Tuesday, November 30, 2010

playstation and the human psyche

We spent Thanksgiving with our family in Tennessee. Throughout the week, my nine year old cousin sat in front of the tv, entranced by the war-related Playstation game he was playing. Although I made it clear that I'd prefer he play outside instead of (a little too realistically) murdering people, I could not convince him to step away. Instead, I sat with him and watched him play his game.
Though he generally ignored me, I intentionally drilled him with questions- if only to pretend we were bonding... and to see how much he really understood about what he was doing. At one point, our "conversation" went as follows:

me: why are you killing all of those people?
Logan: because they're evil!
me: how do you know they are evil?
Logan: because they're against me!

They're evil because they're against me. At first, it may sound extremely childish and silly, but after a moment of reflection, doesn't it sound a little too familiar? Whether it's an acquaintance with opposing political views or the ex-friend who made a selfish mistake.
Or Perhaps it runs deeper. Maybe it's the person on the other side of the world who has been labeled a terrorist because of what people with her skin tone did.

Thank you, Logan. Thank you for summarizing the tragedy of the human psyche so simply and eloquently.

They're evil because they're against me. That statement is painfully ignorant, and yet we continue living like we believe it. I think it's time to believe something else. Maybe something a little more positive... a little more truthful? Let's begin by loving each other more, despite what it costs us.

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Yep, my shirt is awesome. It's from www.heytee.org. Go there, buy stuff, and help rebuild Haiti one tee at a time!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


(I apologize for the fact that it has taken me so long to post this)

Well, I came back from Haiti a month and a half before my original scheduled return. Ultimately, we had to make the difficult decision to come back early because we felt as though our safety was at risk. It was not how I wanted or expected to end this adventure, but I trust in God’s good plan.

As for what it was like in Haiti, I believe these pictures speak for themselves. Keep in mind that the first, and largest, earthquake occurred on January 12th… more than 9 months before these pictures were taken.

This woman's foot was crushed during the earthquake and had to be amputated.

We distributed food and hygiene supplies to people still in tent cities. It is estimated that 1.3 million people are still living in make shift "tents" out of sheets and sticks.

This graffiti of a weeping Haiti is tagged all over the city.

Once again, I find myself trying to sort through feelings of guilt and sorrow for the people I have left behind while maintaining a thankfulness for my world here in America. How do you continue to live when so many die unnecessarily? How do I move on knowing what I’ve seen? More importantly, how do I help those who continue to suffer?

In the 1950’s a man named Everett Swanson was visiting a friend in Korea immediately after the Korean war. At the time, there were thousands and thousands of orphans left without parents or homes.

Everett Swanson saw children piled up in the doorways of homes, trying to stay warm. They were abused by the guards who tried to scatter them because they were a nuisance. Everett watched as a guard picked up a child by the wrist and ankles and threw them into the back of a truck.
He said to his friend, “No one, no matter how small, should be treated this way.” And he wept for the children.
His friend looked at him and said, “Now that you’ve seen, what will you do?”

Now that you’ve seen, what will you do?


Everett Swanson returned to the United States and started Compassion International. This organization is now reaching one million of the poorest children in 25 countries.

Now that I’ve seen, what will I do?

Honestly, I don’t know yet. And it kills me not to do something about it. I don’t know how to return to normal life here in America- and even more honestly, I don’t want to. And I don’t think I have to. I don’t want live comfortably here when so many live in misery there, so I won’t. (…by “there”, I don’t just mean Haiti, but all over the world where people are struggling to survive)

I don’t have a plan yet, but that doesn’t mean I have given up on the people. Sure, I could put something together haphazardly, but I’m waiting for God’s better plan- his more powerful, more divine, more excellent plan. In the meantime, please join me in prayer. For both them and us.

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long- though I know not how to relate them all. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord. I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. 
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, until I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalm 71:14-18

Go here and buy cool stuff: http://heytee.org/
Help rebuild Haiti one tee at a time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nakupenda (I love you), Kenya

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure — self-determined, self-motivated, often risky — forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind — and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” -Mark Jenkins

2 Little Monkeys

Jeremiah and Julia are the best of friends.

