Shadrach [Rehab/Foster Home]

Back in April I was scrolling through the Project Hopeful page of Waiting Children (to be adopted) and I came across a little boy with the brightest of eyes named Shadrach. I clicked on his page, and to my surprise, found out he was in Ghana, and had special needs! Because of his special needs, his village and community thought he was cursed, and they planned to abandon him and leave him to die, in order to rid themselves of this evil curse that was placed upon them. Thankfully, he was rescued by a local orphanage before they could carry out their plans.

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Immediately I googled his name and found out that he was being cared for by an organization called Feeding the Orphans (FTO). I messaged FTO’s director and said that if Shadrach needed someone to care for him before he got adopted, that I would be more than willing to take him into my home. She responded saying he was in an orphanage where he was loved and cared for. I began posting on social media about him, trying to get anyone and everyone to read his story, knowing that his forever adoptive family is out there looking for him too.

I continued to move forward with founding The Treasured Ones and transitioning my personal home into the Rehab/Foster Home. At the end of August, while in the midst of finalizing Ellie‘s legal guardianship, the FTO director messaged me again saying, “Rebecca, remember when you offered to care for Shadrach and said your house would always be open to him? The time is now. The place where he has been living is closing, and he has no where to go. Can you take him in?”

I was in a car with some of my staff, and we jumped for joy that God planned for Shadrach to be in our foster home. I quickly messaged her back and we immediately got to work preparing for this sweet boy to come home.

Three weeks ago, on September 22nd our sweet boy Shadrach came home. We welcomed him with lots of hugs and kisses, a warm new bed, and hearts bursting with love. He started to settle in, and we even got some smiles out of him!

Shadrach is almost 2 and a half years old, and has craniosynostosis (from a pre-birth infection), cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and a few more special needs.  His prognosis is for severe mental retardation, requiring lifelong care. BUT Shadrach is a beloved child of God, and deserves a family. And I KNOW his family is out there. If you are interested in adopting Shadrach, please use the “contact” page above. Be praying for Shadrach’s forever family to find him!

Shadrach goes by a wide range of names in my house such as “Shaddy boy” “sweet boy” “Shaddy baby” and “big boy”. He is such a joy filled child. He loves to nuzzle his slobbery face into your neck and get as close to your body as possible. He loves to be held, and rocked, and many times he thinks he is a small baby that should be held all day, not a 25 pound 2 year old who is heavy! His favorite place to be is tied to someone’s back, where he is able to feel your warmth, and still look around at his surroundings. He adores music and lights and loves interactive toys.

We love our sweet Shadrach and pray for his forever family every single day. Could Shadrach be your son??

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Joni and Friends Wheels for the World

Earlier this year I was connected with Joni and Friends, a hands down incredible organization comprised of many different ministries, both domestic and international. JAF is answering the call in the Gospel of Luke 14, “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and you will be blessed…make them come in so my house will be full.” You can read more about all their ministries here.

In June 2014, I was invited to serve as a short term missionary at their International Family Retreat in Accra, Ghana. It was an amazing week, and I will write a blog post on it soon. I connected with the JAF Ghana Directors and discussed the possibility of doing a wheelchair outreach in Kumasi with the families of The Treasured Ones. We prayed for the provision of wheelchairs, for transportation for the chairs, for scheduling of the mechanic to custom fit the children, for no rain, for the families coming, for health, all the way down to praying for the food we would serve for lunch. Every single one of our prayers were answered, and today, 8 children received custom fitted wheelchairs. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…..

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[Pastor Joel, who oversees Wheels for the World outreaches in Ghana, and also fits each and every child with a custom wheelchair]

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[Lord (yes, his name is Lord) 7 years old]

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[Emmanuel, 7 years old]

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[Many of you know this incredible mother-son duo from The Treasured Ones video!]

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[Ernestina, 14 years old]

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[Offeibea, 12 years old]

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[Blessing, 7 years old]

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[Blessing lives in a village very, very far away. She has been crawling on her hands and feet over 3 miles to school each day. Her brothers and sisters walk beside her crawling so she doesn't get attacked by animals. She now is able to push herself in her wheelchair to school for the very first time.]

