After the awesome farewell party last night for Arya, it was a very early trip to the airport this morning. We were all a little sleep-deprived as we left for the airport at 4 am and wound our way quietly through the early morning traffic. It gave me time to think back over the last four months the family spent here.
Arya and his mother have been so patient and kind to all the other families here. Things at times seemed to move very slowly for Arya and his mother was always very patient and attentive to her son. So it was with much joy and a large amount of sadness that we saw them off back to Kurdistan today. It is never easy saying goodbye to families we have grown to love deeply and have spent so much time getting to know.
It is true that parting is such sweet sorrow. I rest in the knowledge they are returning to their families back home who have graciously allowed them to be with us for these last few months. It has been a pleasure and a privilege getting to know this awesome family.
Arya and his mom were ready and eagerly waiting when I came over to get them this morning. Arya cheerfully agreed to letting me buckle him into his car seat, and chattered away the whole ride to the hospital.
As soon as we got to the cardiac clinic and Arya saw the toy cars, he couldn’t wait to climb into one.
He was more than a little disappointed when his name was called and he had to leave his car behind.
He was even more disappointed when one echo turned into three, as his cardiologist wanted to be especially sure he saw everything very well.
“Since we hope it’s the last time, we want to be extra sure,” the doctor explained. Arya is not a big fan of echoes and made sure the doctors had to work extra hard to get all the images, but some sedatives helped calm him down and he was grinning and patting the doctor on the knee by the end of the exam.
All the work and waiting were worth it in the end. Arya’s mother very hopefully asked the doctor in English, “Good? Kurdistan?” He nodded. “It’s very good, you can go to Kurdistan.”
This is such good news for Arya and his mom, who have been here for more than four months now. When his mom asked him if he was ready to go home to his dad and sisters, Arya grinned big and nodded. He was sure to inspect his medical reports himself before determining that we were, in fact, good to go, and promptly fell fast asleep in his carseat before we were even out of the hospital campus.
We’re so grateful for Arya’s surgery and recovery, and we’re looking forward to sending him off with a special farewell party tomorrow night.
While waiting for his next follow-up echo at Sheba Hospital which is in ten days, Arya is having lots of fun with us and the other children in our community house. He is always up to making jokes and funny faces, which makes us smile every day. He is now also spending more and more time with the other kids, doing what they are doing or trying to walk like they do. Or they have so much energy that they start rolling over the carpet in the living room.
Arya and his mother have been really patient over the last weeks. Even so, we have a great time with them and love to have them in our house, we hope that they will hear good news after Arya’s next echo. God willing they can then go home to Kurdistan to be with their family again.
Please pray in the meantime for them and especially for Arya’s health.
After almost three and a half months in Israel, adorable Arya and his mom still have to wait for more echos to find out when they can finally be reunited with their family.
For the time being, Arya is making everyone’s day better in our Ashdod base. When you enter in the morning, he’s the first one to wave at you and imitate your facial expressions until you just have to start smiling. On the other hand, he’s not just observing our daily work, but actually wants to help. Therefore he was really interested in me cleaning a room in the family house and tried to help me wipe a few shelves.
For every task he accomplishes, he happily shows his mother what he did. Arya’s mother is so patiently waiting for all of Arya’s treatments to be done; she misses her daughters in Kurdistan very much yet she’s always so kind to every one of us.
Between cleaning sessions Arya is always up for a little photo-shooting and is absolutely cute in every one of the pictures. Lately he’s been using his time waiting for the next echo to practice walking and is really eager to stand up everywhere he can.
Thank you for your prayers for Arya and his kind mother.
Arya finally had his hearing test today at Sheba Hospital. While waiting for his appointment I had a lot of fun with him and he was constantly seeking my attention. Also the hearing test was a lot of fun for him. I heard him laughing from outside of the room most of the time. Only the headphones he didn’t like.
Once the hearing test was done, the lady doing the test told me that Arya’s ear infection has influenced his hearing on the right ear a little. In a surgery they want to fix this by widening the canal between the ears and the nose. Before that, he will have another appointment with the doctor.
It was a fun day for Arya and once we were finished with his appointment, he played for the rest of the time together with the other children on the hospital playground.
Thank God Arya’s hearing is not that badly influenced by the infection and he’s still able to hear. Let’s pray that everything goes well in the future and that his hearing doesn’t get worse.
After Arya had to go to the ER because of an ear infection, we went to the ENT doctor today. Arya often had trouble with ear infections previously in Kurdistan. Now finally, solutions for this problem should be found.