They talk about each other when they’re not together; “Miah” is one of Julia’s favorite words, and Jeremiah loves to yell out, “Lulie!” throughout the day. They fight like brother and sister two-year-olds, which is a lot of fun for me to when I’m trying to teach them not to hit…

And they absolutely love exploring places where they’re not supposed to be. For example, if they’re ever missing, I immediately check the kitchen and bedrooms (when we’re inside) or the gate and goat pens (when we’re outside).

They are so funny, and I absolutely love hanging out with them. I call them little monkeys because that is exactly what they are. They are such busy little toddlers, and they’re always into everything.

As much as I love chasing them around, I have to admit that it is nice when naptime rolls around…

What’s for dinner?

Here in Kenya, an appropriate answer to that question might be, “ROCKS.”

Okay, even though I’ve never actually been served rocks for dinner, they are eaten here on a fairly normal basis.

Sara and I went with Irene to an open market on Monday (which is a blog post on its own!) to do the weekly vegetable and fruit shopping for the baby house. Along with tomatoes, onions, cabbage and papaya, we also bought a bag of rocks… and I’m not joking.

Because I had heard that these rocks were for pregnant women to eat, I immediately asked who in the house. A bit embarrassed, Irene explained to us that they were an easy and cheap way of getting enough iron when they can’t afford to eat sufficient meat or beans. Kenyan women will literally crave these rocks, but only if they have low iron. They are essentially a very natural, cheap, and unhealthy vitamin supplement.

And of course I tried them. They taste like a mixture of dirt and chalk, and basically disintegrate in your mouth. I think I'll stick to my Women's One-a-Day...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Just a Couple of Kids

So last week, Sara, Melissa (two college girls who are doing similar internships at other orphanages in Kenya) and I walked to Nakuru town for the day.

While there, we got hit on by too many Kenyan men of all ages. Including a man who asked Sara on a “walk” and ended up getting more than he bargained for when she used the opportunity to evangelize to him, TIK.

We went to the fabic store, supermarket, post office, bank, forex, open souvenir market, curio shop, and visited the DVD man. We ate lunch and then decided to go get our nails done “in the park”. I had heard about this service from the girls at the baby house. They had such cool designs on their toes, and when I inquired about it, they told me it only cost 50 shillings! That is equivalent to about 60 cents…for a pedicure. I was obviously not going to pass up this good of deal, although maybe I should have…

The “park” ended up being a small patch of grass behind the main matatu (public transport) station. This “park” also ended up being home to most of the homeless glue-sniffers in Nakuru. The city is known for their street boys, and apparently this is where they gather. We were immediately bombarded by people selling anything and everything you can imagine. It was clear that wazungus (white people) do not frequent the area often. I grabbed one of the nail palettes and demanded that we would pay only 50 shillings. A few men agreed and escorted us to a place where we could sit. After the men were finished cleaning our muddy feet and painting our dirty toenails, a few of them offered us their piercing and tattoo services, which were very difficult to turn down, lol. We were followed out of the park by a couple of street boys offering to carry our bags for us. In order to avoid them following us all the way home, we opted to take piki pikis ☺
As most of you know, piki pikis are my very favorite, and it was Melissa’s first time to ride on! It was a crazy, funny, frustrating, strange, exciting, busy, and overall great day.


This is a speech I wrote last year. Enjoy ☺

“This is Africa” is a phrase I learned very quickly as I spent four months living in Kenya. When things were too annoying, frustrating, completely ludicrous, or just plain weird, I would have to laugh it off and remind myself TIA, this is Africa.
I went to Kenya with no idea of what I had gotten myself into. I was beyond scared of the unknown that lie ahead as I stepped off the plane to meet “Trena Ivy” for the first time, if she even existed. God gave me a little comical relief when I realized that Trena and Lisa were the only white faces among the black crowd outside baggage claim. We went back to Trena’s house and ate goopy, half-cooked brownies they had made in the Kenyan oven that apparently didn’t like American products. This is Africa.

