Ana and her mum arrived back in Jaffa yesterday, after spending almost a week at our new Jerusalem guest house; Ana and Ali were the very first Kurdish children to stay there. On the way to hospital today, Ana’s mum told us a story from her time there and she had forgotten her passport as she tried to go to visit the mosque. She had been stopped by the security and the only evidence she had to back up her story about why Ana was in Israel, was the blanket which Ana loves from Sheba hospital; she takes it everywhere with her, and so on this occasion, it was just as valuable as her passport! I love how Ana is so happy here in Israel, she knows that she can be anywhere, as long as her mum is with her.
As we reached the reception for the cleft palate surgery check up, Ana’s mum pulled out a big bag and presented it to one of the receptionists. She was filled with joy; the other 5 receptionists and all the patients stopped to watch her take out beautiful Kurdish clothes: long and black pieces with turquoise sequins, and with a beautiful hat adorned with golden coins in a chain. Ana’s mother had brought them to wear for Ana’s leaving party, but when she saw the receptionist at the previous appointment, and has found out that her grandma was Kurdish, in her true beautiful generous spirit, she had decided to give them away to the receptionist. It was so stunning to watch, by so many people and brought joy to the whole area.
Ana’s mum was then blessed by needing to wait only around 10 minutes to see the surgeon, who quickly examined Ana’s mouth and was easily able to pronounce her “perfect!”
We had a lovely little party for her this evening and they will go home to Kurdistan tomorrow! It is a sad time to be saying goodbye to these two again, they have brought so much life and joy to our community.
Please continue to pray for Ana, as her recovery and development in both her feeding and her speech needs a lot of work. Praise God, for everything that he has done and will continue to do in Ana’s life and her family.
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:3-5 ESV
It was a busy day ahead of us at the hospital today, but I knew it was going to be lovely, because I was due to spend the time with Ana and her mum. Our organised appointment was with the dietitian, as her palate has been repaired, Ana is starting to eat many foods orally. It has been really lovely to see this progress, but everyone agreed that for the tube wean, we needed some specialist help from the dietitian.
The other task which we had in mind was that Ana’s mum wanted to ask the PEG nurse who has helped Ana many times before, to replace the PEG.
As it turned out, the nurse who we knew was not working today! But, praise God because he opened the door for another nurse to help us, completely outside of her schedule. She took so much time to train the mother of Ana to change the PEG herself, and provided a lot of information and pieces of equipment. It was a very big blessing to meet her.
Ana was the last patient of the day to be seen by the dietitian, but also this appointment was well worth the wait. She was such a lovely lady and both and and Ana’s mum felt very confident in her advice. She helped by giving Ana’s mum a clear answer to the issues which we brought to her and drew up a feeding plan. She said that Ana was looking wonderful and was very happy with her height and weight curves. She also informed us that it is likely to take at least a year of work for Ana to develop the ability to fully feed orally. So, this gave us the peace to know that Ana’s mum can return home to Kurdistan after her surgical review next week, as she needs to go back to work.
I am very pleased for God’s provision during our time at the hospital today. Please pray for Ana to adjust well to the new feeding regime, she is going to get hungry to start off with! So hopefully she will develop her feeding skills easily.
Ana and her mum will go to Jerusalem tomorrow with Ali and his mum. They are going to be the first families who can be welcomed to our Jerusalem apartment. Please pray for their time there.
I received the happy phone call from Ana’s mum this afternoon, to say that Ana had been discharged. This is really lovely news, as I remember last year after her heart surgery, Ana had to stay in the hospital for some months. So I was happy that this time, everything seems to be going straightforward.
Ana was looking very beautiful, her lovely brown hair is long enough to start getting curly on the top, and is a beautiful colour with almost a tinge of red to it. She smiled and clapped when Sonia and I went into her room. She loved looking at her reflection in the mirror and copied some of the sounds and mouth shapes I made to her. She was really attentive and happy, and I am looking forward to be able to give her a little bit of speech therapy!
Ana’s mum was also looking extremely beautiful, and after she welcomed us into the room, she sweetly told us that she had rather a lot of bags….. Of course, true to form, she had gathered a large collection of cakes and treats from the hospital to bring home for the other children at Shevet! She is always so generous and thinking of ways she can go out of her way to be kind to others.
As we drove home, we happily remembered Ana’s first time in Israel and some of the other babies and mums. It was lovely and felt like family. It is sweet to be together again.
Please keep Ana and her devoted mum in your prayers. She will be going back to see the surgeon in the next few weeks to check the outcome of the surgery.
Ana was happy to see us today. Her Mother said Ana had been sad all morning but she was delighted to see us and enjoyed playing her version of peekaboo and talking to us in her own unique language. The surgery for her cleft palate went well and although she is still being fed via her PEG tube everything is healing as it should and she is now able to have sips of water.
