Zhino 's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Full of Life and Energy at Home in Iraq

Posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel


One of the children I most wanted to follow up on when I learned I'd be able to go to Iraq last month was Zhino. Sometimes when new patients arrive, unique bonds are formed which knit hearts together as if we are truly family members. Zhino and I had this sort of bond. But because of my mother's death last summer I was in the US when Zhino left for home, so I didn't get to say goodbye to this special little girl. I was very excited to see her and see her progress, and I was not disappointed when her family brought her to the home of Shanaw after hearing we'd be there one afternoon.

Zhino came in with her big beautiful smile and marched straight over to give me a big hug, and then climbed up in my lap.

No more did she have to be carried everywhere she went, no more was her skin tinged with a blue pallor nor her lips blue, and no more did we see clubbed fingers on her little hands. Instead she was full of life and energy, and it was precious to see her whole family contentedly watch her interacting with us. When she sat down with him and her sister, her father expressed their deep thanks for everything that had been done for his dear daughter.

One of the most touching moments of the trip for me came during Zhino's visit. Her parents shared that while watching news reports on TV during the recent battles in the Gaza Strip, Zhino became very upset. Realizing that Israel was the home of her Shevet Achim friends, she expressed great concern for our safety, and apparently asked over and over to be sure that I was okay. For a little girl from Iraq to have that much concern for our well-being and that much love for us was quite striking to me. She now had faces to associate with those in what she thought was the war-zone, and wanted to know that nothing had happened to those she cares about. To me this is a picture of what powerful relationships are made through the chances we have to help these families--relationships rooted in the love of God which has the power to connect and change hearts and lives forever. May God receive great glory for what He's done in the life of Zhino, and may He receive a great harvest from the good seeds planted into her fertile heart.

Zhino Flies Home to Iraq

Posted on Sun, 07/13/2008 - 01:00 by Dirk

Zhino and three other children and their mothers flew back to Iraq today after spending three days with us in Jordan following their heart surgeries in Israel. (Zhino is pictured above rear right.)

We still remember the long waiting time in Jordan before the surgeries. Everybody was very tense then, and it used to take a while before we could cheer them up and make them smile. Now, what a difference!

We were most concerned about Zhino before surgery because she looked so blue, and she is now smiling and rosy. We still remember how her mother used to be torn between hope and dispair and frequently broke down crying.

These last three days have been relaxed and happy, and the families joined with our family in our evening worship times.

It's so nice to release happy mothers and children home to their families. Thank you Lord for all of your grace.

A Joyful Farewell to Israel

Posted on Thu, 07/10/2008 - 01:00 by Amy_Denney

Zhino together with Shaima, Ranj, and Arina and all their mothers came to Jerusalem Wednesday morning in preparation for their return trip to Iraq. Their last request was to see Jerusalem before they left Israel. Hank drove them all over the city, showing them the most popular sights in Jerusalem, including the Garden Tomb (below) and even the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

They arrived back at the Shevet house just before sunset. Once they arrived they prepared a nice dinner as part of the celebration that would take place that evening.

Keleigh: "There was tremendous joy as all prepared to go back home. Around 11:00 p.m. dinner was served. Shortly after, Kurdish music was turned on and the real party began. All five of the children (Nari was among them, although he's not yet returning to Iraq) sang and danced for hours. Little Ali, waiting with us for his second surgery, loved watching the older children sing and dance, trying to imitate them as best he could. Their mothers also joined in intermittently encouraging the kids to continue on. I left the party around midnight and the children were still energetically singing and dancing."

Amy: "The next morning we weren't going to let them leave for Iraq without praying. So we gathered and prayed for those traveling. I said a tearful goodbye to all those that were leaving. They will surely be missed, but I am grateful to the Lord that they will be healthy upon returning to Iraq."

Hank then drove them to the border crossing, and Keleigh reports: "They checked out on the Israeli side and loaded their luggage onto the bus. Each mother and child gave us a hug goodbye and with it, the tears began to run down their cheeks. Shaimas mother hugged me and as I began to pull away, I felt her hold on. Through tears, the continual words out of each mothers mouth was, thank you, thank you!"

You may help sponsor another child's life-saving heart surgery in Israel by clicking here.

Unexpected Setback

Posted on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 07:54 by Amy_Denney
Last week Susan, the Kurdish translator at the Save a Child's Heart house discovered a lump on Zhino. After calling the hospital, she was told to bring her in. At the hospital, Zhino was diagnosed with a hernia and would need another surgery. It was obvious that Zhino and her mother were very disappointed when they heard the news, but Zhino still had her beautiful smile and enjoyed playing outside.

