Apr 27, 2011

Easter week goodbyes and hellos...

I pray that each of you had a wonderful Easter week remembering and celebrating the death and resurrection of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I was able to celebrate Easter weekend with Jackson by my side which was an added special blessing and treat...much sweeter than Cadbury Mini Eggs which incidentally are my favorite Easter candy and YES we were finally able to track down a bag or ten! This past week has held many opportunities to remember Jesus and thank Him for the deep love and provision His sacrifice on the Cross proved and purchased for the world.

First the bittersweet start of the week:

Last Tuesday morning our Sovereign Father saw fit to come and fetch one of our babies and take her home. She was one of our Starfish babies, a two year old with cerebral palsy who peacefully died in her sleep tucked cozily in her bed. She came to Door of Hope a few months before she reached her 1st birthday and while she lived with us she overcame many illnesses and learned how to do what the Doctors thought impossible for her disabilities: she learned to smile! Thankfully Beth, Lisa and I were already on our way to Baby House 1 that morning and Beth was able to say goodbye to her baby while her little body was still warm. It's a horribly sad thing to watch people say goodbye to their baby and that is just one of the dark parts that sad day included. It's not easy going into those deep areas of death and grief, loving babies so deeply that it physically hurts when you have to say goodbye. Later that day Beth and I had to go to the Mortuary of the Johannesburg Hospital to get the paperwork that we needed to procure a Death Certificate for our baby. As we turned the corner to enter the Mortuary, two orderlies wheeled the wrapped up body of dead man directly into the path before us. We had to follow them into the dingy, dark halls of the Mortuary to the Office we needed and I'm am telling you it was rough. I witnessed many things that day that I never want to have to again... praying as a family around a little body covered in her pink flowery fleece blanket, watching the body of stranger pushed passed by a grieving family in the Mortuary waiting room praying that they were not the family that it belonged to, hearing the wails of Aunties who loved this baby of like their own.

Auntie Stephanie saying goodbye

As I processed that dark yet bittersweet day I felt even more convinced of the call of this season of my life: saying "Lord, please let me not have to go to those places again!" all the while being completely certain that I will follow Him into those dark yet holy places when I have to because that's where He is. And I want to be where He is, doing what He's called me to do. I am I'm grateful to have had the privilege of knowing our precious little one for the time that I did and I know all of the Aunties count themselves blessed to have known her and loved her for as long as the Lord allowed. We celebrated her brave life yesterday in the Memorial Garden with the sun breaking through the clouds as we remembered the little girl who could do so little but accomplished so much in the hearts of those who knew her. Thankfully Auntie Stephanie (who spent 7 years at Door of Hope and who first introduced us to this Starfish) is visiting from Canada, so she and Beth were able to lead the sweet service. One of the songs shared was Phil Wickham's "Heaven Song" where he sings: "I want to run on greener pastures/I want to dance on higher hills/I want to drink from sweeter waters/In the misty morning chill/And my soul is getting restless for the place where I belong/I can't wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song". As sad as were are to say goodbye to our girl, she now freer than she ever was in this life and I can't wait to see her dance and run with our Jesus someday! Please be praying for our Door of Hope family as we miss her sweet presence in our home.

Auntie Stephanie and Auntie Beth led the Memorial Service

Whew! Wipe your eyes and take a breath because here come the bright spots:

My biggest boy at Baby House 2 celebrated his first birthday this week! I made chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting, he sported a birthday party hat, we sang him his first birthday song while he took it all in with sly, shy smiles and a slight disinterest in the cupcake I served him. Prayerfully he will be going to his forever family next month! We had a wonderful time celebrating and thanking Jesus for his first year of life.

Auntie Marceline teaching him to hold up one finger when asked "How old are you?"

As I mentioned before I was able to spend Easter weekend with Jackson by my side! I picked him up on Saturday morning and he was with me until I brought him back to his Aunties on Monday morning. Let me tell you, there is nothing sweeter than waking up to this little smile:

I bought him the cutest Easter outfit which included a cozy, grey sweater with a guitar on it because he is my little star! Jackson is so very vocal these days, talking and singing all the time (just like a typical Gillette, haha!) and giving the occasional really good giggle. I've been trying out a new church, Riverside Community, and Jackson joined me for their Easter morning service. He did such a great job, enjoyed the music and greeted lots of people with wide smiles. It was fun being his "mommy" for the day and he was the perfect little man.

Here we are on Easter day!

Jackson is doing so well! He is healthy, loves to eat, sleeps well and is tipping the scales just over 13 pounds! It was so wonderful to spend the weekend with him, he really is a sweet natured, easy going baby who offers a ready smile to any one who will stop and greet him!

His cute, not so little bootie! Talk about blackmail photos for when he's a teenager!

On our way back to Baby House 2 on Monday, I received a call from Auntie Marceline saying that there was a mom who wanted to speak with someone about her newborn baby girl. When I got to the baby house I got to meet and counsel with this young mother about the options for her baby if she felt like she couldn't care for her on her own. After talking through the options this mom decided that she wanted to give her baby up for adoption. I had her fill out the right paperwork, prayed with her and she left with her baby in my arms. There was this silent, holy moment between Auntie Sarah and myself as we unwrapped the blankets and got to look at this brand new little one that somehow bore the all the grief and sweet joy of her abandonment. What a heavy grief for a mother to choose to say goodbye to the baby she birthed and the extreme joy that we get to have her for our own. The Aunties and I then gathered around her to welcome her into our home, praying for her and marveling over all of her newness together. I imagine it is a tiny bit like what a new mom feels like, unwrapping this little present of a person, examining all her little fingers, toes and features for the very first time. I did all the official checking in, bathed her and wrapped her tight in fresh new blankets and clothes then I got to hold her close and whisper the truth into her little ear: "Welcome home beautiful baby. You are beyond wanted and our God has a precious plan for your every day!" This new little addition to our family is beautiful and was born on Easter morning. I call her my Easter Lily! She is doing beautifully, is healthy and I just want to hold her all day long!

Here is my Easter Lily... wrapped up all snug and warm after her first bath!

Here we are posing for our first blog-appropriate pic!

I feel overwhelmingly thankful for Jesus and his Cross this Easter week. Because He lives I will see our little Starfish again, whole and more alive than this side of eternity ever afforded her. Because He lives I can face the dark, lonely and difficult parts of all of my tomorrows. Because He lives I have the privilege of loving on the least of these in this place. And I believe it is because He lives that each of you are in my life, joining and supporting me in this hopeful adventure! I miss you and praise Jesus for you! XOXOXOXO ~ nicolie

5 comments:

  1. Oh Nicole... I can't help but sit here and sob. It's all so sad, but the Hope we have in Christ is almost.... overwhelming. The LORD has placed you there and I am so thankful that He did. Those precious babies... I am just speechless. Praise Him.

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  2. Nicole that is so sweet and precious. and sad. Those babies are so lucky to have you in their lives. Is there an address that I can mail things to do at? And would you need little fleece blankets?

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  3. Hi sweet girls! Thanks for the words of encouragement and prayers! We do take things via mail, I would love some little fleece "lovies" to have for the babies. I would just recommend that you send them in small quantities because we have to pay tax on each parcel we pick up, the heavier the package the higher the taxes. You can send us things at Door of Hope PO Box 119. Glenvista, 2091 Republic of South Africa. I appreciate your prayers and support ladies! Much love...

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  4. Thanks Nicolie! I will get a few small packages together! :)

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing this Nicole! I have been so blessed hearing the joy that the Lord has given you. It encourages and inspires me to allow God's joy to permeate my life. Lord Jesus protect and bless you Nicolie!!!

    -Karina

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