Tag Archives: selfless

a broken best

This partial post was written by my friend, Nicole A Webb.  Her selfless love hosting a child with cancer, on a medical mission from Africa, will inspire you to give your best as well, even when it’s broken.

I stared at the form in front of me searching for a box labeled “imposter”.  I was not her “parent” or her “legal guardian”. I felt I had no right to sign for her medical care, though there was a single piece of paper on file stating otherwise.  I made a hasty in the “other” box, then walked away avoiding eye contact with the receptionist.  With each step to the waiting area, my weight doubled under the knowledge that I just gave permission for a child who is not my own to be poisoned.

Ma had been with our family just two weeks before her first chemotherapy treatment.  She came to the States from Cote d’Ivoire, Africa, through a medical missions organization.  Doctors in Africa originally thought she had glaucoma, and that she would return to her family after surgery and a 2-month stay.  Doctors here determined she instead had retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer.  One eye couldn’t be saved.  A lengthy treatment plan was put into motion to save her life, then to save her eyesight.

“Ma Sylla,” the nasally voice of the in-take nurse roamed across the waiting room and scratched my ears like sandpaper.

“It’s Ma, like the month of May,” I said, attempting politeness.

“I’ll make a note of that on her chart,” the nurse mumbled.  They never said it wrong again.

I felt an immediate pang of guilt for my abruptness.  I don’t know how her name is actually pronounced, or what her family calls her.  Ma, like the month of May, is just the name we imposed on her.  She had only been on this earth a sickly single year, so she was unable to otherwise correct us.

After taking her weight, height, blood pressure and temperature, which terrified her, we made our way to an infusion chair.  We were given a blanket and pillow and told to make ourselves comfortable.  As if.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

Ma had buried her head into my chest during her vitals and only now, several minutes after the nurse had vacated our presence, did she dare to take a peek.  She gazed up at me with her one remaining dark chocolate brown eye.

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Please click here to read the ending to this inspiring post and learn more about Nicole and her family.


Wouldn’t it be better to adopt children from the United States?”

“Isn’t it mean to take a child from their culture?”

“How can you adopt children who speak another language?”

“Isn’t it cheaper to adopt through foster care?”

“Don’t you already have four children?”

We have asked these same questions of ourselves…

Why, yes, it might be easier to adopt five children from the United States.

It is unfortunate that these children are leaving their country.

It would be more convenient if the children had English as their native tongue.

It would be cheaper to adopt five children through foster care in the U.S.

I do have four biological children.

But really, what is important here?  What really matters in the end? That we “take care of our own here in the US” or that we take care of God’s children?

Adoptees Worth it!

The fact of the matter is, these children have almost zero chance of being adopted in their own country, either singly (which would be devastating to these siblings who are intimately bonded to each other) or most certainly as a group of five.  As the Orphan Court Director said when told that a family wanted to adopt all five siblings, “no one here will do that.” In fact, it is rare for sibling groups this large to stay intact, here or abroad.

Adoptable vs unadoptable

It appears that some of the children probably have some developmental delays, further decreasing their chances of being adopted.  Worldwide adoption statistics show over and over that girls are preferred over boys, younger children are preferred over older children, and children without developmental delays are preferred over children with special needs. The facts are that these children have the odds stacked HUGELY against them! They have been held in an orphanage for three years already.  They have now been split apart and the statistics support the conclusion that the boys would probably stay there until they age out of the system. The entire sibling group would likely never be reunited in a family together.


And to answer the question, “why would anyone adopt from an orphanage versus the foster system, especially when adopting from the foster system here in the US would cost so much less money?” Well, I can only speak for myself, but I feel strongly that children were never, ever, meant to be raised in an institution. We are fortunate to live in a country that no longer has orphanages. As broken as our own foster care system may be, I feel that it is still better than living in an institution. However, there are more than 8 million children currently living in orphanages.  Georgette Mulheir, the Executive Officer of Lumos, gives these startling statistics about children who are raised in institutions:

“…children raised in orphanages are 10 times more likely to be involved in prostitution, 40 times more likely to have a criminal record and — shockingly — 500 times more likely to commit suicide.”

There are vast differences between institutions, some much, much better than others. However, in the end, they all lack what a child needs most – a family.

So for those who ask if it is it cruel to remove a child from his or her country, I would ask is it cruel to leave them in an institution or separated from their siblings when we have the ability and desire to reunite them as a family?

To those who ask if it is hard that they don’t speak English as their native language,  I would say that it is not nearly as hard as worrying about your siblings who have been taken away from you after already losing your parents.

In response to the question, “Is it expensive to adopt five children internationally?”  I would say reuniting siblings into a forever home of love is priceless.

In a perfect world there would be no need for orphanages, foster care, or adoption.  In a perfect world all children would have all of their needs met all of the time. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world. I am inspired by the awareness of these problems and of organizations such as Lumos who are working towards changing the circumstances that lead to children being orphans in the first place, such as poverty and disabilities.  In her TED talk, Mulheir calls for “radical resource redistribution” that would channel the monies that are currently being used to fund orphanages into programs that would support birth parents and foster families, both financially and otherwise.  The only problem for my kiddos, is that change takes time.

So, why them? I don’t know why. Ask God.  He led us down this path. He whispered in our ears that these were the children we were to call our own.  He has convicted us countless times, in many ways, that this is indeed the path we are supposed to be walking.    We trust that He has a plan. He knows.  Maybe someday we will look back and understand why and maybe we will never know this side of Heaven. I honestly don’t know. But I do know that we have been called to these specific children.  I trust Him.

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