Tasnim’s dad holds her when she gets scared. She didn’t like getting the IV put into her hand, and for a few days afterward she cried when anyone who looked “medical” got too close.
It was her dad’s lap that calmed her every time.
The fathers we meet have made great sacrifices to find someone who could heal their child’s hearts. They drain family savings and travel to doctors inside the country and out, only to be told their child’s heart can’t be repaired.
And yet, they don’t give up hope.
When they hear an international team of doctors and nurses is in their country, ready to help children with heart defects, they come with their sons, daughters, and long-held hope.
We all get a jolt of joy when the doctor says ‘Yes, we can help you…”
Every time Malak’s dad comes into the intensive care unit, his whole face lights up the moment he sees his daughter. He makes cooing sounds to soothe her, and pats her bottom when she’s particularly fussy.
Like most families, Malak’s dad works during the day, so most of the responsibility for care falls onto Malak’s mom. But he comes to visit after work every day—and sometimes sneaks in before.
Rowabe and Mohammad’s dads have been spending a lot of time together. They sat for many hours outside of the operating room yesterday, waiting for news of Rowabe. This morning they are back in the same place together, waiting for news of Mohammad. They are a support for each other when the hours feel long and their nerves start to fray.
These dads are keeping their children distracted while they get an echocardiogram—a test that shows any damage to the heart. The test isn’t painful, but it goes so much more smoothly when the children are relaxed, and these dads are professionals!
And Walla’s dad? He is so sweet with her. As soon as she was moved to the intensive care unit after her surgery, but still connected to machines, her dad pulled up a chair beside her bed to stroke her hair.
Today, free of oxygen and drainage tubes, he gives her as much cuddle time as she needs while her body recovers.
So what does the love of a Libyan father look like? It looks just like the love of a father anywhere.