martes, 23 de junio de 2015

Confused, Sad, Relieved, Hopeful

So I guess I had not even written yet that CURE International agreed to do the surgery for Elisenia for free, and they even have funds to support her first prosthetic. The surgery I am talking about is an amputation because she was born without a tibia in one leg.

Adeline went with Elisenia the first time for the surgery. They understood that she has chronic respiratory problems and said they would allow her to stay and be treated for that for a few days before surgery, as she cannot go under anesthesia with any sort of a cough. They did let her stay for a few days, sent her to a pulmonologist, but when they saw that the treatment would last more than a week, sent her back home. 

As the treatment was going on, the secretary contacted us and told us her next surgery date. This trip was a bit frustrating/had some miscommunication as I tried to tell the secretary that her treatment was not done and to confirm that she would be treated there if she had a cough still. Although I was confirmed, they sent her back the same day she arrived for a small cough. 

Well one good thing about that second trip is that Adeline retrieved a perscription from the pulmonologist that she had not come with before and those meds made her stop coughing completely! It was like we had found the magic solution. They told us to send her yesterday morning and we did, sure that this time the surgery would take place. Dr. Glen Rowe has been wonderful in communicating and has really taken the case on. He wrote to me last night to let me know that she looked good and would be operated on this morning (Tuesday). 

Around 7am this morning I got a phone call from Glen who told me that Elisenia's HIV test had come back positive. What!!?? Read here and here where I was medically assured that she was negative, despite the fact that her bio mom is positive. Before I could feel sorry for Elisenia or be frustrated about a third trip to the capital and still no amputation, my heart sank for Adeline, Elisenia's caregiver, and her family, who I knew would be shocked and scared at the news, since they have lived so closely with Elisenia for years now. Glen said that the main reason they could not operate is because Elisenia's white blood cell count was very high.. 1600 or 16000? She was fighting off infection but they didn't know where. She may not heal well if they did the surgery.

Wait, let me back up. We finally got Elisenia's birth certificate last Wednesday!!! It was a bit of a painful day where Zette had to be there and she complained the whole day. It was the first time she had seen Elisenia since she left 3.5 years ago. You would think she would be happy to spend some time with her but instead she complained and apparently spoke negatively about me the whole day. I was up urging things to move along which is why I didn't hear all of what she was saying, but did get my earful of complaints. This was the first time Adeline had met Zette. We took Elisenia to see her one evening in Munoz which I had planned with Zette about and she found something else that was more important that evening and was not there... so this was the first she had seen Elisenia since her return. Yenilove was there too and her birth certificate is in process. But it was a hard day for Yenilove. she reported lots of negativity that was said, and Adeline and I had a heart to heart too after it all. I don't think I wrote in this blog about the years of trouble it has been getting these kids' birth certificates and Elisenia's is the first of 5 to have come through.

Back to today. I asked Glen about Adeline and he said that he hadn't told her yet because he wanted to tell me first. I told him that I should probably call and tell her and he said that would be good. We were rushing out the door to teachers meetings and a construction project in the Padre Granero school, so I planned on calling her in the car. Oh, I got a little 1987 Toyota Camry which is great! Anyway, as I went out to the car, Adeline's partner Ose was at our door looking... the worst I had ever seen him. He simply said, "Adeline says for you to call her." I starting splurring explanations to him as I realized that they must already know. He looked stern and angry but lightened up as I got around to explaining to him what white blood cells are. 

I stepped in the car and the phone rang. It was Adeline. She was crying. We both expressed our confusion as her test had come back negative before. She said that she couldn't care for Elisenia anymore. She cried and talked and I told her that I would ask the doctor to do an HIV test with her and I would go with the rest of her family to do it as well so that they could be able to have peace. She seemed to like that idea and passed me to Glen. Glen said, "I didn't tell her. Someone else must have told her." 

I said, "She said she saw it on a paper."

He said, "Nothing was written on the paper. Someone must have told her." 

Just a few hours ago when Adeline arrived and we sat and talked, she gave me a great account with perfect pauses of, "They put the IV in Elisenia and the operation clothes and then I saw blan receive a paper and did (surprised/confused look). I knew something was going on. I'm not stupid. Then they told me to put her clothes on her and gave me this paper." She pulled out a perscription for more blood tests. Two boxes were checked, one which says HIV. All of the nurses were coming and talking amongst each other and looking at them. A Dominican doctor finally sat down with her and asked if she was Elisenia's mom. She said no, she is more than a mom. He asked about her mom and she told him to contact me. He told her what the results said. Her suspicions were confirmed. She said she stood on one foot and cried and prayed. They calmed her and explained to her the misconceptions and how the disease is and isn't transmitted... 

I will write the rest of what happened soon, but to kill the suspense, Adeline's test came out negative. Her kids, niece, and Yenilove's second test (I tested her the same time when Elisenia came out negative 2 years ago) all came out negative as well. They kill you with suspense at the Ceprosh office... which we walked a few blocks to and then to and from the laboratory with Aniverca who is 12 years old and has cerebral palsy, so she needs lots of assistance. I explained to the lab that there was a potential false negative test result given by them two years ago. Their response was that it must've been during the incubation phase. I didn't argue, but how would a child born with HIV have the virus in incubation stage at 2.5 years of age? 