I spent my first week with Trena following her around as she prepared to open the baby home. I promise I’m not going to recount to you everyday of the four months, but I want to give you an idea of the never-ending, everyday craziness of His Cherished Ones in Kenya by giving snapshots of my first few days there. Sunday, my very first day, we went to the Ngong Town market after church where our white skin made us the center of attention, which eventually led to many marriage proposals- lucky us. This is Africa. On Monday, we drove over TWO hours through the bush-where we saw my first herd of wild zebra, on roads filled with alternating craters and boulders to the Kajiado Children’s department just to turn in some paperwork. TIA. We went to the future baby house on Tuesday and gave it a good cleaning. Personally, I enjoyed cleaning the windows by simply throwing cupfuls of water at them. This is Africa. We moved Trena into the baby home on Wednesday with the help of three men and a pickup truck. And it wasn’t one of those big F350s, it was more like a 1984 Ranger. We moved the entire house full of furniture and everything else in only two trips. I think you can imagine how ridiculous and unsafe the truck looked- we chose to follow behind them at a distance. It was SO Africa. On Thursday we went to Heshima, the special needs school Trena works with. In order to find potential students, the teachers have to go from house to house knocking on doors asking if they knew of any special needs children as they are kept inside because it is thought of as shameful. Unfortunately, this is Africa. On Friday Trena drove me out to Janice and Phil Wagner’s children’s home called Haven on the Hill where Trena was, at the time, the director. The home is beautiful to both the eye and the soul. I spent six weeks playing with their six awesome boys: Kelvin, Hezekiel, Joshua, Godfrey, Tyson, and James. I taught them English and they in turn taught me Swahili. Yes, I learned Swahili from 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 year olds. TIA? Yep…

While I was living in the village, Trena worked to register Haven of Hope Baby Home with the notoriously corrupt Kenyan Government. See, registration becomes a catch 22 because in order to register, the home has to have 20 children, but you can’t receive kids until you are registered. This is Africa. On August 14th, I came back to the city to help her finally begin the baby home. We went to Nairobi Children’s Home and brought home three beautiful babies, Jeremiah, Julia, and Elizabeth. They each had multiple health issues from living in the government run home for such extended periods of time, but they were alive and finally home.

Over the next two months, I lived and worked with Trena and her staff at Haven of Hope with whom I became good friends. My life was a great adventure every day. Wherever we went, I would take my boy Jeremiah and Trena would take Julia- the funny one. It was so much fun being fake mommies.

In Kenya, there is always something. The car is dead, an unhappy baby, traffic jam, someone needs a ride, rain storm, the store is out of what we need, a flat tire, last-minute emergency task. There is always something. This is Africa. Everyday is non-stop activity. It’s exciting, it’s tiring, it’s Africa.

A few weeks after the first three babies came, Nairobi Children’s Home called and said they had just gotten a newborn baby. We picked up baby Joy when she was three days old, spent two gush-filled nights with her, and then had to give her back because her Mom came for her. Although it was Haven of Hope’s first success story, it was heartbreaking to lose her. We loved her. Luckily for us, fat Kate came only about a week later. She was so well taken care of that we were sure she would soon leave us too. Selfishly, I was happy everyday there wasn’t a call to give her back. Trena was sick the week we got her, so for about the first week I had night duty. And as a 20 year old who loves sleep, it was definitely a bonding experience for Kate and I.

These babies are loved. I can say without hesitation that the three girls who take care of them love them as their own. When Elijah and Hope came, Jully couldn’t stop raving that Kate was no longer their last-born. Because of Hope’s size and fragileness, Lynette immediately made the rule that she was the only one allowed to care for her, as she was the only mother among them. Irene took a special interest in Elizabeth’s physical therapy and made sure it continued at home, determined she will walk one day. Emmanuel and Simon, the Maasai guards, love to just sit and hold the babies. Jeremiah especially likes to be sung to in Maasai. Joshua makes up games to entertain Tracy and brings her with him wherever he is working. He taught Elizabeth to say “uncle” and Jeremiah to crawl properly.