Ana is such a charmer, serious and concerned at one moment and then laughing and giggling the next. We are hoping that once she is home at Shevet she will continue to heal and that we can help develop not only swallowing but also her speech which has been difficult for her with her mouth issues.
Please pray that Ana continues to recover quickly and that she will be able to come home to Shevet soon. Please also pray for Ana’s family who are missing Ana in Kurdistan and are looking forward to having her home.
I arrived at the ICU to visit Ana only to find out that she just moved to the second floor. As I got there they had arrived a few minutes earlier and were settling into the room now. After the surgery yesterday her mouth appears to be healing well. She seems fine but is unable to rest for a longer period of time. Please pray for her to calm down and get some sleep especially at the night which is also important for her mom so she can sleep to have enough energy throughout the day.
It was lovely to spend time with Mom! She speaks English very well and I enjoyed talking with her. We had tea together and I updated her about the other children at the hospital.
Please! Keep in mind to pray also for an open heart towards the gospel. For God’s hand in her and her family’s life. We want the children to heal and get a heart that works but most important it’s for them to have a heart that is safe for eternity.
Every time a child leaves to go home they get a video with lots of pictures showing their journey to get a ‘new heart’. So for Ana the title would be ‘Ana’s new heart’- let’s pray for a NEW heart for her and her family- in seeing the one true Saviour- Jesus.
Today very early in the morning, after more than 7 months waiting for this moment beautiful Ana was taken to the surgery room for her cleft palate repair. Mom is really amazing she is so strong, this is the fifth time that Ana went to the operation room. When I arrived to the hospital Ana was already in her surgery, maybe for at least 3 hours, so I waited with mom 3 hours. I had a beautiful time with her, I prayed for them, also we shared pictures when Anna was so little and we could remember some special people and times that we had together the first time when they came to Israel. At the end our waiting, mom was really anxious and a little worried because the surgery was really complex. But praise the lord the ENT doctor and surgeon doctor came out smiling and told us that Ana was out of her surgery and everything seems good. Mom and I had a big hug. I was really happy, also the doctor told us that they were able to remove some liquid that she had in the ears, to help her hearing. One of the doctors could speak Arabic so it was really great for mom.
When I entered to the recovery area to see our beautiful Ana she was sleeping, they wrapped her hands because for the next few hours she cannot touch her mouth. Mom was really happy to see her brave baby after a long time in the recovery area. Ana was taken to the Pediatric ICU she is going to be there for today and hopefully tomorrow she is going to be in the normal ward. Please pray for this time of recovery for strength for Ana and mom. I really look forward to seeing Ana eating and not using her PEG anymore, and her speech developing.
While waiting to be admitted for surgery we went to the children’s area. This precious girl is rarely still as you can see from this slightly blurry photo. She is in constant motion unless she sees something she likes and then she can stare so intently it can be unnerving in one so young. Not able to crawl, she shuffles around at a remarkable rate and keeps us all on our toes.
She was assessed today by the anesthetist and admitted for a blood test and echo prior to surgery on the 14th. Her mother has been incredible throughout; so patient and keeping Ana occupied which is not easy with someone so active. She is very excited about the possibility that Ana will be able to eat and talk properly. Please pray that Ana gets all the tests she needs in a timely manner as although optimistic, her mother is very tired and is looking forward to returning to Kurdistan.
We are so happy to have Ana back with us! This time, Ana is in Israel for cleft palate surgery. Today we went to see the committee that authorizes the surgery. One of the surgeons first reactions was that Ana wasn’t ready and needed to wait 3 to 4 months to be able to have surgery – I almost cried! I told the doctor that they have already waited seven months in Kurdistan, and the recommendation given to Ana was to wait three to four months to come. To be extra safe, we had them wait seven to be sure that surgery was going to be possible. After hearing this, he asked again about Ana’s age and checked again with some special tweezers that stimulated Ana’s muscles inside her throat and he saw what he needed: the muscles are strong enough! So he said yes we can operate! So Ana will be admitted next week to have her surgery. Mom is extremely happy and so are we. Praise God for His goodness and perfect time for everything!
Ana, who arrived last night from Kurdistan, had a consultation for her cleft palate repair this morning! This lovely girl was at Shevet last year for heart surgery and has returned for a surgery to correct her cleft palate; her mum speaks very good English (she told Rahel and I that she was learned primarily through films) and is a very sweet lady. Ana is a quiet, endearing little girl with a big personality, so she is always a joy to be around.
While we waited to see the doctor, she and her mum were so patient, but when we went into the room, and the doctor examined inside her mouth and ears, she became inconsolable. The exam only last two minutes, and the moment mum held her, Ana became calm again. As we were leaving Ana’s mum picked up a Hebrew magazine, and said ‘I want to learn!’ I’m so thankful for Ana and her mum! They are blessing to have at Shevet. Please pray for God’s favour over the date and time of Ana’s surgery!