(This post is a copy of a newsletter we sent out over a month ago, but never were able to post as a blog until now. Sorry for the delay.)
“We Thought You Would Like to Know”
In two and a half years, fifty-nine abandoned, orphaned or at-risk babies have been cared for by Neema House in Arusha, Tanzania. We have loved each one of them. Thirty-three babies live in the house today, our capacity is thirty. Ten babies have been adopted and fourteen have been returned to a family member. One baby is in foster care. We thought you would like to know how Neema House Arusha has done. But numbers don’t tell the full story, pictures help. Below are some of the babies’ pictures when we first got them and then how they look today.
Dorothy pictured above is our little “gravel pit” baby. She was left a few minutes after her birth at a construction site upside down in a gravel pit which scratched up her knee. The umbilical cord and placenta were still attached. She had colic the first few months of her life and we said our sweet daytime baby was exchanged at night with a crying alien baby. Fortunately colic does not last forever. She is adorable now as you can see from the second picture.
Below is Dorothy today, pretty cute huh!
Phillip Wood is the tiny baby to the left in the first picture above, at the hospital. He was a preemie and spent two months in the hospital before we could pick him up. Below is happy Phillip today.
Sweet baby Doris ( I did not name this baby) lost her mom during childbirth. At the hospital, the mother needed a c-section but the epidural was placed too high which paralyzed her lungs. Unfortunately she passed away and Doris’s dad could not afford to keep the baby. Formula is twelve to sixteen dollars a can and the average Tanzanian who makes less than a hundred dollars a month just cannot afford that. It is one of the saddest things to watch a dad on what should have been one of the happiest days of his life, now have to sign away his baby and then go home without a wife or a baby.
Below, Dorris the day we picked her up from the hospital.
Above Doris cutie pie today with Megan Delaney from Australia.
Below, baby Sarah was abandoned at the hospital. The mother had left the room and never returned and after a few days we were called to come pick her up. Sarah is beautiful with big dark eyes and a dimple in her chin. A sweet couple from Italy, now living in Tanzania selling solar panels began coming to volunteer at Neema and feel in love with Sarah. It was a happy, happy day when they were able to take her home.
Above is Sarah after she was brought to Neema from the hospital.
Below is Sarah on her adoption day. Kelly Erdman doing the hand off!
Newborn baby boy Dawson, below, was left on the road outside a mosque in Arusha town. He was just a few hours old and was taken to the hospital. In a few days the hospital called Neema to come pick him up. He is a handsome boy now and has a huge smile for anyone who will pick him up. He was named for our longtime friends in Abilene, Texas. Dr. Dawson delivered our first baby in 1965 and he and his wife Dorothy later came to help out at our bush hospital in Southern Tanzania many, many years ago.
Above Dawson being fed his very first bottle by me, Dorris Fortson. The hospital does not use any bottles!
Dawson today, love the little slobber drop.
Pictured below is tiny 2.4 pound baby Maxine who was abandoned at the hospital shortly after her birth. They said she was 3.4 pounds but she wasn’t and in just a few days we realized this baby was in trouble. Thank God our daughter, Rebekah an EMT, was staying at Neema and after a wild drive with Jack Pape to the hospital Bekah was able to quickly get her into the NICU unit and breath for her until the doctor arrived. A couple who lives just a few blocks from Neema fell in love with Maxine and is adopting her. As Bibi and Babu we get to visit whenever we want.
Above Maxine in the hospital with Rebekah Johnson.
Sweet Girl Maxine as she is today.
Below is Frankie, our oldest and first baby at Neema. Frankie had a huge knot on his head and we thought he had hydrocephalus but the doctor said it was more likely that since he is a triplet he was stuck up against the pelvic bone which formed the huge knot. When he first came to Neema from the Masai village he was under five pounds and six months old.
TahDah! Below is Frankie Boy today. He is taking it very seriously to hold Babu Jack’s Bible on his way to church.
I wake up everyday and can’t believe that I get to do this!
God is indeed good!
Love and Blessings,
Dorris and Michael