This summer I saw the hand of God at work. Not only in the lives of the children I served, but in the people surrounding me, and in myself. I went to love and was loved greater instead. This is Africa.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This post is all about Kate, because she is fabulous :)

I love Kate. I love her chubby cheeks, nose-scrunching smile, beautiful curly hair, destructive intentions, and stubborn personality. She makes me laugh more than any of the other babies. I love that I was able to take care of her when she first came to Haven of Hope, and I get to spend time with her now, before she leaves. Kate's mom has contacted us in order to reclaim custody. As it turns out, she was not completely abandoned, as we first thought. Her mom left her with the father because she was not able to care for her at the time. Currently, we believe Kate's father is paying off the courts in order to slow down the process and escape his consequences. Please keep this situation in your prayers. I am confident that the best scenario is for Kate to go back with her mom and brother- where she will be loved and cared for by her family who desperately want her back.

(photo credit: Sara Crabtree)

While I was in the village, Kate started walking! I came back after two weeks to find my baby had turned into a toddler! During the day, she can usually be found waddling around chasing after her red ball while falling on the younger, less mobile babies. The girls call her "sho sho" when she walks because she looks like a grandma- wobbly and slow. I pretty sure that she literally walks around looking for things to destroy, and it's so funny to watch her. If she's tired enough, she'll let you cuddle with her but only until something more desirable catches her attention (which is usually a toy one of the other babies is playing with).

We celebrated Kate's first birthday last Friday, July 16th, and we did it up right. She had a homemade cake, we sang to her, she blew out her candle (kind of... she used more spit than air), and she opened her presents. It was great to see her so happy with everyone's attention on her! Happy Birthday Kater-Bug, I love you so much baby girl.

(I love this picture. Stuff your face, girlfriend- it's your birthday!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

this happened...

Yes, I got my hair braided with extensions. I had it done in the village for 600 shillings (approximately $7), and it took four hours. It was awesome because I didn't have to wash it or do anything with it!

However, after a little over a week, it itched so badly that I had to have my Kenyan friends take it out.

And this was the result:

Go ahead and laugh it up... I regret nothing ;)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Haven on the Hill

Haven on the Hill is the first working orphanage I worked at in Kenya. After nine years in the making, it is still only in its beginning stages, but it is beautiful to both the eye and the soul. Janice and Phil Wagner, who live in Texas, started and operate their Kenyan children’s home from State side, which is why the process has taken so long. They have their own U.S. non-profit NGO called Through the Storm. At the home, there is Mama Beatrice, Auntie Naomi, the property manager Njeroge, a night guard Timothy, and six awesome boys Kelvin, Hezeiel, Joshua, Godfrey, Tyson, and James.

Last year, Janice came for a two-week visit, during which we traveled into Nairobi and brought the two new boys, Tyson and Hezikiel, back with us to the home. It was an emotionally overwhelming and extremely rewarding experience. Seeing them, a year later, settled in and comfortable in their new home was so gratifying. Here is a picture of us last year:

At eight years old, Kelvin is the oldest boy at Haven on the Hill. He and his older brother John came to the home after the police removed them from their house in the slums. Their mother would leave them in charge of their younger siblings without food for extended periods of time while she worked as a prostitute to feed her drug addiction. John passed away last year from Malaria complications. Kelvin loves being the oldest brother. He is always willing to help, and he is constantly making sure the other boys are taken care of.

Hezekiel is about seven years old and was abandoned at his aunt’s house by his mentally unstable mother. After living there for years, he was taken to Nairobi Children’s home where he was for over two years; when we took him, he was the longest residing child there. The transition into Haven on the Hill was a bit overwhelming for him, especially after living in NCH for so long, but Hezekiel absolutely loves his simultaneous role as younger brother to Kelvin and older brother to the others. He follows Kelvin around mirroring everything he does, and when he’s not around, Hezekiel will take on his responsibilities.

Joshua, who will be six soon, has a beautiful smile, was found wandering the streets during the post-election war in 2008. He suffers from a stutter and an obvious learning disability, which are both most likely direct results of extended abuse and trauma. He's quiet, but he's so full of love. We have no idea what he experienced during his first years of life, but we can promise him a home full of love from now on.

Godfrey’s neighbors in the slums found him after his mother and her boyfriend picked up and left without him. He has deep scars covering his back and a slightly disfigured ear because it is believed that he was severely beaten by his mother’s boyfriend who apparently did not like him. He is now five years old with a larger than life personality. Though he is small in stature, he is the confident, bold, and charming boy.

