Originally published in the WFCF Newsletter, Vol. 8, No. 1, February 2014
The last two weeks have been anxious ones for our family. After several tense days of waiting and worrying, our first grandson was born – 11 weeks early, weighing 1’15”. When we first saw him in the hospital neo-natal intensive care unit we marveled at his tiny size. He looked frighteningly frail lying there. All the monitors, tubes, beeping machines and sensors hooked up to him and the protective barrier surrounding him made his body look all the more fragile. For several nights before and after his arrival we slept on edge, our resting less than sound. His condition was the last thought on our minds before falling asleep, the first thought upon waking.
Certainly, one of the things that brings us hope and comfort is the sophisticated medical care that is available for our grandson. He is being cared for by professionals trained in the most up-to-date procedures for such “micro-premature” babies, using the latest technology. It is incredible and awe-inspiring to witness what is being done to keep him alive, to help him grow and to ultimately enable him to thrive. It will be months before he is able to go home for the first time. But there is every indication that with this excellent care he will go home and there are good indications that he will be able to live a healthy life.
One of the other things that brings us confidence and optimism is the fact that our grandson has been born into a large and caring family. He has parents and an extended family who already love him dearly and will be the support he needs to grow into the person we believe he was born to be. He has people in his life who will nurture and encourage him to be his best possible self, of that I am sure.
But the sad truth is there are far too many other children around the world who don’t have that support nor the excellent care they need to thrive, to be strong or to grow into their potential. Far too many children live in environments of poverty, hunger, thirst, neglect, abandonment, disease and disability than we can fully comprehend. In too many places and communities the resources do not exist or are desperately inadequate to help children develop and live healthily. It is especially true for children who live with disabilities or who are orphaned.
My wife and I also have a son who lives with severe intellectual disabilities and autism. The care we are able to receive for him and give to him in our part of the world is a rich blessing. Now that we also have a grandson who was born into very challenging circumstances, with many immediate medical needs, we are reminded even more of the good fortune our family has to be living where we are.
That is why, most significantly, that I am involved with the World Forgotten Children Foundation. I know personally and first-hand what it is like to love those who need special help and care. I cannot imagine them not having the resources they need to be supported and nurtured.
My family’s experience moves me to want every child, no matter where he or she was born or lives, to have the same care, the same resources, the same opportunities and the same help that my son and grandson receive.
It is a privilege to serve as a member of the board of this non-profit. Its mission and its outreach bring new life and new hope to children who deserve to receive the best help each of us working together can offer.