When Joseph arrived at the children’s home he was starving. He was as small and weak as a four month old baby. We checked his birth date again; March 18, 2005. Joseph was almost two and a half years old. His father had recently died and his mother, with no means of support, was herself in little better shape than Joseph. We gave her a meal and a bit of food to take with her, counseling her where to go for additional help.
Our first challenge was to save Joseph’s life. As with many starving children, Joseph’s little tummy rejected food while chronic diarrhea and vomiting sapped his strength. The woman serving as head nurse at the house diluted his formula until he was able to hold it down. Gradually, Joseph gained strength. But as he grew, it became obvious that all was not well with this little boy. Soon, our fears were confirmed, he was Downs Syndrome and had hip dysplasia. This diagnosis would be a severe setback even in a western community but in a developing country such as Zambia, it was devastating. There are pitifully few resources for children with disabilities.
We knew Joseph’s outlook appeared dim, but he didn’t! He became the happiest baby in the nursery, clapping his hands, singing his own little song and scooting everywhere on his hips almost as fast as his age mates could run. Joseph seemed to know something we didn’t about his future. Eventually we all began to see an invisible protective hand on Joseph’s life bringing a wonderful provision to pass.
We just happened to be blessed with three different physical therapists on mission teams this year who together laid out daily therapy and purchased the equipment needed for Joseph to improve. By June, Joseph could stand, holding onto something, or someone for support. In July, one of the PTs showed him how to walk, holding the back of a child’s chair like a walker.
There is another joyous development in Joseph’s story. His mother found work and a place to live. She visited frequently and learned how to care for her special son. One unforgettable day Joseph went home with his mother. Tears filled her eyes when she said how she had thought he would die, how she loves Joseph more than ever, and how grateful she is to the helping hands in our children’s home.
We are grateful that Joseph is back at home with his mother and now walking!
Hello, I am an abandoned child. My name is David. My parents didn’t give me this name or any other. The nice people at the children’s home did. All I know is that I was born on 5th July, 2010 as a premature baby. I must have been premature because my birth weight was only 2.65 pounds. My mother could not deliver me the normal way so they cut her open and lifted me out.
According to hospital records, she had to stay in the hospital for an additional four weeks before she recovered from the Caesarian section which she underwent. Upon recovering, however, my mother left the hospital before she was formally discharged, leaving me behind at the University Teaching Hospital. The hospital authorities then informed the Social Welfare people who took me to the home.
I was admitted here with my new family on the 5th of August, 2010 exactly one month after I was born. My left arm is deformed but no one seems to know what brought that on and the medical records make no mention of it. I am doing okay here and the people are very nice. They hold me close when I cry and they feed me well, but I miss my mother. I had gotten used to her feel, her face and her smell. I still can’t believe that she has left me to face life on my own; I am only one month old. However, the nice nurses here sing over me and tell me that God will heal my heart and that makes me feel better. So I feel safe being here. They also pray that God will bring a family that will take me home and love me. It’s nice to meet you.