Advent is my favorite season. I’ve always loved the excitement, the time to reflect, the hope, and the newness that surrounds this season. But this year Advent is holding a bit more significance.
Last Tuesday we got a message about a little girl who was being recommended to come to SCH. We’re not actively taking new kids and our first thoughts were no, we can’t do it. We already have too many kids and not enough funds. And then we got her MRI reports and my heart dropped as I read them. They were not good. One thing lead to another and on Saturday we got the news that Talitha was being recommended to be discharged from the hospital with comfort measures. They was nothing else the doctors could do for her neuro degenerative disease. She’s just over a year old and we’re not sure if she has days, weeks, or months to live but we know that her time left on earth is limited.
Over the past couple of days I’ve been thinking of Mary’s yes, her yes to the unknown, her yes to pain, her yes to love. Because like Mary we have a choice. We could turn away from this pain that will inevitably happen. We could say no and save our hearts. But we are knowingly walking into pain and trusting, like Mary did 2,000 years ago and countless other mothers have done both before and after her. My heart pains for Talitha’s mom. For the choice she made. She took good care of her for her first year of life and then after devastating news made a tough choice. I don’t agree with her choice but I cannot imagine being in her place and the pain that preceded her decision and the pain she’s currently feeling. But what an honor it is to stand in the gap for this hurting mom and love her daughter. To say yes even when it’s easier to say no.
Taking in Talitha doesn’t logically make any sense. Brittany and I already have 13 high needs kids in our house. Taking Talitha will temporarily push us to 14. Our resources are already stretched thin for all the kids at SCH. But kids like Talitha are who SCH exists for. For the kids that have no where else to go that can meet their needs. And SCH has run off faith for some time. I can look back at all the kids we have taken in the past and see where god has provided. See where we jumped with faith and our needs were met. And see when we didn’t jump with faith and children that we should have taken slipped through the cracks. If nothing else the past 2.5 years has shown me that when I’m really in tune with what god wants he always provides, even in ways I don’t expect or see at the time. For about the past year I’ve had a feeling that we were going to be getting a child who needed end of life care. And now I know that god in his infinite knowledge was preparing my heart all along. So despite all logic we will take Talitha and love on her until she is called home. And although I waver between praying for a miracle and praying for her to be comfortable and feel no pain, I rest knowing that god already knows his plan for her and we just have to trust in him and his infinite wisdom.
In this advent season please keep us and Talitha in your prayers. Keep the other kid in your prayers. Many of them can’t understand but some of them will. It’s not an easy thing we are asking them to do. We’re bringing home a baby that won’t be with us for a long time. They are used to people coming and going but this is a bit different. Pray for their hearts and understanding and for our staff as well as they walk this journey with us. Pray for Talitha’s birth family. Pray that they will be open to visiting her and spending time with her. And that they will come to peace with her life and eventual death. Pray for Brittany and I as we love and open our hearts to this baby. We are navigating hospice care and there’s not a lot of framework for that here and there’s no framework for what that looks like for your heart. Nothing is easy about this situation but we know that god has a plan and that Talitha’s life has meaning and purpose no matter how long or short.