Sunday, Zhino went in for a minor surgery. Not to worry, she is okay. She came out at about 1:00 p.m. and the doctors said it was a successful surgery. Zhino was a bit hungry when she came out and wanted something to eat. After asking the nurses, they agreed to let her eat a few crackers and a small cup of tea. This seemed to make her feel better. She was resting a little bit later. If she is still better tomorrow, the doctors will release her to return to the Save a Child's Heart house. Still pray for her, as we know any surgery can be painful.

Full of Life

Posted on Wed, 06/25/2008 - 01:00 by Amy_Denney

Today at the hospital, Zhino was pretty energetic. She was full of life as I walked into the room, and she gave me a big smile and wave. She showed me all the presents she has recieved since she's been at the hospital. Her catheter was taken out today and she was sitting up a little bit. I am glad she's got a chance to go for a walk now. Although she is in some pain, I know it will be a new experience for her to walk around without running out of breath.

Back to Her Cheerful Self

Posted on Sun, 06/22/2008 - 01:00 by Amy_Denney

As I walked into Zhino's room today, I was greeted with a warm smile from my little friend. She must have been feeling a lot better because she was back to her smiling, cheerful self. I'm glad to see her feeling better, as I know others are too. Her mother looked a little more rested also.

Before we left the hospital, Arina and her mother decided to visit Zhino, so Alex and I made one more visit to Zhino also. Alex said a prayer for the girls and their mothers. Afterwards we headed back to Jerusalem.

Out of ICU

Posted on Wed, 06/18/2008 - 01:00 by Amy_Denney

As I was about to visit Zhino, the doctors were moving her out of the ICU and into a room. She was also able to drink water.

Her mother appeared a bit more relaxed than on the first day of surgery, of course.

Andrew brought her a big balloon that I know cheered her up a bit.

Although I know she didn't feel very well, little Zhino managed to give me a smile for the camera.

Awake and Sitting Up

Posted on Tue, 06/17/2008 - 01:00 by Amy_Denney

Keleigh, Andrew and I arrived at the hospital at midmorning this morning. When I walked into the ICU, Zhino was already sitting up just a little bit and was awake. Her face looked full of color, although I know she didn't feel very well at all. Her mother still seemed a little nervous, but I just put my arm around her and told her everything would be fine. So far, so good, but she still needs a lot of prayer, as well as our other little ones.

Zhino Doing Fine After Today's Surgery

Posted on Mon, 06/16/2008 - 01:00 by Amy_Denney

When Keleigh and I arrived at the hospital, we spotted Zhino's mom in the waiting room. She nervously gave us a hug and a smile. Zhino had been in surgery for about three hours at this time. Keleigh and I consoled her as best we could, but I knew nothing probably would comfort her as much as seeing Zhino come out of surgery. Nari's mother came a few times to check on Zhino's mom. As Zhino's mom and I waited patiently for Zhino, the time seemed to drag.

Around 1:30 p.m., Zhino came out of surgery and was wheeled into the ICU. After waiting for a while, her mom and I were allowed to see her. Zhino was in a deep sleep, and seemed to be doing okay. Zhino's mom tearfully looked at Zhino in concern. I asked the nurse what her condition was and the nurse replied that she was fine. They proceeded to tell me that she would have oxygen until the morning and that she would sleep all night. Since I couldn't transalate all that was said, I just tried to comfort Zhino's mom with prayer and concern. Finally, the translator was able to tell her the surgery went well and that Zhino would be fine. After speaking to the interpreter, there was relief on her face--an indication that that was the best news she had heard all day. I knew then that her mom would be okay. Before I left I prayed for a speedy recovery and a good night's sleep for Zhino.

Independent Girl

Posted on Mon, 06/09/2008 - 01:00 by Andrew_Peck

Zhino is doing very well since her catheterization and release from the hospital. She has been enjoying her time in Jerusalem before her surgery this Sunday.
When we went to the park, I was surprised by Zhinos independence from her mother. She usually likes to stay close to her mother, and sometimes refuses to be carried by anyone else. This time, however, she was quite happy to walk with others and was not worried when she noticed the distance between her and her mother. Zhino had lots of fun playing with the other children at the park, and she especially enjoyed the merry-go-round.