Generally speaking when I pray and talk to God I truly desire for Him to answer my prayers. Of course there are those times when my prayers aren't answered and after some time--I'm typically thankful that God knows the big picture and that I'm not ultimately in control (ok, who am I kidding--not in control at all!). Today was different though, today God answered a prayer that has been on my heart since May 28th, 2012. A prayer that I have prayed every day since May 28th. And for a moment when I realized that my prayer was answered--I was completely broken.
I met Nathalie and her two little boys in the clinic on May 28th. I remember E'tienne quickly finding me and saying there was a family that she met last February (2011), while serving on a short term medical trip with NVM. E'tienne introduced me to Nathalie, Jonathan, and Josue and from the moment I met them I knew this family was special. It wasn't an "accident" or "coincidence" that this family came to our clinic over a year later, while E'tienne was serving in the clinic, all the while Nathalie was in need of severe medical treatment.
That day, I began learning about Nathalie's life. Nathalie's husband was killed in the earthquake and she was left widowed, pregnant, and solely responsible for caring for her toddler aged son. She was literally left alone with no family around, in a very family oriented culture. Before the earthquake Nathalie was receiving treatment at a hospital for TB, but she was unable to afford the treatment after the death of her husband and her pregnancy also complicated things. So after many months of not receiving medical treatment Nathalie's health deteriorated to the point that when she first entered the clinic she weighed 57 pounds at the age of 23. Her boys were both malnourished and it was completely obvious that something needed to be done to help this family. Nathalie was faithful with follow-up appointments in the clinic but unfortunately after time and multiple exams it was determined that she needed more help than we could provide. Aubree talked to Pastor Pierre and explained the situation--he agreed to meet with her and discuss options.
We came up with the decision to place the boys in our children's home so that Nathalie could go back to the hospital and get the care she needs. Nathalie knows that death is likely the outcome of her story, but knows she has been desperately hanging on and fighting for her boys. While talking to her she said that it is her obligation to care for her children and to know that they will be cared for if she dies.
Today, I watched Nathalie make the hardest and most selfless decision ever. She chose to place her children in the children's home--knowing that they would receive love, education, care, and most of all a consistent home regardless of her health. I watched as Nathalie sat stoically in the chair, she remained strong as she went through the paperwork. As I watched Nathalie hold her boys I was broken. Broken because this isn't a decision a mother who loves her children should ever have to make. Broken because Nathalie chose to give her boys the best, even though it did not feel right at them time.
Tonight, I am also rejoicing because I also saw a glimpse of hope in her eyes--she knows her boys will be loved. Nathalie hugged both Aubree and I before she left campus and thanked us for giving her a chance to live.