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As I sit here at my computer, my mind is traveling in a hundred different directions. Where do I even begin...
Last night, I had the pleasure of being able to FaceTime with one of my best friends named Sarah. We talked for a few hours about baby plans, life, God, and of course Mama Abigail. When I finished sharing my convictions, concerns, and (honestly) pure frustration regarding the past three weeks... Sarah started giggling and said, "This story is ten times more dramatic then any Spanish Soap Opera!"
And, I would have to agree.
But how do take the one on one conversation between two friends, and truly relay it in words? I will try my best.
The past few weeks have been a very trying time on my family. It is certainly more difficult then you may think, to bring someone into your home/family when you speak two different languages. Especially when important direction is to be given, and received. Sure, we had a wonderful young lady named Linda to help translate during the day, but that can only go so far. So the first major obstacle we were faced with was lack of clear communication. Three weeks ago, when she came to stay with us we knew it would not be easy, but from the communication we received it seemed like she was really going to put effort into learning to care for her children. We also set up some clear standards and boundaries. But it is with a heavy heart that I have to say, on the home front at least, no progress was made. After three weeks, she still had to be told every time one of the children's diapers had to be changed. No effort unless being told to do something, and then sometimes she would stare off and not even listen. The children were left alone on top of the bed/couch on numerous occasions, even though we continually told her that the children could fall of the bed or couch and severally hurt their heads on our hard cement floor. (Little Aliyah still has a soft spot on his head, and he is just learning to crawl.) She proved to be very neglectful, except when it came to her personal hygiene. She put her need to bathe above all else, and became quite OCD about it.
During the first week and half, I finally just had to step back from this situation. Mama Abigail made it very clear that she did not like me, and was not going to change or listen. She stopped responding to anything I said, and would just sit there and glare at me. I felt a strong demonic presence in our home, and it honestly made me very uncomfortable with her staying with us. (I may or may not have hide all of the kitchen knives in our home at night.) Linda said that Mama Abigail knew she could not get away with stuff with me, and that I made sure she worked. That is why she did not like me. Linda actually was able to get Mama to open up to her about a lot of things. For one, we found out that she is not 18, but 22 years old. She also told Linda that her dad told her to act a certain way around us as to attain our pity so we would do more for their family. Mama Abigail admitted that her dad is the one who ate all the babies food that the clinic provided for them in the very beginning, so there is no way the children can go back into that atmosphere. Linda was also the one who caught Mama Abigail getting flirtatiously friendly with several men in our village, when she was suppose to be exercising her babies, and trying to get them to walk. Linda had a good talk with her, and it seemed like Mama responded well to what she had to say. But, there is more...
One afternoon, Mama decided that she was going to stop listening to Wanda. After some time of trying to coax Mama Abigail out of bed, we finally had to bring in a translator. We found out that she did not want to stay with us anymore, and she wanted to go back and live with her husband again. During that conversation she said that our family has done nothing for her, and she misses getting drunk with her man. We had already discussed trying to find the children's father, to see his thoughts and feelings on the children's health. We were told by her family that when Mama Abigail got "cerebral malaria" he sent her away. So with Mama Abigail in tow, Charlton and a brother-in-Christ named Silas left the next day to visit the village where they had once lived together.
That day, as well as a returning visit about a week later really opened up our eyes to many things. The man who Mama Abigail called her husband wants absolutely nothing to do with her. Mama Abigail is actually this man's second wife, and the first wife was not very happy with her showing up in their village again. Apparently, in 2010 her husband left on a three day trip and came back with a second wife (Mama Abigail). Now, the wives did not live together, the husband leased out a separate home for Mama Abigail, and Abigail her daughter. According to the husband and first wife, Abigail is not his daughter, but that is not what Mama says. He only claims Aliyah as his child. After Mama got sick in the head, she had a ferocious appetite and would not feed her children. Her husband could not work and take care of two families so he sent her back to her family with money.
So what exactly happened that made her sick? We were all told it was cerebral malaria in the beginning. That is until Wanda started to deeply spiritually reach out to her. Mama Abigail revealed things to Wanda about her past sins, and hurts. One thing she shared when in conversation about the first wife, is that she personally visited the witch doctor not once, or twice, but three times trying to kill the first wife! And her husband was there as well. Mama Abigail went so far as give her blood to the witch doctor, it was serious. Well, needless to say the first wife did not die... but Mama Abigail got messed up in the head after that. She is battling some very real demons. It breaks our hearts for her, and the children.
Our three weeks is over now with the Mama and her sweet children. We ended our time together with some serious prayer. Some men from our fellowship all fasted and laid hands on her, hoping to cast out a demon. Then they proceeded to pray for the two children. After a lot of prayer and deliberation, it has become clear that she can't care for her children. The last trip that was made to meet up with her husband turned out to be almost disastrous for the little ones. Mama was left in the car with the children, while Charlton, Wanda, and Silas ran into the first wives house to talk for 15-20 minutes. They left the window open, and went inside the house. When they came out, both children where crying their eyes out drench in sweat, while Mama was just sitting there zoned out. Wanda and Charlton immediately stripped the babies clothes off, and brought them outside. They were shocked that she did not open the door and get out with the children, or at least take some of their layers off. We felt a responsibility for the children, to make some sort of report regarding the continual neglect this Mama has shown to her babies. A meeting was set up with the Chef of our village, and she was absolutely shocked to see the photo's of the children when they were first found so severally malnourished. (See picture below) She basically said, one word from us and the Mama will loose custody of her babies.
Well, before we take that step Wanda found a new home for them hoping that with a little more time and the Lord's miraculous intervention they will be able to fully function as a family unit one day. There is an amazing women in our community who opened up her home to her two nephews who were severally malnourished, and she nursed them back to health. She lives alone with her mother, and she is a very strong, loving African Mama who I heard is a no nonsense kind of gal. Not only has she been very helpful with Mama Abigail, but she is willing to let them stay with her for several months. Lord willing, she will be able to make a lot more progress being in a culturally familiar setting with no language barrier.
Please keep Mama Abigail, Abigail (left), and Aliyah (right) in your prayers. This will be a long road of healing, but nothing is impossible with our God.