Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Day 17 - Morning Star Foundation

One in one hundred. So common. So many. I used to have no idea. For every one hundred babies born on this earth – all around this world – one little heart comes built just a little extra brave. Just a little beautifully broken. Sometimes? It’s something minor that heals up on its own – or – like all of mine here? It could be something that marks you forever, that brave line running up and down your chest, telling the story of the courage within.

I can’t ever forget now – they are warriors from the moment they take their first breath. But you know? There was a time, not so long ago, when I really had no clue. I didn’t know that fingers could turn so scary deep blue – I couldn’t have listed a single heart defect or spouted a statistic or understood anything about this wild and crazy world. At least – not until I met my one.

Sometimes? All it takes is one. One broken heart. One set of pigtails. One little button nose – and your whole world changes.

My baby sister was my one. Before her broken heart came in and busted up my own, I had no idea. No idea about these warrior babes and the battles they so bravely fight. No idea about this world of hearts – the world that has now entirely become my own. Her heart needed healing, and my heart needed Brooke. Her broken half-a-heart stole mine, and I knew I would never be the same. I left her in China at the end of my intern summer and I picked up the phone – “Dad? She’s our baby. We have to bring her home.” Her story has forever rewritten mine – and I’m forever thankful.

I now live in China, as the international director of Morning Star Foundation. I run a foster home in Beijing for precious little ones with the bravest of hearts, and my job is arguably the very best in the world. My babies here are one in a million – we take the most complicated. The most broken. The hearts that most have said are completely without hope. But the funny thing is? There is always hope. I see it every day. Every day is new – each one is a gift. Each and every one of their hearts tells a story – and I get to have a front row seat to their miracles. They come to us with hearts so broken, and I won’t lie, the fear can be so real. Ten to twelve little hearts, all living under one roof. All so critical – all in desperate need of surgeries, medications, love, and hope. They are all loved so deeply – so desperately. I now know it takes a dangerous kind of love, because loss is real and that pain cuts deep. But time and time again, watching them heal – choosing HOPE? It’s worth it. Every time.

Each one of my babies will someday go on to be adopted by a forever family of their own. I hope and I pray for these families each day – as I hold their son or daughter close. Because, you know? It’s not an easy “yes” – to choose this path. This road. Those files come and get reviewed and the cold, clinical terms can slap hard. “Tetralogy of Fallot.” “Single Ventricle.” “Pulmonary Hypertension.” “Inoperable.” And sometimes even…the oh so dreaded “Terminal.”

Beyond the babies, besides the hearts – my favorite thing in the world is getting to tell their stories. Getting to share their hope – share their fight – share their hope song loud. They all have one and they are all singing it clear – we just have to tune ourselves in. So much changes when that “Single Ventricle” description is attached to the most beautiful pair of almond eyes locked on your own. “Hypertension” doesn’t really make much of a difference to you anymore – not when you’ve got the sweetest little 12 pounds of tiny curled up against your chest. A diagnosis can be scary and stepping into the unknown can feel more like a dive than a soft little step, I know. But these babies? They are so much more than those words on a page. They are brave beating hearts, all wrapped up in spunk and sass – little miracles right in front of our eyes – teaching us more about living wholehearted than we ever could have imagined. 

The CHD world is now my world, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. The hope I get to see – all the little Morning Star babies who come tumbling through my home – their stories are going to change the world. They show us all how to live life brave, and those scars running down each of their chests proves it true. If you are considering adopting a child with complex CHD, I can’t encourage you enough to take the risk. Jump in. Your life and heart will never ever be the same. Each heartbeat of theirs that I feel so strongly against my own reminds me over and over again. Hope wins. And it’s always, always worth the fight. 

international director at Morning Star Foundation


MartaJoy said...

Bawling my eyes out over here....seriously! I'm such a mess for these babies amazing the work God can do in our hearts, how He opens our eyes to something and then we can see nothing else but this new reason for living! A new road to walk. A new vision. A new way of thinking. A new heart song! And you cannot help but to be drawn to it. To search for it. continues to find you. I am so ready for our China Joy. Whoever she is. Wherever she is. We are waiting. Walking this new road God placed us on. Seeing the world through new eyes. :) This is beautiful. So so beautiful. I love you so dearly Meredith.

Gwen Hafford said...

This is another beautiful story, Meredith. I love reading what you write about these precious babies. The love that you and the ayis shower on them while they are in your care is without a doubt, one of the best medicines they can be given. I love watching them (in pictures) as they live their little lives in the loving family that you have created for them there, even though it may be temporary. They are benefitting in so many ways..... Thank you again for all the wonderful work you do, all the bittersweet and sometimes comical pictures and descriptions you post. Seeing these beautiful babies makes my day!

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