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[Ishak, 9 years old]

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[Precious, 4 years old]

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I’ll never be able to explain in words what the wheelchairs mean to these families. Ghana is not like America where there are sidewalks, ramps, elevators, or accessible buildings. The mothers of these children have to carry them on their back absolutely everywhere. And all of the children are h.e.a.v.y. Many are single mothers, so there is no one to watch the children when they go to the market to buy food, or even just next-door to pick up something. The children must travel with them, and you would not believe the bashing, stigmatization, and shaming that is thrown upon them. They are told that their children are cursed and wicked and not human. This takes a major toll on the mothers’ mental health, and also the emotions of the child. But now, these mothers are proud to show off their children’s wheelchairs. They are proud to take them to the market. They are proud to push them around their community. The wheelchairs not only provide mobility, but they provide independence. And confidence. The wheelchairs provide joy. They boost the morales of the mothers and children, because a child with a custom fitted wheelchair shows a community and a country who constantly looks down upon them, that they are worthy, important, and very, very loved. Wheelchairs bring new life.

Posted in Blog Update, Ghana, The Treasured Ones | Leave a comment

Education Center GRAND OPENING!

Today, October 9th, 2014, we officially commissioned and opened The Education Center. We held a huge opening party at the Center with many guests that included government officials, chiefs, departmen I am at a loss for words to what this day means to me, what it means to all of us involved in this project. All I can say is thank you. Thank you to every donor, contributor, partner, fundraiser, and cheerleader. We could not have gotten here without you. I will post more thoughts on the completing and opening of the Center when I get the words out. But for right now, it is my biggest honor to introduce you to the Light for Children Educational Center in Atonsu, Kumasi, Ghana.

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[Library]

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[Library]

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[Library]

IMG_8720[Library] IMG_8723[Library] IMG_8726[Computer Lab] IMG_8738

[World renown musician Koo Nimo]

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[Cultural group from local junior high school performing]

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[All the school children were invited to the opening ceremony…as well as lots of media!]

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Posted in Blog Update, Ghana, The Education Center | 5 Comments

The {well} Studio (Guest Post)

I had the wonderful opportunity to write a guest post for The {well} Studio and share a bit more about the journey to founding The Treasured Ones. Check it out here!

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Posted in Blog Update, Ghana, The Treasured Ones | Leave a comment

Meet Ellie Grace [video]

Because I know most of you won’t be able to come to Ghana to meet my sweet girl, I wanted to introduce you to her through video! She has a huge personality, is sassy when she wants to be, desires only to be with her momma, and is growing like a weed!

Meet my miracle daughter…Ellie Grace.

Meet Ellie Grace from Rebecca Kuntz on Vimeo.

Posted in Ellie Grace, Ghana, My Treasures, Video Update | 2 Comments

Thank you to The Little Bee Co!

HUGE thank you to The Little Bee Co. for donating lots of cloth diapers for The Treasured Ones Rehab/Foster home! The Little Bee Co. has a very unique mission where every diaper they sell, they give a matching diaper to a child in need. One for one. We are so thankful to be the recipient of one of their “Diaper Drops”. The diapers they provided us will go a very long way in helping keep this home sustainable, economical, and very very cute!

The babies love the diapers because they are soft, comfortable, and snug.
The staff loves the diapers because they are easy to wash, never leak, and save us tons of money.
I love the diapers because they make our babies’ tushes look so darn adorable. It’s a win win win in my book!

If you are in the market for cloth diapers, or are wanting to learn more about cloth diapering please visit The Little Bee Co. website to learn more. I (along with the staff and children) definitely recommend this brand, not only for their durable diapers, but for their mission as well.

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Blessing (Shirley’s daughter) loves her red polka dot diapers!

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Kwabena (and his momma) love the bright yellow diapers!

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Ellie Grace [3 weeks]

My girl has been home three weeks. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown. It feels like just yesterday I was walking into the Babies Home, picking up a frail, sad, and broken baby and whispering in her ear, “Momma is here. Momma is here. Today you are going home. Home with me. The day is finally here. Baby girl, you are so so loved.”

The baby I brought home that day is nowhere near the baby that is sitting in my lap today. Her hair is dark brown, no longer orangeish. Her skin in dark caramel, no longer grey. Her muscles are loose, no longer tight. Her teeth are coming in, she no longer has the gummy grin. Her belly sticks out, ribs no longer showing.

I could go on and on about all the physical changes that have taken place, but the biggest change, by far, has been in my girl’s heart.