Tyson, who is four now (he shares his birthday with me!), was dropped off as a toddler at a bus station with a small backpack full of his belongings. He was taken to a nearby children’s home that recently shut down. Because of this, he was apprehensive to come with us, but we were eager to show him a permanent home where he will be nurtured and covered with love. Though Tyson likes to play by himself or watch the other boys play, he loves to be held and snuggled. He can often be found wandering around growling like a lion.

The youngest boy, James, graduated into a “big boy bed” in the older boys’ room while I was staying there last year. He was born with water on his brain, a serious condition called Hydrocephalus. His parents left him in the hospital one day and never returned. James lived in a crib in the hospital for the first eighteen months of his life, so when he came to Haven on the Hill, he was very developmentally delayed. As a typical toddler, he loves to eat everything, especially handfuls of dirt, sand, and rocks since he never experienced these things as a baby. James has the funniest personality; He’s very spunky and loves to sport his comedic pout in order to get what he wants.

It was so good to be back at Haven on the Hill with the boys and staff. They have such a special place in my heart, and I loved sharing them with the team.


Kibera is the largest slum in Kenya, and the second largest slum in East Africa. It is the size of Central Park in New York, and it's home to well over 1 million people.

Whole families share 9x9 shacks that serve as kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms. Living conditions are far below what I would deem acceptable for human beings.

There is no waste management, so garbage is everywhere. The paths are lined with trash, and semi-liquid sewage literally runs through the "streets", in between houses and down to a river. People grow their crops down at the river because the land is irrigated there- by the sewage water. Even the houses are made out of trash.

The team and I were able to tour the slum and visit a feeding center run by Mama Oscar. She lives in the Kibera and decided to start a feeding program for the starving children in her neighborhood. She has over 100 children come daily for food and nursery classes. Before we left, the team donated enough money to feed the kids for over four months!

Monday, July 12, 2010

the new dorm!

While the team was here, their main project was to begin construction on a new building for Haven of Hope. As of now, there is only room for the six boys, so a new dorm will allow 10 more children to be welcomed home! It was very exciting to be able to be a part of the actual construction.

But don't be fooled, it was hard work. We moved block, mixed mortar, hauled sand, scrubbed, sifted, and more. Most of us ended up with scrapes across our forearms, blisters all over our hands, and very sore muscles.

My new friend Nicole's dad drew up the blueprints from America but researched and followed Kenyan regulations. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the site, we found that the foundation was laid in the wrong direction. For example, the front door was placed at the back of the building, up against the dirt wall. Thankfully, God was faithful and we were able to slightly reconfigure the layout and make it work.

During the first week, half of us went to VBS while the other half of us worked at the site. Then, after VBS was over, we all got to work together on the new building. We even made an assembly line in order to move hundreds of concrete block. Before we loaded the vans to leave, we were able to pray over the house and children that will soon live there.

Here is the foundation when we arrived:

And here is the building when we left:

I can't wait to meet the 10 beautiful children that will live here and become family. Welcome home, Beloveds.


The day after the team arrived, while they were still half asleep from jet-lag, we began a vacation Bible school for all of the village kids. Because of our great relationship with the headmaster (after Janice and Phil bought new uniforms for all of the students), classes were canceled for the week so that we could use the compound.

Each day we had 250 to 300 little, non-English speaking children show up to play with the wazungus (white people). We split them into groups of 50 and had a leader take them around to the multiple stations- drama, games, story time, crafts, and snacks. Each day they memorized a theme verse and won prizes at the end of the day for remembering what they had learned. It was awesome to see a group of Americans, who didn't even know each other, come together and teach kids about Jesus. Kenyan children are taught to be quiet and reserved, but we had them running, laughing, and screaming from classroom to classroom. Even the teachers wanted in on the fun as they each requested to be a part of a group. The children loved petting our white skin and playing with our hair while we enjoyed their never-ending parade of singing. Here is a video of their singing and dancing:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

11 July 2010

Yes, I know it has been a long time since I updated anyone, and I'm sorry. I was in the village, and my internet modem didn't work out there (plus, I didn't even have time to even think about it!).

