Yeah, another little precious angel has made it to the States for life altering procedures. Ken, like Jerrensia, is from God's Littlest Angels Orphanage, in Kenskoff, Haiti. We started Jerrensia and Ken's medical visa process at the same time and finally Ken came to the US a few weeks ago. He has adjusted to life well in Nashville, TN with his amazing host family! The host family has 3 older children that are spoiling Ken rotten, and from what I have heard, so has their entire town. :-) Thank you Elizabeth and Jason for taking Ken in to your home and welcoming him with outstretched arms and love!
Ken will start his appointments next week for his ptosis issues with his eyes and then he will be seen by a pediatric Orthopedists in the following weeks for his deformed left leg. With Ken's personality, he is going to win over the doctors and nurses and be their favorite patient.
Here is an update from Elizabeth, Ken's host mom:
On April 9 after ten months of a lot of “hurry up and wait,” Jason and I could hardly believe we were on our way to Haiti to bring 13-month-old Ken back to Nashville. Those ten months included applying for and being approved to be medical foster parents; traveling to Haiti last June on a mission trip with another organization but getting to experience a brief-but-wonderful 30 minutes holding Ken while picking up his x-rays at GLA; being rejected by numerous doctors and hospitals for Ken’s pro bono care; identifying an enthusiastic surgeon in Nashville who championed his case and ultimately secured the pro bono commitments; and waiting for birth certificate, passport, medical visa and travel documents.
Aside from our decision to get married, I don’t suppose that we have ever been able to say with as much conviction that God was calling us to a particular action. But, in this instance, caring for this precious child, this particular child, has seemed from the beginning to be a connection crafted by our Creator. We have also been gratified and overjoyed to watch God work in our family, as Hannah, Caroline and Ben have embraced the idea and the reality. They have been every bit as excited and happy as Jason and I are.
When we arrived at GLA on April 9, Jason and I found Ken on the balcony playing with Emelyne , one of his very favorite volunteers. He allowed me to hold him but looked at me a bit warily, as I would expect any 13-month-old to do, and returned quickly to Emelyne’s arms. As we sat on the floor to play, though, he warmed up quickly and we began to see his winning personality emerge! Though Ken was born with fibular hemimelia (he is missing the fibula in his lower left leg), he can crawl like crazy and even stands on his strong right leg. He also has a ptosis of the left eyelid and seems to deal with strabismus in both eyes, but we were thrilled to find that he seems to see quite well. Every moment felt like a gift after loving Ken for all those months from a distance, not getting to really know him. Soon, we packed up some supplies and headed to the GLA guest house to spend time getting to know Ken better and allowing him the chance to get comfortable with us before our trip home. We were prepared for the transition to be difficult for Ken, but he embraced us with a trust that made it clear he had been well loved during his year at GLA. Soon, he was showing us his huge, toothy grin and darling dimple.The day we left Haiti, Dixie provided us with perfect, step-by-step instructions for making our way through the airport and immigration so that we faced no surprises on the trip. Ken entertained folks on the flights and in the airports with his beautiful baby babble (or is he speaking Creole?) and, though we arrived close to midnight, he was such a trooper and smiled sweetly at his Nashville siblings. In the days since his arrival, Ken has welcomed so many friends and family here in Nashville who have prayed for him for months. He has settled into our lives as if he has always been here, even attending his sister’s senior prom! This week, we begin the appointments with pediatrician, ophthalmologist, ocular plastic surgeon and orthopedist. Our God has blessed Ken with just the spirit, determination and charm he will need to weather the challenges ahead. Let the healing begin!
Here is a brief update from Ken's host mom on his recent appointments. Thank you GLA for keeping all of your children so healthy!!!!!
He has seen our pediatrician twice now, and though below the charts in weight for his age, was pronounced completely healthy. He had lost one ounce at first visit, so returned one week later with a 15 oz weight gain.
Yesterday, we saw both the ophthalmologist and the orthopedist.
The ophthalmologist said Ken’s “good” right eye is completely normal. The left (ptosis) eye has some amblyopia, so she asked us to try patching his good eye for one hour per day, which we began today (see attached picture). No strabismus surgery is necessary at this time so we will proceed with appointment with ocular plastics doctor next week for scheduling first eyelid lift surgery.
The orthopedist named 7 issues with Ken’s left leg and recommended a combined straightening of the tibia and amputation of the foot/ankle in one surgery, with the heel pad being moved to the stump to allow for weight bearing skin should that ever be needed. He suggested that, if we were interested, we consult with Dr. Dror Paley in Florida who is the leading limb lengthening surgeon in the country. We don’t feel inclined to do that at this point after reading so many accounts of the pain and multiple surgeries required in limb lengthening. The orthopedist said that clearly Ken is happy and active and will learn to walk whenever his limbs allow for it! (He also predicted that Ken will be a famous musical entertainer someday)