Loving Babies at the (City Name Removed) Children’s Hospital

(Updated 1/27/18 to remove specific details)

I have volunteered for two shifts now at the (City Name Removed) Children’s Hospital through (Organization Name Removed) Romania and I feel like I am beginning to understand the process and definitely felt more comfortable today. Tomorrow, I work my first shift at the special needs orphanage in (City Name Removed). To be honest, I am concerned that this will be much harder for me than the hospital and I am trying to understand God’s purpose for bringing me here.

The verse that keeps going through my mind is Luke 10:42, “but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” This verse is from when Jesus is visiting Martha and Mary and Martha is busy attending to all of the tasks that need to be done, whereas, Mary is sitting at the foot of Jesus, enjoying Him. Needless to say, Martha is not very happy about this, but Jesus tells her that Mary has chosen what is best.

I’ll be the first to admit, I am a Martha. I like to get things done. I see a problem; I solve the problem, as quickly and accurately as possible. There are times that I am content “to be”, but most of those are in situations where there is nothing I can “do”.

I wonder if God is trying to show me that it’s okay to just be there for these babies? I was at peace with the idea of that prior to arriving here, but it’s been hard to see things that can be done to improve the situation – at least from my perspective, and not be able to do a darn thing about anything.

I do see the improvements that (Organization Name Removed) has made for the conditions of the babies here in (City Name Removed). From what I have heard of how things used to be, (Organization Name Removed) has made so many great strides. They provide all of the diapers for the babies who do not have parents staying with them at the hospital. The love on these babies every day, sharing the love of Christ with those who need it most. They minister to the workers of the hospital. They are deeply involved in the lives of these children, trying to help the children of the community make better choices and become more educated. They do so many wonderful things.

They are doing the best they can to work within the constraints of this hospital system. For instance, they have tried to increase the number of diaper changes per day (it was shocking for me to learn that this is a scheduled event – very hard to grasp), but the hospital does not have the personnel resources to accommodate this. So, babies continue to be changed four times per day, on a schedule, not necessarily when they need it.

The more I think about it, maybe this is as good as it gets – and it’s definitely better than the alternative, or the way things used to be. Maybe pushing too much for change would close the door and take away all of the amazing things this ministry has been able to do. Maybe it’s best to look at how much (Organization Name Removed) has done to improve a bleak situation, rather than how much more these poor babies need. Perspective is everything, right?

Maybe my expectations of the situation are out of whack. This is not America; perhaps it’s wrong to assume that babies will be cared for according to the standards of America, or my personal standards. Romania is a different culture; they do things differently. Maybe different isn’t wrong, it’s just different…

There’s this sweet little girl that I met yesterday in the respiratory unit. She has big brown eyes and beautiful brown hair. I don’t know her name – I heard several different names used for her, and I am not sure which one is correct. She appears to be around 2 years old to me. She was hooked up to an IV line yesterday and just cried and cried in her baby bed. She wouldn’t come to anyone. I assume her parents are involved in her life because she was crying for mama. Or, at least I hope they are, and just not with her in the hospital for whatever reason.

Today, when I went in that room, I saw the baby I held yesterday was sleeping peacefully. The little girl was no longer attached to the IV line and just had the port in her hand. I took the opportunity to try and connect with her, and I did. She was so sweet, quiet, smart, and very independent. She was also very mature and emotionally strong.

When the nurses came in to check her for lice, give her a breathing treatment, and give her medicine, she cried briefly, but handled each issue like a champ. She even held her nebulizer in front of her mouth and nose completely on her own. I am so impressed by this little girl.

She was very shy at first, but eventually she agreed with play with a toy. I read to her, but she wouldn’t do the tactile things in the book. She was tentative, but at the same time, she was so secure just being next to me. We just sat on chairs next to each other for the longest time. When the nurses would come in, she would cling to me. It was so sweet, but at the same time, my heart breaks for this little girl.

It was hard to put her back in the baby bed, and she cried both times i had to. I wanted to cry too because I knew she was just going to lie in that bed and cry herself to sleep, at least until the next (Organization Name Removed) volunteer came to love on her. She’s the kind of kid I wish I could take home with me.

I was happy when the nurses came in to listen to her with a stethoscope. They seemed happy with her progress. I hope that means she will be able to go home soon and not have to be confined to a baby bed. I know nothing of this girl’s family life; I just know she’s in the hospital and appears to be unattended by her family. I pray she has a loving family who just can’t be there for her at the hospital, despite wanting to. I pray this sweet little girl finds her way in this complicated world.

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