Last year, I spent six weeks living at the orphanage Haven On The Hill. They are in the beginning stages, so the home only has six boys including Tyson, the boy my mom and I sponsor. A team of 32 people came from Pennsylvania and I was asked to come and serve with them. During their two weeks here, we built a new dorm, put on a Vacation Bible School for the village kids, went on a Safari, visited the slums, made home visits to minister to the community, build awesome relationships among ourselves, had a movie night for the entire village, and worked on many other projects. Space was tight- some of us slept in bunk beds, others on the floor. Plus, we had 24 women sharing a single shower and toilet. It was certainly interesting, but I was blessed to be a part of it.

There were 36 wazungus (white people) living in the Middle of Nowhere, Africa, and it was amazing.

I'm going to post more about the team and our adventures later, but I wanted to give a quick update. Also, here is a picture of Tyson and I to prove that I'm still alive. Isn't he so beautiful??

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

22 June 2010

Here are my babies!!

Elizabeth is three years old and has cerebral palsy. She had been going to school and was able to learn so much! She can sit by herself, roll all the way over, and her vocabulary has grown a lot.

Jeremiah is my little boy. He is not so much a “baby” anymore- he’s a tough little man. He loves to run, watch the goats, help “Uncle”, and he is a future soccer star!

Julia is not really one of the babies because Trena has decided to “adopt” her (Americans are not allowed to adopt Kenyan babies at this time). She is such a funny little busybody. Her and Jeremiah have so much fun together!

Kate is awesome. She has a snarl of a smile and loves to pretend to be a lion- grunting and growling as she makes her way around the house. Lately she has been standing up on her own, so she will be walking very soon!

Eli has become such a happy baby. Though he may look angry in the picture, that is actually his goofy little smile. He learned how to clap the other day and is so proud of himself.

Hope is such a sweet baby. She just hangs out and watches life. She just got her first tooth in this week. As I mentioned earlier, her smile is my favorite; it takes up her whole face! (I’m sorry…I still haven’t gotten a good picture of her smile, but she’s still so beautiful!)

David is the peaceful baby, as long as he is being held. He is six months old, but his body is only the size of a newborn because of the malnourishment he suffered before he came. All you have to do to get him to smile is say his name; he loves it!

Joseph, or “the last born” as the girls often refer to him as, is only a few weeks old and was abandoned/dropped off at the house the day he was born. He is growing fast; today he graduated from preemie to newborn size clothes!

21 June 2010

Welp, I figured I should let you all know what I’ve been doing here. I realized that it’s pretty shady of me to just hang out in Africa without anyone knowing what I’m really doing here. I’ve spent the last few weeks here at Haven of Hope Baby House working with Trena Ivy. At the end of the week, I’m going out to a village to visit the other orphanage I worked with last year, Haven on the Hill. There is a team of thirty Americans coming to help build a new dorm and put on a VBS for the village kids. I’m really excited to see the boys again and get to help out with the team!

While I’m here, I’ve been working with Trena and being an extra set of hands. I came right in time to help move the entire ministry family, which was a big undertaking. The moving company’s motto is, “move without tears”, but there were most definitely tears last week. Moving eight babies and all of their stuff was a bit crazy. My “project” here at the new house has been to organize all of the baby clothes. Though it may not seem like such a noble job, it is a necessary and time-consuming task. Between sorting through all of the jumbled mess of misplaced and not fitting clothes piles each baby had and trying to match the sizes of pre-bagged and new clothes, it was a mess for awhile. But, look! All of the babies have size appropriate, nicely folded, (and perhaps overly organized) clothes! Woooo!

(Also, if you’re wondering why all of the dates don’t match, it’s because I’m posting the date of when I wrote the post. My internet and I are not friends...)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

17 June 2010

Baby Hope!

Hope came to Haven of Hope only a few weeks before I left last year. It was October 15th, so she was my half birthday present! She was two weeks old and weighed only FOUR pounds. Her mother died during giving premature birth to her. When the family came for the mother's body, they left baby Hope behind because she had a heart murmer. She is a miracle baby, a child who survived the odds. That's how she got her name; her story is one of hope.

But look at her now! She's almost nine months old now and such a happy baby. She is learning to sit by herself and only cries if she's hungry and her food isn't given to her quick enough. Hope is still a little peanut; she has big ears, huge eyes, and a beautiful, infectious smile.