When she first entered the Babies Home in February 2014, she would not make eye contact with anyone. She showed no emotion. She never cried. Her face never changed. Her eyes never lit up. She had no energy to do anything but keep her organs running. Over the months she began to come alive. Just after her twin brother passed away, she made eye contact with me for the first time. And I saw straight into her soul, one filled with hurt, loss, and a lot of pain. It was that same day that I knew God was calling me to be her momma. It took her another month to keep eye contact with me for more than a second. It took her another month to smile at me for the first time.

The day I brought her home, everything clicked for her. I was her momma, she was my daughter. And she wasn’t going back to the Babies Home ever again. She was coming home for good. On the car ride home, she fell asleep on me for the first time ever, and her tiny fingers gripped tightly to my shirt the entire nap. The day she came home I saw her smile big for the first time. Babble for the first time. Cry for the first time. And show emotion for the first time. She finally felt secure enough to let down those massive walls surrounding her heart. I don’t blame her for keeping them up, she has been through more loss & suffering in her short 14 months of life than I could ever imagine. But God, God assured her over and over again, that she can be free. That she has a momma who will fill her every need. That she will no longer go hungry. No longer crave love and affection. No longer go without stimulation. No longer go without a family. That day she came home will forever be one of the best days of my life, for I saw so clearly God create a daughter from an orphan.

Most adoptive momma’s worry about attachment and bonding, and I worried about those things before she came home too. I prayed many prayers to our Maker that my daughter know from the very beginning that I’m her momma, and I’m not going anywhere. And my prayers were fulfilled tenfold. The day Ellie came home, she would not allow anyone to hold her but me. No one could feed her but me. No one could put her to sleep but me. If she was crying, I was the only person that could soothe her. I was the only person that could rock her on my back when she was in pain. My girl, she knew. She knew I was her momma. During her six months at the Babies Home, I only saw her once a week, and it took her five months to even slightly recognize me. With all of her special needs & brain issues, many doctors have said that she might not have the function to recognize people, let alone form a solid attachment to one person. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God had been preparing my girl for a long, long time. Through Him and Him alone, Ellie and I have the strongest bond. Ask anyone who has seen us together here in Ghana, and they will tell you that Ellie Grace knows and loves her momma. When I walk into the room she lights up and laughs. She follows me around the room as I walk completing tasks. She whimpers when she sees me leave the room. And every single time her eyes connect with mine, she smiles. Every single time.  

It is the biggest blessing to be the momma of Ellie Grace, my pint sized miracle girl. My sunshine, my princess, my daughter.

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Posted in Blog Update, Ellie Grace, Ghana, Living in Ghana, My Treasures | 1 Comment

Ellie Grace: It’s Official

Ellie Grace came home Tuesday August 26th when she was discharged from the Babies Home and into my care. Wednesday September 3rd we went to court and stood before a judge, and now she is legally mine.

When I first knew I was to be her momma months ago, when God so clearly laid it on my heart, I knew there was a chance she could never legally be my daughter. I know how the governmental systems can work here, and knew that it would be a massive fight for me to gain custody of her. But I would not let fear hold me back, it was all or nothing.

So I started the paperwork and completed all necessary steps. She was discharged from the Babies Home and into my arms. But there was one more hurdle to maneuver, and it was the biggest of all. I needed to compile a case to be presented in court as to why I should be granted custody, and a judge would decide if Ellie could be legally my daughter. And that last, most important step, terrified me. I knew in my heart she was already my daughter, and had been for a while, and the thought of losing her was unbearable.

We pressed onwards and complied the case. A court date was scheduled. I got her dressed that morning in our matching Ghanaian outfits, and knew that the day would either make or break my heart. But I stood firm in the fact that I knew God had so clearly chosen Ellie to be my daughter, and knew that whatever happened, He was in control.

After waiting what felt like hours, we were called into the court room. The case was presented, the judge asked me some questions, the panel deliberated, Ellie was babbling loudly the whole time, and after being in the court room less than 10 minutes, the judge said, “I have no more questions. This case is obvious. She belongs with you. I am granting you legal guardianship with no reservations. You may even travel outside Ghana with her. Congratulations, she’s yours now.”

And with those words, it became official what I’ve known in my heart for months. Ellie Grace is my daughter. Legally.

The rest of the day was a blur of celebration and kissing my girl’s cheeks about a thousand times and telling her how much I love her. All my Ghanaian friends & I danced and jumped joyfully as we celebrated the huge milestone, an orphan becoming a daughter…Ellie Grace becoming mine.

