Ronia's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Won Over Our Hearts

Posted on Fri, 07/14/2017 - 23:05 by Shea Lindsay

We were so sad to have to say goodbye to the life of the party! It took a while for Ronia to open up to us and finally once we won her over, we all absolutely fell in love with her. With her short little bob, and cute little dress that she wore to the party, she brought so much life!

She is so expressive with her eyes - and when she really thinks something is funny or amazing she drops her jaw to the floor, super dramatically.

The first going away present that was handed to her was a little bottle of bubbles, and when she cracked it open, the suceeding farewell gifts were completely irrelevant because the bubbles were so enticing.

My favorite part of the party was watching her face light up as she watched the short video of herself that we put together. She would point at the pictures of herself and screech so loud that it would echo through the whole house.

As we were nearing the very end of the party, we began shuffling everyone towards the door. Despite the fact that they were nearly going to miss their flight back to Kurdistan, Ronia was resisting her grandfather, begging him to let her stay with us. We all truly fell in love with her and had just the hardest time letting her go. Somehow, after the smelly diaper changes and endless cleaning up after her when she would accidentally drop all of her food, or any other unpleasant situation that we had to deal with, she somehow still won over our hearts with her huge eyes and mysteriously quick wit.

Ronia and her grandfather have now safely made it to the airport! Continue to keep them in your prayers that they will continue to seek the Lord and his grace upon their lives.

Smiling More

Posted on Fri, 07/07/2017 - 20:54 by Joseph Carter

Just not in this photo...... :) 

Ronia has begun to smile a lot. The first couple of weeks she was here was an unsure time for her. But she has warmed up to the staff at Shevet and her smile is a beautiful thing. Today she had another echo check-up at Sheba in order to determine how her recovery is going. By all reports she is doing well and will hopefully be returning to Kurdistan within a couple of weeks. Praise the Lord!

Back to Shevet!

Posted on Wed, 06/28/2017 - 21:33 by Ed Martin

Today at Sheba hospital, Ronia was recovering nicely from her surgery. However, they needed to see her walk more before they could decide to release her. Her grandfather gladly helped with that and soon she was walking all over the halls. Samara and I enjoyed spending time with them. I also stayed with her and Grandpa while she had an echocardiogram.

I learned that Ronia is shy but she loves to play with bubbles - so we blew lots of bubbles for her to pop. I also played her a video of my puppies playing together and she enjoyed seeing that, too.

Shortly after that, Ronia was released to return to the Shevet house, and she will have a follow-up at Sheba hospital before returning home to Kurdistan.

I had a great time connecting with with Ronia and her grandpa today.

Recovering Quickly

Posted on Tue, 06/27/2017 - 06:42 by Samara Noble

Ronia is out of surgery and is doing well! She seems to be recovering very quickly! Her grandfather and I were able to wheel her around the hospital in a wheelchair today which she seemed to enjoy. She does not smile much and she cries whenever a nurse comes in. She is scared, not understanding that the nurses and doctors are trying to help her rather than hurt her. But her grandfather is there to help encourage her and since he knows quite a few languages he understands the majority of what is going on.

Her grandfather enjoyed using google translate to communicate with me today, and it probably looked quite comical to everyone else in the hospital but it was such an unexpected blessing! We talked about various things including our faith! Ronia's grandfather is extremely grateful for all that is being done for his granddaughter. Shevet Achim was one out of three organization that he had contacted and was the only one to say, "Yes, come now!" Thank you, Lord. 

First Day Post-op

Posted on Thu, 06/22/2017 - 20:16 by Alexa Bigl

Ronia was sleeping today when I went into Sheba's ICU to see her. But it was amazing to see her creamy white skin as she peacefully slept; a big change from how blue she was just yesterday morning. She still has chest tubes and is on strong cardiac medications, which is typical for the first day post-op. She is slowly getting her appetite back and is drinking some water, small amounts of milk, and had a biscuit this afternoon. We are praying the progress continues and she will soon be eating more. 

Ronia's grandfather is doing very well, happily acquainting himself with the hospital. He has been a great support for Dereen's and Yousif's mothers. His cheerful demeanor was a blessing today and we were happy to share in his joy as we prayed for Ronia's continued progressing in recovery! 

Surgery for Ronia!

Posted on Thu, 06/22/2017 - 05:44 by Joseph Carter

Ronia headed to the hospital today or a CT scan and to her grandfather’s surprise also surgery. At 9:30 they headed in to do the scan and by 11:30 she was finished with surgery. Praise God it was a successful surgery and within just a few hours she was already extubated and awake! Her grandfather was very concerned at first because of the initial shock and surprise. But in the end he was very happy and will be spending the next nights in the hospital with Ronia.