First, the doctor asked us several questions and then he looked at Arya’s ear, greatly enlarged. His assessment is that the infections will continue for a few more years. To prevent them from getting stuck in his ears, causing a fever or getting into the blood stream, Arya may be given ventilating tubes for his ears. This is to get the infections out.
Before that, however, the doctor would like to make an appointment for a hearing test. Until then, Arya is scheduled to take antibiotics for another week. After the appointment, coworker Doro joined us and really had fun with Arya. Later she sent me this video.
May God continue to stand faithfully by Arya’s side and give wisdom to the doctors of Israel and Kurdistan in their decisions.
Our gorgeous little Arya developed another ear infection late yesterday afternoon and by evening it was causing him some discomfort.
After some paracetamol for overnight, we planned an early morning run to the Pediatric ER of Sheba Medical Center to get our little man looked at.
Coworker Doro and I wove our way quietly through the early morning traffic as Arya enjoyed another sleep. We waited for Arya to be seen in the ER while his mother kept him amused by blowing him lots of bubbles.
Finally we were able to see the doctor, and then began the usual barrage of questions that need to answered. Arya, to his credit, did well holding it together. Then came time for the doctors to check him out.
Well, a little man can only take poking and prodding for so long before he decides enough is enough. Having to do this three times with three different doctors proved a little too much at such an early hour in the the morning. Thankfully, mum was there to help dry the tears and calm the waters. Eventually things seemed better after snuggling awhile with mum. It still amazes me what a little mother’s love can do.
Another course of antibiotics and some ear flushing should see our little man back to his usual happy self. Please pray for Arya’s up-coming ENT appointment to hopefully help with his ongoing ear infections. Lord we thank you for this lovely cheerful man and pray that you watch over him and his awesome mother.
Our sweet Arya and his mom were all smiles today and for good reason– just six days after his major surgery, he is already discharged from Sheba!
Arya is feeling great after surgery and has regained his appetite and then some. All he wanted to do the whole time we waited for his report was eat, and his mom said he was constantly asking for food since 2 in the morning.
Arya has an echo in a week, and in the meantime, he’s settled right back in to life in Ashdod. Please pray that he’ll remain stable and continue to recover well over the next week.
That made me really happy! When I walked into the ICU at Sheba Medical Center today, I could already see Arya smiling through the window. Having had his surgery a few days ago he is in great condition, no longer requiring oxygen support and can probably be transferred to the secondary ICU tomorrow. Praise God for healing Arya so well. Before his surgery, our team were concerned as Arya had a complicated heart condition. How fortunate that God pushes through his plan in spite of every doubt!
When I finally entered Arya’s room, he generously offered me a cookie. I declined with thanks because I didn’t want to disregard the strict hygiene standards in the ICU. However, Arya kept going, as it is common in Kurdish culture.
Finally, I capitulated and quickly slipped the cookie under my facemask. Thank you, Arya, for the delicious cookie!
This night at one we already got a picture from Arya’s mom how he is sitting in his bed, extubated and eating chocolate pudding. Probably our poor little guy was still very hungry as we was nearly allowed to eat the day before his surgery. When we visited him later in the day he was awake but not feeling very well what isn’t surprising after such a big surgery just yesterday. He is still getting some oxygen support but he looks so much better now – he isn’t fully blue and his lips are red and not purple anymore! Please pray that he will continue to improve that well and will soon also feel better!
First thing this morning, I found Arya and his mom in the intermediate ICU, patiently waiting for his surgery.
It was hard to believe the day had finally arrived after three months of waiting.
Even though it was early, Arya was wide awake and as full of energy as ever.
Soon enough, the doctors arrived to take Arya into surgery. His mom kissed him goodbye and they wheeled him into the operating room.
All morning and into the early afternoon , we waited along with a group of other moms from Kurdistan and Gaza who all gathered to support Arya’s mom. It’s surprising how much joy and laughter can be found even in such an anxious situation. After five hours, I met the head surgeon coming out of the ICU. “It’s done and everything went well, can you tell the mother?” It’s the best feeling to deliver such good news. “Praise God,” Arya’s mom kept saying in Kurdish.
It was another hour or two before she could go see him in his room, and she started taking photos right away to send to her family. Arya’s surgery today was the first of two needed to reroute blood around and through his single-ventricle heart. He’ll need the next one in a few years, but for now, we’re so thankful for a successful first step.