I wanted to grab the papers away from the guy who opened each paper slowly and wrote out each patient's information before sharing the darn result! He asked me, "Why are you afraid?" As soon as he said that, my head filled with verses of "Do not fear" and the peace that transcends all understanding calmed me instantaneously. When they read Yenilove's result, tears came rushing to my eyes and I fought them off, which took a lot. I used to cry a good bit here due to sad and frustrating stuff and people observing quickly say, "Don't cry. Don't cry." I don't know if it's because I'm older or my heart is harder or stronger but I am much more able to hold back tears now. The guy ended by talking about both oral and anal sex in front of Yenilove, my eight year old, who looked at me at the end of the talk and said, "kapot"? which means condom. This allowed us all to release our bursts of laughter which was building up throughout the talk.

Driving home, relieved for everyone's good news, I was now able to feel for Elisenia. Maybe I did let a tear fall for her. After our talk tonight, Adeline says that she still wants to care for Elisenia (although she wants separate plates and cups for her) and is not convinced yet that she is actually positive. I am joining her in her faith. Please help us pray.


For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 
-Ephesians 6:12

Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

-2 Chronicles 20:15

Do not be afraid, for I am with you. - Genesis 26:24

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  - Deuteronomy 1:21


Don't forget, if you want to support me and my work, please consider using this credit card or these awesome gift options. Sign up as a customer here. If you want to use this method for gaining your own personal support to enable you to do similar work or to just supplement your family income, please e-mail me at CaitlinMcHale@EsperanzaMeansHope.org. Don't forget to read this book as well, and recommend it to others! If you want to support Project Esperanza, learn how to do so here. Thank you and God bless! 

sábado, 13 de junio de 2015

Dominican Parenting 101



If you want to keep your 15 year old son from becoming a delinquent, don’t let him lie in bed late into the morning. Get him up early every morning, even if he doesn’t have school. If he doesn’t want to get up, take a large metal spoon used to stir rice and scrape the konkon off of the bottom of the pot. Tap the round bottom firmly on the sleeping boy’s ankles, shins, and knees. This should awake him. If he returns to sleep, repeat. Or, fill up the watering can and go outside the house by the window next to his bed. Open the window and water in the window, sprinkling the sleeping boy on the bed. This, in addition to the spoon, should do the trick and get him out of bed for the morning.

Junior is turning 16 tomorrow. He passed his 8th grade year, as far as the in school portion is concerned. They say he didn’t seem to try and put his head down on the desk a lot. He got 70s and 80s. After 8th grade they have a national exam here. If you don’t pass, you don’t go onto high school. He has been reluctantly going to a clinic for this since March. It starts on Tuesday and ends on Friday. The biggest success of this school year for him as compared to last year is his 92.5% attendance. And at the school he goes to, they send him home if he is 5 minutes late, if he isn’t wearing socks, and little things like that. It is good for him, like military school, as he needs a strong hand, but frustrating a little as well. But the point is, last year we had to really struggle with him to get him to go to school, and this year, he only missed a few days, and they were almost all days where he went to school but was sent home due to one of these regulations. I call that a success!

However, we have one problem. He has started wanting to wander around a lot more to visit other communities and has been breaking the 10 P.M. curfew. This is largely why I started with the spoon tapping and watering can watering. We have tried several different punishments and he still keeps it up. Well, he had almost stopped and then last week someone led him out and so I got very angry at that person.  This July, I hope to send him, Yenilove, and two other boys to a week-long camp at a cacao plantation we visited. I’m hoping they make it through the week without me getting a phone call that one or all of them are insupportable!
Jameson and Junior with cacao facials at the farm.

Yenilove is doing great. She, Ilayas, and Maraya are three loving, playing, competing siblings. Elisenia has a free surgery and then free prosthetic waiting for her at CURE International in Santo Domingo if we can ever get her to stop coughing long enough for their anesthesiologist to agree to administer the anesthesia. We have made two trips so far and been sent back both times. We are trying a new med and are preparing for the third trip.

I have been spending a lot of time in the regularization office, as well organizing trips to PIDIH in Santo Domingo. Deportations are supposed to start Wednesday or Thursday of this week. Please keep us in your prayers. We are all a bit in the dark as to how these times will be for everyone, but I have led everyone I can to get registered and get their paperwork in order.

Thank you and God bless. 

Don't forget, if you want to support me and my work, please consider using this credit card or these awesome gift options. Sign up as a customer here. If you want to use this method for gaining your own personal support to enable you to do similar work or to just supplement your family income, please e-mail me at CaitlinMcHale@EsperanzaMeansHope.org. Don't forget to read this book as well, and recommend it to others! If you want to support Project Esperanza, learn how to do so here. Thank you and God bless!