I have created this blog for anyone that wants regular updates about my time here in Malawi. I am currently volunteering my time to the Ministry of Hope Crisis Nursery and Orphan Feeding Centers.  I am a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse helping to care for the orphaned, abandoned and ill babies of Malawi.  I will try to post updates as often as I can. I thank you all for your support and prayers. Please send them to the babies, children, and people of Africa too. I hope in the pictures you are able to get a small idea of what life is like here for me, but mainly the people of Malawi.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Day with Mada

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As I have mentioned in previous posts, Mada has been the source first, of so much joy and happiness, and secondly so much heartache. Sometimes I wonder why I love this little soul the way that I do. Most of it I can't explain, but I do know she is my definition of love. It has been a year since I have last seen her and so much has changed in her life. Some of you may know and most do not but I tried to adopt Mada earlier this year. The government has very strict laws about becoming a resident for 18 months before you adopt any children from the country. I pretty much got slammed down. When I had made calls to the social worker here he had told me that her father consented to the adoption, which now I know is probably not true. In April she went to live with the receptionist from the nursery where she is currently being fostered. I had gotten word before I came back to Malawi that she was in the village with her father, which I also found to be untrue. From what I understand is that he does want her back, but he just wants the grandmother to raise her and not really take any responsibility. He has no money, no job even though he is a capable man to farm or do other work. Mada needs to get her meds twice a day and be seen for her doctors appointments once a month. He has no way to take care of these things and selfishly (at least I think) wants her back anyway. She is happy in her home and is well taken care of as it is now. It breaks my heart to think of her going to the village with her father.

So I had arranged to meet her foster mom in town today and pick up Mada. It was sort of a weird feeling to be taking her because I didn't want her to be scared. Mada smiled when she saw me, but I don't think she remembered me. When I took her and put her in the car she cried for a little bit and I wondered if I was doing the right thing. She quickly calmed, and by the time I got back to the house she was okay. I sat on the couch and she sat on my lap and I pulled out the toys that Courtney had so generously bought her before I left for Africa. She was entertained for over an hour, just sitting there playing. Her favorite was the appropriate little black baby doll Courtney found. There were none in Santa Barbara when we looked, so sad. Then she fell asleep on my lap for a while and it felt so good to just hold her. I started to cry and tried to fight back the tears. It is so hard to grasp an understanding of why this little girl has been plagued with such a terrible disease and never given a fair chance? Why she is so displaced, and why the laws are the way they are?
When Mada woke up we took her to lunch and then to get ice cream. Two things she has probably never gotten to do, and most likely won't get to do in the future. The whole day was just so good. Her little personality is still so cute and happy. She would mimic everything I would do and she liked to do a lot of pretend play. She kept feeding me imaginary things and we had to "feed" her baby doll too. She is talking some and would repeat stuff I would say, and Chris would speak some Chichewa to her as well which she understands better.
When it was time to take her back, I loaded up the clothes and toys Aunt Becky and Courtney so graciously bought her and a few things I had purchased and it pretty much filled the back seat of Chris's truck. I was a little embarrassed, but thought oh well, she loves it all. When we picked up her foster mom, she showed her her new dress right away. I had also printed out pictures of Mada and some of them being us together and put them in a little photo album. It made my day when Mada unprompted, kissed me in the picture that I was holding her. Maybe it was random, but I am going to believe it wasn't. Today was probably the biggest Christmas she will ever have and I told her foster mom that if she wanted to save any of it for Christmas she could.
I hope somehow love can span the globe and Mada can feel my love pouring inside her. Since leaving her it has been more difficult than I imagined and it has taken me several attempts to get through this entry. I am so sad inside, but I am happy to have had this special day. I will never forget it.


The Gulley's said...

Wow Bree! Sounds like you are having an amazing experience. You are in our prayers! Stay strong and continue to spread God's love.

Stephanie said...

What a sweetie! How old is she? I know she's well over a year, but she seems so tiny.

Bree said...

Mada turned two on October 17th. She is very tiny and some of the clothes I brought were 18 months and they fell straight off her. The children are significantly smaller here. A 5 month old can weigh 7lbs and it is "not alarming".

Anonymous said...

Hi Bree-
I've heard so much about you but have never had the pleasure to meet you. You have given such a gift to this little girl; the gift of love. The box of toys is truly a treasure chest of blessings for Mada, but the love you have given from your heart to hers is something that she will never forget and will always treasure. Thank you for doing what you do for these children. And thanks to my daughter Courtney for helping you do God's work. Her Malawi donation project will certainly bring relief to these poor babies.
I look forward to meeting you when you return to Santa Barbara.
Take care and enjoy your weeks ahead.
God Bless ya - Janice

Bethany Reine' said...

Mada looks so 'big'! She has really grown but is still her smiley self. it was so good to see you the other day. I'm praying for the rest of your time here in Malawi.

Grandma Becky said...

Dearest Briana -

This magic communication is such a wonder. I'm able to tell you how proud of you I am, and so are Mike, Peggy and Elizabeth. I'm visiting them for Thanksgiving. We all love you and wish you well on your work in Africa.
Grandma Becky