This morning at 8:30 Arya had to start fasting because he was scheduled for a CT scan in the afternoon. A bit later we left for the hospital where he still had to wait for a while. We already had heard in the morning that Arya might be admitted for his after the MRI but that the head nurse first needs to look at him because of his ear infection and decide if they can do surgery for him. But she had good news for us and cleared him for his surgery!! His mom was so happy that finally after waiting for three months, things are going fast.
Later we waited for more than two hours for his MRI and poor Arya didn’t like that at all as he was very hungry. We tried to distract him with everything we had: he was allowed to steel our masks and to draw a little bit.
Finally he went into his MRI at five and two and a half hours later I could bring him and his mother to the ICU where they started to admit him.
Arya was much happier there as he could eat again! They asked the mom a few questions, explained to her a few things and I had fun playing with Arya and his water bottle. It was a long day for little Ari (how his mom always calls him) and tomorrow will be even a bigger day as he will finally get his Glenn surgery. But right now Arya is enjoying the few hours between his MRI and surgery where he is allowed to eat. Please pray for a successful surgery tomorrow morning!
This has been a cause for concern for us. At our family home in Ashdod, Arya’s ear had become infected and he had a slight fever. It was difficult for us to assess the risk of inflammation because Arya is in a difficult situation anyway in that his oxygen levels often drops.
That’s why coworker Lena and I made our way to Sheba Hospital Pediatric ER. Here the doctors quickly did some tests and then gave the ‘all-clear.’ With appropriate medicine for Arya, we were able to drive back to our home in Ashdod.
But before that, we quickly said hello to Arya’s Kurdish friend (on right above), who was admitted for his treatment a few hours ago. He happily shouted “A, A,” meaning Arya, and ran towards him. How nice to see the two so happy together. May God be with both of them in the future and heal them.
In two week’s time, Arya will finally have his MRI appointment at Sheba Hospital, an appointment he has had to wait so long for. Without the imaging, the doctors can’t operate on him, so the MRI is a necessary first step.
It’s hard for his mother to just wait, doing life without the rest of her family, but all this hard waiting time is made better by Arya’s smile and humor. He is known for imitating every one of us in every possible situation. It’s funny to see him trying to make faces and just enjoying himself. He always brings a smile to all the people around him. So while Arya still has to wait, he makes the best of it and as a side-effect, spreads happiness all over the place.
I added this video to show you what a pleasure it is to have this sweet boy around. Let’s pray together for Arya and his mother in their time here. Pray for strength and endurance in the unknowing and for protection from our heavenly Father. Praise the Lord for little Arya.
Arya is already two months in Israël and is patiently waiting with his mother for the next steps for him.
Right now Arya is waiting for a brain and spinal MRI, which is scheduled in the middle of January. We are trying really hard to reschedule the MRI earlier, but until now we didn’t have luck with that. It is frustrating for Arya’s mother to have to wait so long for surgery, especially because Arya’s normal saturation does not come above 75 and we see that he needs this surgery as soon as possible.
For us it is not a problem to have Arya’s mother and Arya with us in Ashdod. The mother is so kind and patient and we are getting to know each other better every day. Arya is a bundle of joy, making funny faces and playing with his football. Please pray for him. We need God to work on Arya’s heart to be able to heal. Please pray for patience for Arya’s mother who misses her other children and husband. And we praise God for everything that he has already done in Arya’s life.
We made our way to Sheba hospital this morning for Arya’s first CT scan. It was very early he was in a really good mood and was excited to have an adventure.
At the Imaging Clinic, we had to wait for a long time so Arya decided to work on his career as a football player, or as the United States American’s call it, a “soccer“ professional. He is not walking, but he found his way to play with me and it was so much fun and made the waiting time easier. When it was his name that was called Arya became a little bit scared and we had to hold him while he got the anesthesia so he wouldn’t move too much. After the 20 minutes of scanning him he was brought to a bed where he slowly woke up from the anesthetic. This whole day he made his mother and me laugh more than once and the long hours became a little bit shorter. Little Arya stays with us in Ashdod until there is further treatment from his cardiologists.
Thank the Lord for joyful Arya and that he was so patient and happy all day. We hope and pray for successful treatment for Arya and for his time here in Israel.
Today we went on a special trip. The families had the special request for a long time to go to the beach. And today my colleague Jakob and I were able to fulfil their wish. Of course we also looked forward to spending the day with the families at the beach.
The children really enjoyed being out of the house and being able to explore a new environment. The older kids enjoyed the water and the sand. However, Arya wasn’t so convinced yet. If you had him in your arms and put his little feet in the water, he was fine. But he didn’t enjoy sitting in the sand at all.