But this is just the beginning of our journey together. Being a single mom to a special needs 16 month old is faaaaaar from easy, but most definitely worth it. I cherish each and every day with my pint sized miracle girl & marvel at all the progress she’s made in the last two weeks with me. It is the greatest God-gifted blessing to be her momma…in my heart…and now on paper.

[I did not know that the judge would grant me permission to travel with Ellie outside the country. I am working on getting her birth certificate, passport, and American visitors visa so we can come see family and friends in America within the next year! Yippie!!]

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Posted in Ellie Grace, Ghana, Living in Ghana, My Treasures | Leave a comment

When you pray bold prayers part 2….[Meet Ellie Grace]

I want to tell you about two warriors.
I want to tell you about love, loss, heartbreak, and Jesus healing all.
I want to tell you about these two warriors coming home.
I want to tell you about my treasured son and daughter.

** Names have been changed for privacy & parts of the story have been excluded for personal/legal reasons **

In January 2014, I moved indefinitely to Ghana to follow God’s call to be His hands & feet in this small West African country. I had no idea the plans He had for me, but I faithfully packed up my life and moved across the globe. Less than a month living in Ghana I got an email from a Ghanaian man named Joseph that said, “My wife’s sister just passed away leaving behind six children. 4 primary school aged children and 10 month old twins. The 4 older children are living with their grandmother in a village and the twins are staying with different people. The twins are underdeveloped and not feeding well. Can you help me?”

Because of my connections with many non profits here, I get these calls/emails frequently about children who need assistance. I investigate every case and see if I can help them directly, or connect them with a partner organization that can offer any services or programs. Even though I get these requests for help often, this one seemed different. It touched my heart in a different way and I felt the nudge to act. I picked up the phone and called Joseph. I learned more about the situation and my heart broke even further. Since their mother’s death, the twins had been passed from person to person because no one could provide nutrition or medical care. I knew I needed to do something.

I got off the phone, began to pray for discernment and guidance, and asked friends and family to join me in lifting this situation up to our Father.

I do not believe in removing children from their biological or extended family unless absolutely necessary. I believe in supporting, encouraging, and assisting the family that God born them into, before considering removing children. I believe that orphanages should be the last resort for children, but often times they are used as the first and only option.  Most times, with economic assistance, families can, and want to, take care of their children. (For more information, please check out Abide Family Center).

I called Joseph back the following day and asked him if any family members would be able to care for the twins with support of formula, diapers, wipes, etc, along with financial provision. I explained to him that I whole-heartedly didn’t want to bring the twins to an orphanage without exhausting all options of keeping them in their family. He said he would talk to the family when they gathered for the funeral of the twins’ mother.

I prayed constantly for these two sweet babies, their older siblings, and for the entire family. I wanted someone to step up and offer to take care of them. I wanted this to be a success story of keeping a family together through economic support. I wanted to walk alongside this family and watch all the kids grow up healthy and happy. I wanted none of the children to be in an orphanage. I wanted the utmost best for all of them. So I prayed and prayed, and knew that the Maker of the universe had every little detail already planned out.

A month later, Joseph called back and said that when the entire extended family gathered, no one wanted to care for the twins, for various reasons. I didn’t ask about any details, nor did I want to stick my nose too deep into their family’s issues. Joseph also said that he approached a few local orphanages to see if they could take the twins in, and they all said they were full. He said, “Rebecca, I am worried the twins will die very soon. They are underdeveloped and have only been fed rice and water for months, because that is all we could afford. Is there anything you can do?”

It was very obvious that the family had exhausted all avenues of caring for the twins, and without intervention, they would die. My heart hurt a little knowing I would have to remove the twins from their family, but I felt at peace with the situation. I got off the phone and called the director of a Babies Home that I have worked closely with.

This Babies Home is extremely unique, and the only one in Ghana (that I know of) operating as a short term, temporary home. The children in the home are all under 4 years old and most of their mothers have died in childbirth or shortly after. Each child has a specific exit plan, and most involve reunification with extended family once healthier and off of formula. The home is not a permanent or long-term solution for the children. They don’t believe in institutionalization of children, or keeping children who have family that want to love and care for them, but simply can’t due to poverty. I fully support their mission and vision, and they are the only Babies Home that I work with here in Ghana.

Because of our close relationship, the director of the Babies Home said that I could bring the twins to stay there until a better solution was found. I called Joseph back, and we arranged for his wife to bring the twins the following day.

