In the bed next to my sweet little one in that Chinese ICU, a little six day old baby lay. I didn’t take much notice of him at first, another baby on a ventilator among the rows. Not until I overheard one quiet doctor’s words to another – “The surgery? It’s too expensive. I don’t think his parents can pay. They have sacrificed everything they have, but it’s not enough. We can’t do the surgery without the funds… so they are going to have to choose.”
They. Are. Going. To. Have. To. Choose.
My heart broke. Those parents – without health insurance. Without the cash in hand for the cost of an unfathomably expensive open-heart surgery. Knowing full well that, if they were to choose to abandon… to walk away… there are systems in place to support the orphan. But friends, where oh where are the systems for the family?
Who will stand with them – if not us?
Imagine for a moment – your very first child is nearly here. Just days or even hours now, spent eagerly anticipating the arrival. The moment that sweet baby is set in your arms, you know you would do anything for that child – no matter what.
Imagine for a moment – that in the country you call home? Medical insurance is an extravagant luxury, not a guarantee, most assuredly not a right.
Imagine for a moment – how, when that doctor walks through the door carrying the words no new parent ever wants to hear, your heart sinks and breaks and knows all at once the choice it must make.
“I’m so sorry – your child? She has a complex heart defect. She will require several open-heart surgeries to survive. The cost must be paid in full before we can operate – can you make the payment?”
It’s an astronomical sum, one that no farming family could hope to afford. In the space of two heartbeats, those parents are faced with an unspeakable decision.
“Do we take our child home, knowing she will die? Or do we kiss her one last time and walk away – knowing full well that there are systems to support the orphan.”
These families. Hoping beyond hope that an institution will cover all surgical costs. Believing that through this heart-wrenching goodbye? A life will be saved. Hope will be found. A heart will be healed – but leaving with their own so broken.
Imagine for a moment – that we aren’t actually imagining at all.
The devastating reality is that hundreds of thousands of children around the world are abandoned, simply because parents do not have the resources to afford their extensive medical care. We believe that this narrative should not be their story. Morning Star Foundation exists to help orphaned and needy children with cardiac defects, throughout Uganda and China. We strongly advocate for orphans with severe heart disease, provide them with surgeries, and care for them until adoption, but our hearts truly beat for these families – these families who have lost all hope.
We believe that every child deserves their chance for hope, for LIFE, with a family right by their side. Morning Star’s Love Project partners with these families in China and Uganda, working to provide the necessary funds and arrangements for surgery, so that these parents? They walk out those hospital doors with a baby heavy in their arms – instead of weighing on their hearts.
We believe the Love Project is the future of orphan care – supporting the orphan, while standing for the family – preserving the family. This I know without a doubt – as we stand beside these parents so brave, watching hope shine through – this fight? It is one worth fighting.
I walked out of that ICU, and found that tiny baby’s father. Sitting on the cold, dirty floor – head held in hands. The tears streaming down that new daddy’s face… the way his hands shook when he held mine. It told me everything I needed to know. He would do whatever it took to save his baby’s life – even if that meant saying goodbye.
Friends, I grasped his hands and was able to tell him that THAT narrative? Would not be their story. Family after family that has come through our Love Project – hearts repaired. Hope restored. Family preserved. Baby Song. Baby Wei. Baby Qi. The list goes on and on. Sons and Daughters. Treasured. Loved. Forever.
Supporting the orphan – but standing for the family. It’s go time.
For more information about our projects, visit our website.
– guest post by Meredith Toering, International Director Morning Star Foundation