Arya and I sat together on the picnic blanket, playing with shells and watched the kite-surfers. He was fascinated and enthusiastic about the surfers, he pointed always with his little finger at the surfers.
His mom really enjoyed the time too. She took lots of pictures and collected shells. It was nice to see all the mothers relaxed and enjoying the time.
Please pray especially for Arya and his mother for their time in Ashdod and for all upcoming treatments.
Cute little Arya was discharged from the Pediatric Cardiac ICU of Sheba’s Children’s hospital today after having his diagnostic cath on Tuesday. When I visited him in the morning, he was really happy with a big smile all over his face. His mother and he had to wait a long time for us to leave the hospital and get back to Ashdod, so they spent some time in the waiting area and with the other kids. After this long day of waiting, Arya really made us being stuck in traffic a funny time, especially when he tried to repeat everything we said.
Arya has to wait in Ashdod now for the next appointments towards his surgery.
We thank God that Arya was able to go home with us today and that this cute boy is radiating so much happiness. We pray God would continue to be with him and his mother for everything that is coming and that He would keep his loving hand over them.
When coworker Craig and I arrived at Sheba Medical Center this morning, the first thing we saw was Arya sitting in a toy car. Together with his mother and the mother of another Kurdish boy, he was waiting to start his catherization.
Coworker Craig and I tried to let him feel as comfortable as possible before his catherization and pushed him across the pediatric ward in the car. How nice to see him so happy!
After he had finished his catheterization a few hours later, I asked a nurse how it went. Thank God he is fine and has even been able to start eating and drinking.
God willing, he can return to our family home in Ashdod tomorrow. Praise the Lord that He is with Arya.
Today, Arya was hospitalized at Sheba in preparation for a catheterization tomorrow.
He was all smiles for most of the day and loved the cars in the waiting room.
He has an ornery but sweet personality and he alternated between posing for the camera and blowing kisses to everyone walking by.
Arya’s cath tomorrow is planned to be diagnostic, but the doctors may decide to dilate or place a stent in his pulmonary artery if it is necessary.
It’s the first in a series of procedures necessary to treat his complex single-ventricle heart. After this cath, he will need surgery to reroute blood from the upper half of his body straight to his lungs. In a year or two he will need another surgery to perform the same process for blood from the lower half of his body.
At the end of a long day, Arya was content to settle down with his mom to enjoy some cookies in his hospital room. Please pray for a good night of rest and a successful procedure tomorrow.
Early this morning we brought our friend Arya to Sheba Hospital for an ultrasound. The doctors wanted to have those pictures before Arya has his Cath next week.
It went all very fast and easily, but as we had to wait for a car to get back to Ashdod. I had a lot of time to play with the cute boy. He had a lot of fun playing with one balloon he got in the hospital, loved scooting around in the hospital floor and very much enjoyed his apple.
In one week he will get admitted for his Cath and until then – we enjoy the time we have together with him and his mom in Ashdod. Thank you for all your prayers for our cute boy!
Our new Kurdish kid Arya had his first echo at Sheba hospital today. He doesn’t like when we take his oxygen at home so we knew he probably wouldn’t like all the tests and the echo today.
Before he had his echo, we went to do a blood test because the doctors need to collect as much health data as possible before they can work on a surgical plan. After lots of tears at the blood test, Arya had his echo which was also followed by lots of crying. For the doctors it was very hard to get a clear ultrasound picture of his heart, so they decided to give him a sedative. This really helped with his anxiety of the doctors and he calmed down enough that they could get the data they needed. After a very long day, he came back to Ashdod with us. Here he has to wait with his mother for the surgical plan the doctors will start to work on after today. The doctors told us that his heart is very complicated because there are several defects which will make the treatment harder. The next steps will be a diagnostic cath and a CT scan.
We thank the Lord that we have the opportunity to have this cute new baby from Kurdistan with us and that he is able to receive the care he needs at Sheba Hospital. We pray for his stay with us and his lovely mother.
Today we welcomed Arya, his mother and two other families from Kurdistan, who arrived at Ben Gurion Airport this morning. After I finally met them at the airport, we went together back to Ashdod and little Arya cried most of the way. It was a long and tiring trip for them, so they were really glad when we finally reached Ashdod.
Not long afterwards, Arya was happy again, sitting on his bed and playing with a toy. Unfortunately, he has his foot in a cast which makes him unable to walk by himself right now.
Feel encouraged to join our prayers for Arya. Even as he is currently not able to walk and his treatment begins soon, we pray for Arya’s healing. We pray for restored strength for his mother, and for them both to navigate successfully all that lays ahead of them.