Adil's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

In the Ward

Posted on Thu, 04/07/2016 - 20:20 by Ruth Zellweger

Our little friend Adil was moved this afternoon to the children's ward after his last chest-tube was taken out and his echo confirmed that he is recovering well! Praise God!

Adil's father is happy and very thankful that his son is doing so well.

Our hospital crew had the chance to sit for a while with them and talk with Adil. We hope to soon welcome them back in Jerusalem and we are looking forward to their time with us.

Calm and Happy

Posted on Wed, 04/06/2016 - 18:22 by Christelle Fonjallaz
I had the chance to spend some time at the hospital today with Adil! In contrast to last time, Adil seemed really calm and happy today. Of course, he seemed a little bit more tired than usual, but I think that after such a surgery it's already beautiful to see him like this! 
His father was also doing well. He was very nice to us, offering some things to drink and to eat! He was also really patient and full of love with his son. We didn't spend so much time with them because of the busy schedule of the day, but I enjoyed playing a little bit with Adil and sharing smiles. 

We continue to pray for Adil and his father; for Adil's recovery and for their time in the hospital.

Thirsty For Water

Posted on Mon, 04/04/2016 - 22:32 by Brenda Hofer

In John chapter 4, Yeshua engages with a Samaritan woman and declares "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” This chapter came to mind when visiting Adil and his father in the ICU today.

A team of four of us headed out this morning looking forward to seeing the Shevet kiddos. When I inspected how Adil was doing, today being the day after surgery, he was fidgety and crying most of the morning. He would not stay still, and they had his little wrists in restraints to keep him from disconnecting any tubes etc. It was difficult to see him like this. He seemed so unhappy, yet the nursing staff continued working on him giving medications and making sure his vitals were okay.

Adil's father said he already had an echo which showed good results, and he was extubated by the time I came to see him. Adil's father was apprehensive wanting to see that his son was comfortable. Apparently, Adil was thirsty (due to his recent extubation) so the staff gave him a few sips of water. I hummed a few lullabies and stroked his forehead, and eventually he calmed down.  The medications and water really helped and started taking effect. He soon fell asleep, and he stayed sleeping for the rest of the time I was in the ICU.    

By God's Grace - Adil's Surgery

Posted on Sun, 04/03/2016 - 23:34 by Ruth Zellweger

A special day lies behind us--Adil's surgery day. The prevailing grace of God made Adil's surgery day a day to remember. It was one of those "Shevet Achim (brothers dwelling together in unity) days"--something that is hard to describe, but beautiful to experience.

Our team of five that went to the hospital to support Adil and his father, as well as two other families, come from five different countries with four different mother tongues. For some it was their first surgery day experience; others had specifically requested to be at the hospital today. Everyone was needed and everyone played a vital role in our ministry to the families who are entrusted to our Shevet community. At the end of the day, our bonds with the families and with each other were strengthened. We all got to know each other better. Whoever wants to serve at Shevet, must be willing to give of his or her love, time, skills, and freedom. By doing this, strong relationships are developed which conquer language, cultural and religious barriers. However, most of us have found out that we not only give, but in return receive so much more: love; trust; friendships; new insights, and personal growth.

Our international team left early in the morning for Wolfson hospital in Tel Aviv, entrusting this day into God's capable hands. Upon arrival, we split up into different groups to support each of our families present in the hospital. Lewis and I went to be with Adil and his father, but we could not find them on the ward. We found father and son in the pre-operating room, where Adil's father was already wearing OR scrubs. Both were rather quiet and withdrawn. The father was happy to see us, but we could not conjure a smile on Adil's face.

The smile only appeared after his special friend arrived. Originally we had not planned for Sophie to come to the hospital with us, but she had felt the urge to be there, and I am so thankful that she followed her heart. As soon as he saw Sophie, Adil's face lit up and he started talking and smiling and showing interest in his surroundings. Together with his father and Sophie he explored the drawings on the wall and the different toys that were in the room. Sophie was just the right person at the right time to comfort this little boy!

Just before Adil was taken into the OR, we gathered around him and his father to pray for the surgery, the doctors and for peace. And off he went!

We all went upstairs, and there it was Lewis' turn to minister in a way to the father that only he could do. He had the brilliant idea of getting out his laptop and looking up Kurdish TV channels on the internet. Together, they watched Kurdish news, and I could tell that Adil's father was happy to hear his own language and to see familiar places. Some time later, Midya's father joined the group. It was a joy observing these three men relating to each other despite different language, age, culture and religion.

