Last week Hussein was given the official clearance to head back home to Iraq! He had a bit slower recovery than the other kids have and required a pacemaker to maintain the health of his heart- but he’s pulled through like a champ! Hussein and his family are excited about his healthy heart, but are also bearing a great weight of concern about the safety of their city in Iraq. Our partner staff in Jerusalem wrote about Hussein’s mother:
“She had an emotional departure from our house in Jerusalem two days ago, and it was obvious when we visited them last evening in the apartment here in Amman that her heart was still full of conflict about leaving the people and the place where Hussein had received the help he needed. She spoke of how wonderful the people are, that there are many good people in Jordan, and how thankful she is for the help they have received. And it is clear to those of us who first met her at the echocardiogram screening in October that the experiences they’ve had have changed the heart of both the mother as well as the son.”
“Hussein’s mother was quietly emotional during the time we spent together this day. They return to a very dangerous area of Iraq, and it is beyond the comprehension of most of us the extreme contrast she is experiencing at this time. While with us, she so enjoyed the freedom to go about the city and know she was safe… now she returns to the reality of a life I honestly cannot imagine. She was carrying so many things in her heart! I felt as we rode home from the airport it was as if a revolution was being birthed within her, one which perhaps represents the desires of many others in her nation who have not had the opportunity to experience the things she has. Please join me in praying for this beautiful mother and her son, and their family, as well as for the peoples in the land in which they live, to fulfill the good purpose God had when He created them.”
Four year old Hussein’s heart surgery one month ago was a success, but his heart has not been able to maintain a steady beat. On March 12th the surgeons placed an internal pacemaker into Husseins chest to regulate his heartbeat and to ensure that his heart continues to function properly.Hussein’s mother has been burdened with a lot of worry and stress as her son went through yet another surgery (this time for the pacemaker) and then they received news about increasing conflict in their hometown in Iraq.Our partners in Jordan wrote, “Hussein’s mom looked very drained while we were talking, and after a little while of sitting with her, she got a phone call from her husband that made her upset. He told her that there was a great increase of conflict in the city where they live in Iraq, that it was dangerous in the streets and on the paths leading into the city. He told her that he feared for the timing of her return with Hussein. This was very upsetting news.”As Hussein’s heart is healing and being cared for in very tangible ways, we think of his mom and the burdens on her heart. And since it’s nothing that surgery can fix, we pray for peace in Iraq and for the hope that Hussein’s healing heart carries to spread throughout that country.
Last week I made my first visit to one of ‘our kids’ – Aras, the start of what I hope to spend much time doing here as ‘Director of Rehabilitation & Family Relations’ for BSSL.
Aras was the first kid that was mostly funded for his surgery through BSSL . When we arrived in his neighborhood we first spotted him out playing on the street with his friends – running around, laughing, having fun! It was my first time to meet him and I definitely would not have suspected that he had been through so much in the past few months!
I had a wonderful time with Aras and his family. They thanked us over and over again for all that we had done to help Aras. His mom had put together an extensive photo album telling Aras’s story during his time in Jordan. It was fun having Aras talk me through all the photos from him lying on his bed immediately following surgery through all the various stages of recovery. He’s a real sweet kid!
Thank you for making it possible for kids like Aras to have the life saving operations that they need! Arya and Rebar just returned on Saturday so I’m also hoping to be able to visit them soon. This week I’ll also be visiting Baveel so check in again soon to see an update on how he’s doing.
Buy Shoes. Save Lives., Rayalla Organization, and Kurdistan Save the Children and other local partners recently raised and distributed over $16,000 to 21 children and their families so they could travel to Amman, Jordan for heart screening.
Some of these children will likely go straight to surgery due to the severity of their case. Others will be placed in line until funds are available to fund their surgeries – whether through donations or the revenues from our online store.
Arya is out of the ICU and doing just fine! When I met up with Arya he was hanging out with his mother and several other moms. These mothers all have at least one thing in common and that is their children have all had open heart surgery.
Arya is eating, drinking, and sleeping well not to mention that he sports one of the biggest smiles in all of Jordan.
There are two things which remain unchanged in Arya’s life: his surgery date is still uncertain and he is still a happy boy!
Not surprisingly, when visiting him today at the Save a Child’s Heart house, he was standing on a bench smiling at anyone who cared to notice.
liana, and Mustafa. Arya snuggled into the soft flannel cloth and gave another smile.
Since the waiting does not seem to faze Arya but it is difficult for his mom. They have been in Jordan over one month now, and still do not know when his turn will come for surgery. I am sure it is difficult to understand how some children get admitted to the hospital quickly, while others, like Arya, must wait.
Staff with our partner organization at the hospital in Jordan wrote about Baveel on January 2nd:
“The doctors knew when they invited him that Baveel is a ‘borderline’ case, and it is possible the catheterization will show that Baveel is inoperable. These doctors, however, like to take the cases other doctors might not take to give a child a chance to live… and I praise God for every one which is now living because of this.”
After that, Baveel was amazingly approved for surgery!
During his surgery on January 13th to fix multiple problems with his heart, Baveel’s mother shared that not a single hospital had been willing to take Baveel until he came to Jordan. She had been turned down in three other Middle Eastern countries!!! She is sincerely grateful to the surgeons and staff from both organizations involved for “not giving up on her son.”
We can’t really imagine the frustration and hopelessness that Baveel and his family have faced. Each child and each family come into this with their own stories, their own burdens, and we get to become part of a really bright chapter in that story!
Baveel now bears a scar that tells a story of hope and healing. And we all know that the people of Iraq can use a lot of that right now.
January 23, 2008 by Jeremy · Comments Off
On January 3rd Aras received heart surgery and has been succesfully healing and recovering since then. He has now been given a clean bill of health and was released from the hospital in Jordan on January 21st. He and his mother will be returning to their home in Iraq to begin a new phase of life- free from worry about Aras’s heart. We’re really excited to welcome him back to Iraq and to watch how much more he can enjoy life now!
Delshad is also recovering from his heart surgey that took place on December 30th. Due to some further problems he had to undergo a second surgery on January 3rd. This took quite the emotional toll on Delshad’s mother who has been at his side every step of the way. Delshad has shown great improvement however after both surgeries, giving his mother much hope! Delshad will receive his last echocardiogram on Thursday, January 24th and hopefully be released after that!
After several weeks of follow-up echos for Hussein,he was dismissed from Wolfson today to begin their joyful return to their homes and families. He came here as an urgent case, and is going home with new hope for a life and a future. Not only does this show on his face, but it also shows on the face of his grateful mother. Really, everything about their lives has changed with this opportunity to come to Jordan for the heart surgery they needed.
The return to Iraq began with saying goodbye at the Save A Child’s Heart house. Although the picture may look chaotic, the reality on the ground was that all of the women wanted to say goodbye to these three mothers and children who had reached the goal – well enough to go home at last! Hugs and tears were everywhere among us.
January 10, 2008 by Jeremy · Comments Off
Hussein was in the hospital today for what is likely to be his last echo. I didn’t expect to see him and his mother, but it was a pleasant surprise. Hussein was delightedly watching himself in the hallway mirror while I talked with his mother. We hope to be able to take Hussein and his mother, along with 2 other kids and their mothers, to the border on Sunday, on their way back home. Hussein has been away from Iraq since arriving in Amman in early October for the echocardiogram screening there. I look forward to seeing them off. Keep praying for them as we prepare for this happy day.