Monday, November 23, 2009

More on Nomile!

What a day.  I got a few things done this morning that I had planned, but not as much as I had hoped considering I only have a l little more than a week before I leave to come home.  However, the big thing that happened today is that Thoko gave Nomile's grandfather transport money so he could come meet us at the hospital and talk to Nomile's social worker.  She thought he would probably feel more free to tell the real story if the grandmother wasn't around.  (Thoko is sure that his wife, Nomile's grandmother abuses him as well.)  We were supposed to meet him at the hospital at noon, but Thoko was in a meeting that went longer than she thought it would.  So by the time Thoko and I went to the hospital it was close to 2:00.  We didn't see him outside where she had told him to meet her so we went to see Nomile.  We walked in the door and the grandfather was sitting on a chair.  Nomile was sitting in her crib.  My heart stopped. I really didn't want the grandfather to see Nomile, especially without Thoko and I because I was worried how Nomile would react or what was going through her little mind.   Nomile was not her normal self.  I've noticed that when there is more than one person giving her attention, she doesn't seem to be able to handle it.  She just kind of withdraws into her original behavior.  I've also noticed if something is uncomfortable, such as when she wets her nappie, that she briefly withdraws.  I wasn't surprised to find her unresponsive again.

To my surprise, she did hold her hands out to me and let me hold her and rock her.  She leaned her head against my lips, the signal for more kisses.  She gave a couple of small smiles, but not even close to what I saw yesterday.  Thoko said the grandfather could not believe she was the same child.  Thoko took him to speak with the social worker and I stayed with Nomile. (Aw, too bad...NOT!)  Nomile and I had such fun.  She is now saying "bababa" and I said "mamamama" to her and she repeated me.  She was reaching out for me to play with her even more than yesterday.  All of the nurses and workers that came into the room said they couldn't believe what a different child she is.  I stood her on the floor today.  She had a ball exploring, playing with the balloon, a telephone rattle I bought her last week and a toy truck.  But what she really liked was trying to sneak by me while I tried to tickle her tummy.  She also liked walking into the main ward.  The first time she did it she waved bye-bye to me!  I would run after her, throwing her into the air and blowing on her tummy and she would just squeal.  It was such a joy.  Thoko and the Grandfather were with the social worker for about two hours.

When Thoko came back, she told me that the grandfather told the social worker everything.  The story is unbelievable.  The grandfather was actually praying that the grandmother would kill the child so that she would be out of her pain and misery.  I can understand his desperation, but a grandparent praying that prayer is beyond my comprehension.  He told the social worker about the shack she had to sleep in alone whether it was cold, hot or raining.  He told her he thought she would die by the end of the day the morning he had another child carry her to Thoko's house.  He told the social worker that the child couldn't come home and couldn't even go home with someone in the area because his wife would make life miserable for Nomile and whoever took her in.  Thoko talked to her about the ABC House at Bulembu and the social worker said they could probably make that happen but that they wouldn't be able to put her up for adoption.  I assume the main reason is because there is not documented proof that the father and mother of the child are alive or dead.  Thoko told the social worker that we didn't care about that, but that she and I wanted the child to be in a place where we knew she would be loved and cared for.  She also told her that I would really like to know the child will be safe before I leave for home.  The social worker said the grandfather would have to sign an affidavit and he said he would sign it.  He does not want her to come home.  I had chills as Thoko was telling me about the visit.  On one hand the behavior of the grandparents is unfathomable to me; on the other hand I am thanking God for wrapping his arms around this child and saving her.  I want to cry and shout for joy at the same time.  Nothing is a done deal yet, so we have to be cautious and diligent to make this happen, but I know in my heart that the Lord is answering all of our prayers.  And the grandfather is now saying a prayer of thanks and praying that the child gets moved to ABC House or someplace that will love and care for Nomile.

The social worker that is in charge of Nomile's case is on holiday this week, so we will have to follow up with her next Monday, but Thoko said both social workers had been to visit Nomile and said that it was so clearly evident that the child had been abused.  I think just about everyone knows Nomile's story.  I was actually almost as afraid for the grandfather when he entered the malnutrition unit as I was for Nomile's reaction.  Lucky for him, all of the mothers and babies who were there when she was admitted have now gone.

By the way, the grandfather and Nomile look a lot a like.  You can certainly tell they are related.  And in case you haven't gathered, Nomile has discovered the camera isn't a bad thing!  This last picture is her making her great little motor boat sound. 

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