It was Berith's first time at Wolfson hospital today and her first surgery day experience. Her contribution was very precious. Berith spent most of the day reading scriptures and interceding for our precious children at the hospital, as well as for their parents and the doctors. How privileged we are to have people with us who love to pray and lift up requests and thanksgivings to our heavenly Father. 

In the meantime, our co-worker Rebekah spent time with baby Baran and his mother, attending to their different needs. Because she did that so faithfully, each of our families felt loved and cared for, which is so important. Each person matters. 

Adil's father had just finished lunch and sat down in front of the ICU, when Adil was already wheeled in. The surgery had gone really well and without any complications. It was a joy to see the father's relieved face as all the worries and anxieties from the last few days ceased. His precious son had survived and the heart repair had been a success!

We waited for a while, and then went into the ICU to see Adil. His father sat beside his bed, and for a while only watched his beloved son. I explained to him the different tubes and machines, and then we left the ICU. As a treat he went with Lewis on a short outing to the beach.

Tired, but happy, we left the hospital in the late afternoon. God's grace has been evident in the big and small events of the day. To Him be the glory!

"The LORD is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works" (Psalm 145:9).

Admitted for Surgery

Posted on Fri, 04/01/2016 - 17:19 by Alexa Bigl

After gathering together this morning to lift our prayers to the Messiah, it was time for Adil and his father to travel to Wolfson Medical Center. Adil will receive his cardiac surgery on Sunday! He was so sweet walking around as everyone said their goodbyes, Adil has really opened up with all the Shevet volunteers and his adorable personality is so fun!

It was wonderful to see how Adil’s father has made relationships with Shevet volunteers and volunteers at the Finnish school (where Adil and his father have been living since arriving in Israel) as many people spent a special moment praying for and wishing luck to him as we got ready to get into the car.

Everything went well with Adil’s admission to the hospital. He was very upset about getting his temperature taken and having an IV inserted, but his father did a beautiful job of calming him and Adil was laughing and playing again within a couple of minutes. It took a while for the nurses to get Adil set up with a bed and area to stay, but both father and son were amazingly patient as they squirted water at each other with a syringe.

Adil’s parents have decided to proceed with the one-step surgery (see Ruth’s blog below about the choice they faced this past week). Please join us in praying for peace for them about this decision.

We are lifting Adil and placing him completely in the hands of our Heavenly Father; He is the ultimate healer and we have full faith His perfect plan will come to fruition here! 

A Difficult Choice

Posted on Wed, 03/23/2016 - 22:36 by Ruth Zellweger

The love of a parent toward his child is very special and strong; it goes very deep, and hurts deeply when the child is not doing well. It wants the best for the child, and is willing to do anything it takes to help improve the situation. 

Adil's father left behind his Yazidi family in Kurdistan and traveled to Israel in order for his son to receive the best help possible for his complex congenital heart defect. Today, Dr. Tamir took time to explain the two different approaches the cardiologists see to help Adil. The first option is a two-step procedure called arterial switch, which is preferably done before a child is one month-old. Afterwards, there are high risks that the surgery will not succeed and the child will pass away. However, if it is succesful, then Adil could lead a normal life with a normal life expectancy. The second option is called atrial switch, which only requires one surgery and is less risky. However, after around 20 years the heart could start failing. How thankful was I that our Kurdish community friend Ilan came to the hospital to translate for the doctor. I was touched to see how much time Dr. Tamir took to explain everything to the father, and that Ilan had left his work to help translate. 

After he had explained everything, Dr. Tamir told the father that the surgery would probably be next week and that he has time until then to decide with his family which approach he wants to take. We ask you to pray for wisdom for this family as they have to make a difficult decision. 

All in all, we spent a lot of time together at the hospital, and Adil opened up more and more. He played on the playground with Mateo and Margarita, and in his room in the chidren's ward received gift after gift from visiting groups, as is tradition during the celebration of Purim. By the time we left the hospital, Adil had collected tons of gifts that we took back with us to Jerusalem. We pray that our community can be a huge blessing for Adil and his father in these coming days ahead.


