We wanted to take a moment and update you.
The year 2017 brought many challenges and was full of complications. One simple example was the most recent surgery. While it was fully successful- praise God- helping right Jozi's urological needs- it was postponed 4 times over a span of 8 months until finally being completed mid-December. This surgery also brought a hard recovery both physically and emotionally for the little guy.
Bringing you up to date, we can certainly say that emotions have been one of the hardest pieces to handle in 2017. Jozi is now 4 years old and has had a great amount to deal with in his short lifetime. Unlike when we had him at 2 years old, he now has all the awareness and vocabulary to express these tough, overwhelming, even traumatic events he's faced. To help him process and heal, he is currently seeing a play therapist in our area.
On the medical front, there is still more news, as you'd expect. Jozi returned to us in 2017 having taught himself to walk! All the professionals involved in his care are not only stunned by this but also incredibly concerned. While it seems great at first, in reality, his current gait is doing terrible damage to his spine and other major joints. A few doctors believe he could be wheelchair bound before 10, if he were allowed to continue this current mode of mobility. Remember, Jozi has spina bifida and a hip out of socket among many other abnormalities of the muscle and skeletal system that make moving difficult. He needs definite, continual, professional intervention if he is to not only live a life without chronic pain but also have any independence in the long run. The overwhelming truth is that without long-term, professional care in a first world environment, Jozi's quality of life and, frankly, his length of life would diminish as his spine, nerves, and ultimately organs would break down.
This has been a lot to swallow for sure. But, while it is overwhelming, it is equally amazing to see how God has equipped us with everything we have needed for the journey. We have the most incredible professionals and resources at arm's reach here in Philadelphia. We are certainly committed to whatever we are able to do for this little guy.
If you would like to contribute to the many financial costs we have in helping this boy, it would certainly be appreciated.
Christo and Faith
One year ago we brought you the news of big changes in our lives. Well, that was certainly an understatement. Life with Jozi has been eye-opening, challenging, but altogether wonderful.
We had no idea what was in store for us and certainly couldn’t have imagined the long-term road God would call us to with him. But here we are, 12 months behind us and 12 days out from taking him back to his home in Burkina Faso. And still another 7 months away from receiving this Little Love back into our everyday lives, next year February.
We are looking forward to “Year 2” with Jozi. Year 1 brought a lot of uncertainty. What is wrong with this Sweet Boy? Can we even help him? What’s it going to take?
Year 2 will include still more adjustments and a lot of work. We are looking ahead to a full-time program at The Family Hope Center, http://familyhopecenter.com/, where Jozi’s needs will be treated from the root of the problem…not merely the fruit of the problem. The Center has had miraculous results with all kinds of special needs children, but we’re particularly excited about the results they’ve achieved in the area of mobility and tactility. Practically, Faith will be working at home with Jozi for a number of hours every day (6 hours is typical) doing exercises that will retrain his brain and develop his muscles as well as slowly manipulate his hip to fall back into the socket on its own. Sounds like a lot…but would you not do it for your child if you had no other answers? Family Hope Center children…of whom we know many…have overcome blindness, muteness, deafness, paralysis, and the list goes on and on. It is truly a place of miracles.
With all of this said, we will need to be raising the funds for The Family Hope Center Program, all of the equipment we will need (such as an inverted table), the cost of travelling to and from Burkina Faso to drop him off and pick him up, as well as Jozi’s other physical needs over this new 12 month period…not to mention a French tutor so Jozi can keep up with his mother tongue to make transitions home easier on him.
Thank you so much for your love and support!
Christo and Faith
P.S. – If you are new to our story or would like a refresher here is a bit of information. It includes a bit about Jozi, his country, and the non-profit with which we are working.
He is 33 months old and is from Burkina Faso, Africa, just north of Ghana. At home, he lives with his parents and 5 siblings. He is unable to walk independently. This is in large part to his sub-luxed or dislocated right hip, bilateral clubfeet, bilateral bowed femurs, and the very unusual musculature of his lower body. This doesn’t slow him down, though. Jozi motors around by other means including a very impressive army crawl or more upright with a little car that he pushes around. He is fluent in English at this point and is as smart as a whip. He is a typical rambunctious 2 year-old.
According to the UN, his homeland is the 4th poorest country in the world, with no capabilities to give him the care he needs to walk. The country only acquired their first x-ray machine in 2004! They are a land-locked country that is very prone to drought and known for child labor in the mines and cotton fields. Unfortunately, his family is unable to obtain Visas to travel to the US with him.
MEET THE NON-PROFIT:
Children's Medical Missions West, http://www.cmmwest.com/, is a small organization that has helped well over 300 children in the last 13 years. They are "dedicated to making life-changing differences for children with medical needs from all parts of the globe, one child at a time." They do this by identifying needs among indigent children around the world, next obtaining free medical care in the US, and then placing the children into host families who are willing and able to foster them--taking care of all of their needs without any stipend whatsoever.