Sunday, September 26, 2010

Melissa Hope: warrior child

Photo credits to Michelle Roberts and Anne Peters!

Melissa Hope has the story of a warrior. I am so privileged to watch her grow day to day. If you follow my tweets, or are my friend on Facebook, then you probably know a little bit about her. I want to take a blog to tell all of you her story and how awesome she is.

This is a recent picture of Mel-loo-loo

Two weeks ago, Dr. Jenny Chapman and nurse Anne Peters came to Haiti to serve. While they were here, we visited the orphanage, held a mobile medical clinic and they served at the clinic in Pernier that we support. On Thursday (I believe), Jenny and Anne were serving at the clinic when we got a phone call. A small child had been abandoned at the clinic! This child was believed to be 6 months and was suffering from being malnourished. She also has down syndrome. Then, to add another whammy, she also has a heart defect!

She looks so cute with her hair smoothed down!

I was in utter disgust when I found out that someone had just abandoned his or her child. Even though I am not a parent, I still cannot imagine just leaving my child somewhere. We went to the clinic to pick up Jenny and Anne and they brought along this little baby. At this point, we were still not sure of her name so we just called her “baby.” The moment I saw this child, my breath was taken away. This little baby was 6 months but looked like a newborn! We took her back to the house, and Jenny bonded with her. We decided to let Jenny pick the name for the baby since she had formed such a strong bond with her. We thought this baby might be one that we had seen before, and Greg confirmed that. Her name was Melissa, and her mom had brought her to the clinic several times. The next morning, Jenny and Anne were leaving and they woke up to a feverish baby.

This is three days after she was abandon!

My disgust for this mother quickly drizzled away when Jenny was telling me that the baby was well taken care of. She had no rashes, no flat spots from laying down too much, but she was just malnourished. I was so quick to judge that mother before I even knew her situation.

Three days with her and I already started to bond with her!

Now, I don’t really even like babies that much, but this one was breaking my heart. There was no way I could send her out to the orphanage with her being as week as she was. So somehow, out of my mouth, I uttered the words “I’ll take care of her until she is better.” WHAT?! Did I JUST say that? I blew my own mind, not to mention everyone else saying, did she just say that?!

My first meeting with Melissa!

So Jenny and Anne left me with a lot of instructions and good hug and they went back to America. So now what? I have this teeny tiny baby and I don’t have any younger siblings, nor have I ever been around babies.

So that starts my journey. I now wake up every morning to a beautiful baby girl who I have grown to love.

She is SUCH a good baby. She hardly ever cries, she sleeps through the whole night, and she smiles 90% of the time when she is awake. I have truly created a bond with her that is unbreakable. I know that she is God’s child and He has His hand in all of this.

So where do we go from here? I feed her every 4 hours, and boy has she plumped up! Her face is totally filled out and her limbs are beginning to get thicker. She is very high functioning! She will grab my hair and smile and move her limbs with purpose. She hates being covered up and often when I put a blanket on her, she will throw it off to the side.

Little bitty malnourished feet!

Her heart is the main issue right now. We are not sure what type of heart defect it is, but we do know that it needs to be taken care of. There is a doctor coming down at the end of September and he has agreed that he will do up to 100 children’s heart surgeries free of charge. We are praying that Melissa receives one of these treatments. If he comes down in September and says that she needs to have the surgery extremely soon, then we will have to find a way to get her into the states to have the surgery. If it is not an urgent problem, then we will wait until the doctor schedules the surgery to have it fixed.

She has so many people praying over her, and I hope that you will commit to praying for her too. She has a long way to go, but I know that God will take care of it. He has placed her in my life for a reason, and I can already tell that she is going to be marked in my heart forever.

She is getting so strong! When we first got her, she could not do anything. She could move her limbs, but could not push herself up or really control her head at all. I am so pleased to let you know that she can roll completely on to her tummy, she can push up once she is on her tummy, and she has really great control of her head. She will be lying on my stomach and she will look up at me and smile. It is the most precious thing I have ever seen. So she really is doing better. I’m excited to watch her continue to grow, and I will do my best to add pictures every chance I get.

This is my absolute favorite picture of her EVER!


  1. I am so glad that you are posting about this special baby.

    Just a correction about the dates. She was abandoned on Wednesday that we were there and we took her with us to Thomaseau the next day. We left Friday morning. It was hard to pull ourselves away from her (especially for Jenny) but we knew that she was in good hands.

    So glad for the good report on her. Let's Skype soon so I can see that sweet baby for myself!

    BTW, I still chuckle to myself everytime I think of you being so adamant that you would never want kids and then just days later you have one! You gotta love God's sense of humor!

    Love you friend!

  2. Oh Kristina! Our sweet Melissa Hope. She oozes into your soul with that pure joy in her smile punctuated by her little dimple. No one is immune to her. I have held, loved and cared for MANY children there over the last 2 visits. But with Melissa you don't hold "another" child, but feel as if you hold your own. Words can't fully express the connection she has made with you (and me as well). There is only one way that I was going to be able to leave that last day and that was seeing her in your loving arms. Arms that may not have been mine but felt as extensions of the love I felt (feel) for her. Keep the pictures coming as she fills my thoughts daily.


  3. Kristina,
    I love this story! It brought me to tears hearing about the love and bond you have with this sweet baby. I was on Facebook and saw the pictures posted up and wanted to know the story. I'm glad I read this. You are a very strong woman and I will pray for little Melissa Hope and you as well! I hope you stay safe and enjoy the rest of your time there!

    -Anna Corn