father wasn't involved. This woman had been raising Ashley since her mother died. Another family member had been allowing the two of them to live with her, but was threatening to kick them out because she no longer wanted a baby in her house. We explained to Ashley's mom that our malnutrition program wasn't an inpatient program and that we couldn't actually take her baby. We told her that we would love to walk beside and partner with her as she cared for Ashley. We asked her to keep Ashley and to commit to coming to a malnutrition appointment every two weeks in our clinic. We told her that we would pray for her to have the strength needed to provide and care for Ashley. We told her that God had a plan for this sweet little baby and for her life too. Basically, we asked her to give us, and God, a chance.
And just like that our journey with Ashley and her new Momma began. Every two weeks they came to the clinic for an appointment. And every two weeks we watched as this new mother fell more and more in love with her sweet baby girl. Her mother hasn't asked Katherine or I to take her since her first appointment in the clinic. Instead, each week she updates us on how well Ashley is doing. One week she showed us pictures she had taken of Ashley. Another week she sat Ashley down on the floor and showed us how she had learned to crawl. This week she showed us how Ashley had learned to dance and clap. When we met Ashley she was 7 months old and weighed 9 pounds. Today she is 10 months old and weighs 13.42 pounds. None of this has been easy for her new mother and yet she has truly embraced her new role. I love that I have been able to watch this little girl grow, that I've been able to hug and kiss her mother every two weeks in the clinic. I feel so honored to know that there is a group of people praying for both Ashley and her mother. That there are kids and adults that collected the infant formula and rice cereal that have been vital to helping Ashley grow and developmentally progress. The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" couldn't be more true!