Joseph’s wife brought the twins 10 hours south, on bus through rough terrain, and met me at the Babies Home. I had never seen the twins before, because I had only spoken to Joseph on the phone.  The minute I laid eyes on them, and my heart was captured. Their dark brown eyes cried out for help and love. Their frail bodies could barely move. They had no muscle tone on their bodies, no meat on their bones, and no food in their bellies. They were 10 months old, but weighed that of a newborn. And they weren’t just “underdeveloped” like Joseph had said, but both had special needs.

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I got them settled in their crib and learned more details about their situation that absolutely shattered my heart. I could not fathom all that the twins had been through in their 10 short months of life. After hearing everything, I knew that it was best that they were at the Babies Home, but knew their long term plans were very hazy. Ultimately, God had closed so many doors, opened even more, and placed them in my life for His mighty plans.

The following day the twins were taken to the hospital and put on a high calorie diet to help fight their malnutrition, and seen by a physical therapist to begin to loosen up their non existent and very tight muscles. Even in just 24 hours, their faces had become less grey colored, and the twinkle in their eyes was glimmering small.  The doctor took one look at them and said they were dying, and if I hadn’t brought them in that day, they probably wouldn’t have lived much longer.

The Babies Home is six hours roundtrip from my house in Kumasi, so I began visiting the twins twice a week to monitor their health and overall well being. I worked closely with the Babies Home director to help get them the best care possible.

Friends and family began lifting the two babies up in prayer, as I was watching God heal their tiny bodies and hearts. Over the months, they began gaining weight, becoming more alert, and making huge strides in their development. I was watching miracle after miracle happen before my eyes, and was in awe that God chose me to be a vessel of His love for the two of them. They were the sweetest pair, and I had fallen hard for them.

IMG_8994[Boy twin growing big & strong- March 2014]
IMG_9259[Girl twin gaining weight & muscle- March 2014]

The long term home for them was still unknown. I hoped that they would be able to be resettled back with their family once healthier, and that an extended family member would care for them with my long-term assistance.

But everything changed with one email.

A volunteer at the Babies Home contacted me saying that boy twin had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. I saw him a few days before this happened and he was happy and seemingly healthy. He was rushed to the hospital and declined. Just a few days after his 1st birthday. My heart was shattered, and I had no idea how to pick up the pieces. This child held a massive piece of my heart. I considered him a son, not by blood or by legal order, but a son nonetheless. My treasured boy. The world was missing a hole that only he could fill. But in the midst of pain, I rejoiced. For he was with our Heavenly Father, and was reunited with his mother. I could only imagine the singing and dancing that ensued when they saw each other. My precious boy went home, to his true home, the only place he belongs. So I thanked the Lord for the time we had together on Earth, and praised Him that we will all be together in Heaven one day. But that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t still missing a piece to this day.

IMG_9265[My boy had some heart piercing eyes]

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[When I was at the Babies Home, he never wanted to be out of my arms]

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[My treasured son, how I miss you to this day]

My mind began to fill with worry about girl twin. “What about her? She has lost her mother, and her twin brother. Her father will never be in the picture. Her family can’t care for her. She is living at a Babies Home with 30+ other children, and has a continuous rotation of caregivers. She has special needs that require constant attention. Where is best for her? God, please show me the plans for her. What should I do?” Those words were whispered for day in and day out as I tried to figure out what was best for Little One. I continued to visit her at the Babies Home twice a week, and watched her change from the dying, sickly tiny baby into a bigger, healthier, smiley child.

Since the minute I met her and her brother, I had been (secretly…or not so secretly) praying about foster care. I know my home here in Ghana is for special needs treasures, and of course I would have loved to welcome them both in if God made it clear that was what I was to do. But before then, I always felt the road to foster care was not one I should walk down.

I went to visit her at the Babies Home one day, and had an inkling that someone big was bound to happen. I sat down to talk with the director, and she said, “Rebecca, we are taking good care of Little One, but I have been praying, and I think she belongs with you in your home. She’s your daughter, and has been from the beginning.” And I was speechless. I was going to talk to the director that day about getting foster custody of Little One, and she brought it up first. ONLY GOD. And that’s the moment that I knew. I knew she was my daughter, and I was her momma.

I called Joseph that night and shared my heart for Little One, and my thoughts on fostering her. He said he would want her in no other home than mine. He gave me his family’s blessing to proceed with the process.