Surprise Visit to Sheba!

Posted on Wed, 06/21/2017 - 22:37 by Shea Lindsay

Brenda and I brought in little Ronia into the hospital yesterday around 7pm because they wanted to do a couple pre-testing procedures before her surgery which will be the following morning. We loaded her into the van- which she was a little upset about- and then arrived at the hospital with her and her grandfather. We were helped fairly quickly and Ronia remained content until we put her on the patient bed to get her ECG done.

Although she was exuberantly crying, she was keeping very still, which made it easy for the doctors to get the test results done efficiently. We were then directed into a van and brought to a different area of the hospital to get the x-ray done. Ronia was still in great spirits. A kind woman sitting near us gave her a little chocolate bar, which perked her up even more! Her grandfather spoke Arabic and quite good English, which was a huge blessing, because he was able to converse with the doctor to know what was going on and receive clear instruction on what to do with Ronia. We were shuffled back into the van and back to the cardiac center, where they drew her blood and took her vitals. At this point, it was around 10pm and she was exhausted and livid at the doctors. But she hung in there, and was so strong until the very end. Her grandfather held her close and was so good at comforting her and keeping her calm.

When we returned home around 11pm, the other mothers in the home here assisted the grandfather with giving Ronia a special bath before her proceedure in the morning. Then they headed off to bed! Pray for the surgery this morning to go smoothly and that she will continue to feel loved and taken care of by her grandpa.

Ronia's First Assessment Day

Posted on Tue, 06/20/2017 - 00:58 by Stefania Totaro

This morning around 8:20 we drove Ronia and her grandfather to Sheba hospital for Ronia's first assessment. In the car, Ronia was amazed by the new environment around her, since she and her grandfather (who speaks basic English), just arrived yesterday in Israel.

Little Ronia was quite grumpy the whole morning, since she has been fasting in order to proceed to the CT scan once at the hospital. We tried to distract her while we were waiting, playing with her at the play-area, but it has been quite challenging. Ronia was really hungry!

After half an hour, the little one could finally see the nurses, who started a physical check-up, included a body weight, high and a blood pressure test. Furthermore, Ronia had an assessment for her oxygen level.

After that, we got to know that we could feed Ania, since she wouldn't have the CT that day. Food time! Finally Ronia ate some bread and biscuits, and we could also see some smiles on her beautiful little face! After a little wait, we brought Ronia to the doctor that would proceed with an eco to check Ronia's heart. 

The only moments in which Ronia cried, were when his grandfather had to put her on the hospital bed; other than that, she behaved very well, she even felt asleep on the bed while the doctor was scanning her heart! 

Another doctor checked her out after another half hour, trying to fit her in for a CT, but we couldn't manage to do that. The CT has been scheduled for this coming Wednesday.

After an intense morning at Sheba hospital, we left quite happy and a bit tired (especially the grandfather!). All the staff at Sheba have been very helpful, and tried to do their best to help the little Ronia.

Let's pray for Ronia, since she misses her parents a lot. And let's pray for her grandfather, that God may renew his strength and show him His hand in this situation.  


Bixêrbî bo Israel, Ronia! (Welcome to Israel!)

Posted on Sun, 06/18/2017 - 22:08 by Brenda Hofer

This morning, bright and early, Alexa, Rebekah, and I made our way to the airport to pick up the new families arriving from Kurdistan. Luckily, we arrived in plenty of time to greet them, welcoming the weary travelers to Israel. We met up with the mothers of Dereen and Yousif first, but we had to wait for Ronia and her grandfather some time since they were delayed at the baggage claim area.

Happily we were able to all meet up together and head back to the Shevet house. Ronia was very shy and most likely tired from her trip, but she reminded me of a previous Shevet child, Roshna from last year. Ronia's grandfather was kind and he knew some English and Arabic, so it made for easier translating. I am excited to get to know Ronia and her family as they stay here in Israel. Let us lift up our hands in praise to our Heavenly Father who made it possible for our new families to travel safely and securely. Pray Ronia will have positive assessment day when she is evaluated at the hospital tomorrow. 


Traveling Soon

Posted on Fri, 06/02/2017 - 22:34 by Ruth Zellweger

Our Shevet community is awaiting the arrival of little Ronia and her grandfather. Ronia is the second of three children, and much loved by her family. Due to her heart defect, her skin is bluish, and she is frequently experiencing cyanotic spells, a central cyanosis caused by a rapid drop in the amount of oxygen in the blood. In their home, the family has a large oxygen cylinder to immediately administer oxygen during these episodes. 

We hope that Ronia's visa will be approved soon and that she will arrive safely in Israel.