This is an e-mail update I just sent to a group of people who have been involved in rescuing Elisenia, the baby I wrote about in this post:
First, I want to thank all of you again for supporting baby Elisenia and our collected efforts for her life. If you are receiving this e-mail it is because you have either donated your time and energy to care for this baby or you have heard of the situation and donated financially. Both forms of genorosity have been crucial in this rescue. Things have come a long way and we want to make sure that there is a life ahead for this little girl. Here is a summary of what has happened so far and then plans for the future and a request for aid in carrying out the plans. I apologize that I don't have a picture from Wednesday when I saw Elisenia. I plan to see her next on Wednesday so will try to get a picture then.
So as an update for what has been going on, they took wonderful care of Elisenia at the Transformation House in Cabarete. They first finished her pneumonia treatment that she received at the Santiago Children's Hospital. They tested her for HIV and it came out positive, unfortunately. However, Cindy (Transformation House Director) had been told that if you do the test that young, they can often result in a false reading so it was not a definite. They found out that Elisenia had parasites and then treated her for that. She was not gaining weight as quickly as she should've and this was why. They took her to Ceprosh which is a clinic in Puerto Plata that primarily serves HIV patients. The second test also came out positive. On Wed. I went and met Cindy at Ceprosh. I had Elisenia's mom and Cindy had Elisenia. Elisenia got blood drawn for her CD4 test and Zette talked to the doctors about becoming a regular patient at the clinic.
It turns out that Zette knew she was HIV positive but was too embarrassed to say anything. At the time that Elisenia was found, her husband and Elisenia's father had gotten very sick and been sent to his family in Haiti where he passed away after not long, leaving three kids (Elisenia being one of them) with Zette. Zette has two other children from a previous relationship with a man who also died, so she is twice widowed now. She says that her husband had come up HIV positive and then she had come up positive when she did the blood tests before giving birth to Elisenia. They had a scheduled C-section for Nov. 3rd, 2010 but she went into a quick labor on Nov. 2nd. It was so quick that she didn't even make it to the operating room so it sounds like they set her C-section date too late. However, she listened to doctors and did not breastfeed Elisenia.
As we met with the pediatrician that morning, we learned further why Cindy had been told that tests this young can result in false readings. The reason is because the quicker test done measures the presence of HIV antibodies. So an infant up to 2 years, I believe, still contains antibodies if he or she was born to an HIV positive mother. Another test they were calling PSR, I believe, somehow determines the actual presence of the virus. This is what blood was drawn for on Wed. but we won't have the results for 3 more weeks. But there is still hope that she is HIV NEGATIVE!!! Wouldn't that be wonderful? We have potential adopters if she is negative.. if she is positive then it's a little harder, understandably.
So on Wednesday, we got Elisenia's mother milk and everything she needed to care for Elisenia and her other kids for one week. We had talked about trying to have her care for Elisenia one week and then we would foster her the next week, off and on, but she does not feel able to. My husband's aunt is coming to stay with us for awhile to help out as we have two little kids/babies of our own and recently began fostering another almost 2 year old. On Wed. we will take in Elisenia and are getting things prepared. We also took in her oldest brother who is 12 because Project Esperanza has a program, which is a main focus of the organization, for Haitian boys who end up in the streets for various reasons. Her brother, Junior, was not in the streets but with his father being dead, his stepfather having just died, and his mother being under a lot with being HIV positive, he is at risk and we offered to take him in. Zette had been complaining that he was very helpful but also unruly and didn't want to go to school. So we are able to do some family pruning and leave Zette with three kids at home who are all sponsored at our school in Muñoz and then care for her other two not too far from home.
Ideally, the foster home that our home is turning into would grow into a larger program in conjunction with volunteer candy stripers who spend time at hospitals and find these at risk babies who would likely lose their lives if someone doesn't come to their rescue, as was the case with Elisenia. In order to turn this into a reality and prepare for more children we can be sure we will come across, we need continued financial support. I am seeking a group of sponsors who would like to form a committee to take some financial responsibility over this venture. Ongoing financial information will be shared with these committee members through shared spreadsheets, as well as logs recording observations and progress on each child served. The committment is that members of such a committee advocate the program and seek funding or actively fundraise themselves, so that the needs of the program are met on a consistent basis. Ideally, a committee like this should have at least three members. Please let me know if you are interested.
Again, thank you all for your support. I hope that you can continue supporting in the future, as this is only just a glimpse of lives at risk here and the potential rescuing of lives that we have the honor of taking part in. Take care and God bless,
P.S. I forgot to include in the e-mail that we have received $464 in donations so far for baby Elisenia and have spent $277.62. We have not received any funding for Ebo, the little boy we are fostering. Additionally, Jireste's aunt is not coming to help for free. :) It is his Aunt Mari who I wrote about in this post .
If you would like to financially support my family and I, the way I prefer you do that is to register as a customer here and apply for this VISA credit card. I am told that the founder of Campus Crusades for Christ raised support for himself through this same method so it has had proven success. If you're in Canada, you register here. If enough people do this, it will generate an income for us. You'll see there are many ways to support as a customer, but for the purpose of focus, I ask that people at least get the VISA card. This is also a great gift option I suggest you try out. Lastly, if you or someone you know is raising support for missions/humanitarian work, you can help yourself and help me by registering as an IBO here and requesting that your supporters become your customers. Please e-mail me with any questions about this. Thank you & God bless.