I don’t know whether Little One will be with me for a short time, or a long while. I have foster custody of her, and am praying about the next steps and for her future. She is my daughter. She is mine, and I am hers. With children, you don’t love halfway. There is no partial loving. It’s either all in, or all out. I love her fiercely, whether she will legally carry my last name one day or not.

So that is the story of my two warriors. Both who have come home. One to the Father, and the other to my home. My son and daughter. My two little loves. My treasures. This story is not over though, it has only just begun.

That’s what happens when you pray bold prayers, God just might answer them in a way you never expected, but always wanted.

After lots of paperwork, meetings, and phone calls…it is such an honor to introduce to you God’s greatest gift to me, my treasured daughter, my sunshine girl, my Ellie Grace.

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IMG_8537[ ^^ February 2014]
IMG_8370[^^ Six months later…August 2014….God heals & restores.]

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Posted in Blog Update, Ellie Grace, Foster Care, Ghana, Living in Ghana, My Treasures | 1 Comment

Theresa part 2 [Faustina Business Grant]

Back in April I introduced to my first treasure, the inspiration for The Treasured Ones, my sweet Theresa. If you haven’t read her story, you can read it here.

After Theresa died, I broke down. She was the first child that I had known that had passed away. Everyday I live here I hear about children passing away, but Theresa was different. She wasn’t just a statistic of children that die under 5 here. She wasn’t just a child with hydrocephalus. She wasn’t just a name and a face. She was Theresa, a little baby who died way sooner than she should have, in part due to the governmental + hospital “systems”, that aren’t really systems at all, as much as they are disorganized, messy, and corrupt institutions. But she is dancing with Jesus now, full, free, and whole.

And I learned that beauty can come from ashes.

In the midst of Theresa’s death & grieving, I felt the push to reach out to Theresa’s mother, Faustina, to see how I could continue to help her. She has three more children who are living in northern Ghana with their grandmother. Faustina traveled down to Kumasi with Theresa to see if there were any better hospitals here, and they ended up staying for six months while Faustina tried to make money to pay for Theresa’s shunt surgery. There are more opportunities in a big city like Kumasi than there are in tiny villages in northern Ghana. Faustina didn’t bring her other three children because school is totally free in the north, whereas here she would have to pay for them to attend school.

After Theresa died, she told me that she wanted to stay in Kumasi and continue to work and send money to the north to feed her other three children. That’s when I had an idea. Instead of financially contributing to Faustina’s family, why don’t I help provide something where she can make all the money herself?

I asked Faustina if there was any trade, business, or food that she thought was needed in her community. She said yes, there were no people selling yams, and all the community members have to travel far to buy their yams. She wrote down all the costs involved with starting a yam business. We discussed business tactics, financial planning, money saving, and budgeting. She was on board for all of it, and explained how this business would be profitable.

Many of you generous blog readers & friends responded to the post I wrote, and wanted to help Faustina start her business. The money you provided was more than the amount that Faustina needed to fully open her yam selling venture.

Last week I met up with Faustina, went over her business plan one more time, and took her to the place where she would be depositing & saving her money. She was so excited when I handed her the booklet where she would write down all her purchases, deposits, and withdrawals. I saw a new sparkle in her eye that day, one that I hadn’t seen since her baby girl went to be with Jesus. She had pride. She had hope. She had a dream.

Faustina has been running her yam selling business for almost two weeks now and I have gotten nothing but amazing reports from her. The community members are very excited that they now can buy yams locally. Faustina is selling out of yams, and is actually turning a profit. She has already sent some of the money to the north to care for her three children. All she says is, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for helping me care for myself and my children. I will never be able to thank you enough. I am so happy to be working again.”

That amount of pride would have never come from me just handing her money.
That amount of confidence would have never come from me giving her clothes and shoes for her children.
That amount of hope would have never come from a hand out.

Hand outs of money are bandaids over bullet holes. They are a quick fix. They are the easier road. But I knew I wanted more for Faustina than that. I wanted to help her help herself. It would have been so much easier to just give her money and be done with it. But that money would have run out. And she would be back in the same place she was. But now, a small amount of money that helped start her business, will provide her with a job, with a living, with money to send her children to school, with hope & a future. And that is why I believe in taking the harder road, of self-sustainability, of empowerment, of giving people all the skills, resources, and tools….and then watching them fly.

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