Beginning His Treatment

Posted on Tue, 03/22/2016 - 20:13 by Miriam Svensson
I had the opportunity to visit Adil at the hospital. I had only said hello to him very briefly before they left yesterday, so it was understandable that he was a bit shy. Shortly after we came to the children's ward, Adil was called in to the nurse's station for new blood tests. He didn't like this any better today than yesterday. After the tests were taken, Adil and his father went to the X-ray department for a CT of his brain. I waited there with them for a little while before it was time to take him in. Adil's father knows some Arabic and talked to some of the other people who were waiting. They seemed interested to know who he was and it was nice to see him making some connections. 
To make the CT easier for Adil he was given some sedative and he slept peacefully during the examination. He got oxygen through a mask and was connected to a heart monitor so the nurse could keep and eye on his heart rhythm while he was sleeping. Afterwards he was taken back to the ward, where he began to wake up. Now he seemed to have forgotten some of his shyness, and he smiled towards me behind the oxygen mask. Because of Purim calebrations this week Adil had been given toys and candy, and soon he was enough awake to enjoy some of it.
When we waved goodbye I felt happy that I had got to know this prescious boy a little bit better. We trust that He is in the hands of the Lord and look forward to following his journey towards a healed heart.

Our Little Yazidi Fighter

Posted on Mon, 03/21/2016 - 22:07 by Rebekah Yang

It was my privilege to accompany our newly arrived Yazidi boy, Adil, and his father to Wolfson hospital for his first assessments in Tel-Aviv. When we first entered the children's ward, Adil was full of excitement to look around with his water gun toy pretending to have a gun fight with Mateo and I. However, when the medical staff tried to get his blood test done I began to realize how courageous and strong Adil is-- like a little fighter from Kurdistan of northern Iraq. It was not too easy to find his small veins in the beginning, so took quite a while for the whole medical team to get his blood sample out. Adil was wrestling with several of us, of course not wanting to feel the doctor’s needle. At one point, his father had to hold him to sit and explained to him what the doctor is doing for him. Poor Adil was watching his blood slowly draining out from his finger and he wept to his father to show his disagreement.

Eventually he finished his blood test, chest x-ray, and PPD test and got some free time for his lunch while we waited for his turn to have an echocardiogram as his next step.

While we we’re waiting, he had lots of fun time again with Mateo. Once, the two of them alone played “hide and seek” inside the playhouse. This was a happy moment for him. I was so amazed to see how he could be such an easily contented kid and totally forget what he just went through not too long ago.

Before his echo, Dr. Alona gave him some sedation medicine to help him sleep. That way, she could perform a proper echo without any trouble.

After the echo, the result was confirmed that he has Transposition of  the Great Arteries and needs to have his heart surgery within the near future. And before his heart surgery, he has to start medication and also have a brain CT scan tomorrow.

Please pray with us for our little Adil and his father as they stay overnight in the hospital. May our Heavenly Father bring his mercy and peace to them. Pray that they will have a good rest and be ready for tomorrow’s CT scan. AMEN!!  

Adil Arrives in Israel

Posted on Sun, 03/20/2016 - 22:14 by Ruth Zellweger

Six weeks have passed by since we last saw Adil and his family in Kurdistan. This morning, Agnes and I went to the airport to pick up Adil and father. Soon after they were out in the arrival hall, we could see the different personalities both father and son displayed today.

While Adil was shy and withdrawn and felt most comfortable when he could hide, his father is very outgoing and talkative. Back in Jerusalem, the arriving families were warmly welcomed by our Shevet family, and then Adil rested for a while. He came to Israel with a bad cold and is not feeling very well. In the afternoon, father and son explored a little bit their new surrounding at the Finnish School where they are staying, which has a beautiful compound. In the evening, Adil opened up a little bit and enjoyed the meal that Aveen's father had prepared for them.

Tomorrow morning, Adil will go for his first assessments at the hospital. He has a severe heart defect and we pray for wisdom for the doctors to make the right decisions regarding his treatment. May our community be able to reach this precious little boy with God's love, and be good friends to his father.

Surely There is Hope

Posted on Tue, 02/16/2016 - 08:11 by Ruth Zellweger

During our recent trip to Kurdistan, Agnes, Jonathan and I had the opportunity to visit little Adil and his family. They are part of the Yazidi community in northern Iraq that fled the Islamic State in summer of 2014. The family has found refuge in an unfinished building. Even though the circumstances are tough and the family has hardly anything to call their own, they do not radiate despair. They have not given up hope, which is beautiful to witness.

Adil was born with a life-threatening heart defect called transposition of the great arteries, which is best treated in the first weeks of life. However, we are thankful that our heavenly Father has sustained his life until now and we are praying that his heart can be mended during his time in Israel. Adil will be traveling with his father, who is a man with an outgoing personality. We hope to welcome father and son soon into our Shevet family.