Something I never, ever thought would happen in a million years is happening TOMORROW.
Casa de Amor will welcome triplet girls!
For more details, read below. If you just want to wait for pictures, these are about to be some of the most highly photographed babies in the history of triplets!!!!!!
On February 16...coincidentally the anniversary of taking in our “triplet” one year old girls from the street...a young girl from the countryside gave birth to triplets in a clinic. Due to reasons we can only conjecture, she disappeared the next day, whereabouts still unknown. The babies were transferred to the main public hospital here, and on February 22, the story hit the news.
On February 23, I first learned of the triplets from my administrator as I visited her at the hospital. At first I was like WHY did you tell me, I won’t be able to get this out of my mind!! But the truth is, they hit the news in a big way (like front cover more than once) and almost every day someone asks me about them. As I left the hospital, I started thinking, hm… I could care for one, the tias for one, and Savannah for one—simple! Or then I thought of something else, of rotating the night care between me, Savannah, and one of the night caregivers. As for space, I thought of setting up the physical therapy room since Maribel is currently on vacation.
That night I couldn't help myself... I shared with the two night caregivers and they went NUTS begging me to ask for the babies. I went into my room and the next minute volunteer Savannah was banging on my door “Is it true?! Are we getting TRIPLETS???” Their enthusiasm and that of the team the next day led me to take the plunge……
On February 24, we called the social worker of the hospital informing her that we were open to bringing the babies here. We were in contact with those making the decision the rest of the day (around press conferences regarding the babies), but there were various factors to consider and we weren’t sure how it would go. Still, Maria and I were absolute wrecks in the office. Since we couldn’t concentrate on anything else, I pulled out my name books and we started compiling lists.
We considered some themes, such as precious jewels or flowers, but then went with same first letter. Personally though, I think that to be able to easily distinguish between triplets I would pick names with different letters. Or do something like…“Brooke, Claire, Daria”. You know, if I ever needed to! :)
As we thought through Bible names, I said “How about Raquel, Rebeca, and…….Ruth!” Maria loved it, and those are the names that have held up with everyone we’ve mentioned them to. However the babies remain nameless as the relatives search for their mother and just process the enormity of the task ahead of them. (Surviving triplets are very rare in Bolivia! I’ve just heard of one other case.)
Then on February 25, I woke up early to an email from Elizabeth in England (also following the news) saying that relatives had appeared. Just a bit later under the bridge picking up a couple kids for paperwork, we looked through the newspaper the kids had and I read the news of the uncle and grandmother who had stepped forward to care for the babies after hearing the news. (They didn’t even know the mother was pregnant!) From that day on the articles no longer ended with “the triplets will be sent to a home for orphans” as it talked about the family.
My heart sunk a little, but after the initial disappointment…I was relieved. What a HUGE responsibility it was going to be, to care for Cochabamba's favorite triplets!
On March 4, I was preparing for a full, complicated day. We were on Day 2 of a nationwide transportation strike and increasingly violent blockades, we had a team of 25 or so Canadians coming, and I had loose ends of street kid paperwork to finish up. At 9:30, child social services called. The social worker started off with “I have a complicated case here….do you remember about the three babies? [do I ever!!] Are you still willing to help us out?” My mind sort of went blank at that point, but I tried to focus on every detail she mentioned of the babies’ health, the family members, and the logic behind sending them to a home temporarily: protection from rainy season health risks in the tropical region, where they are from.
After trying to calmly say “SI!!” my next question was “Can we go meet them?!” to which she enthusiastically replied, "Of course!". It was hard to wait for the afternoon, but on the other hand the time flew since I needed to be three places at once all day. Finally we were at the hospital heading towards their room. As I started to meet the relatives and new friends of the family I had just read about in the paper, the social worker and I started to realize how serious the new madrina (godmother) is about caring for the babies in her home until they are stronger. Again, I realized they might not be coming to us.
Savannah was with me and we both had the privilege of getting a peek at the three, lying side by side in their heated bed. They still weighed between 3-4 pounds each and were using feeding tubes, so the release date was again being postponed. I was concerned to hear that two had actually been losing weight. I couldn't stop thinking how they needed more human touch and love...which they would receive in abundance at the "Home of Love"!
With three options before family members, I tried to stay calm but still mentally prepare myself - just in case! We were supposed to be informed of the final decision on March 5 (Friday) or 8 (Monday).
On March 5, I flipped through a newspaper while downtown and gasped to see a new little picture and the headline "Las trillizas Valentina, Valeriana y Victoria son enviadas a un hogar de acogida” (the triplets will be sent to a home)! I quickly scanned the article for the name of the home - our home?! - but it wasn't there. The staff enjoyed reading the article over the weekend, but we were still not hearing anything official. Almost daily I wrote the "triplet fan club" with any updates I had, or not, because someone was bound to write or call me to check in anyway!
Then today, on March 10, I was heading back from visiting CDA II and III and the bridge kids when Rosa called me. I sensed something in her voice (we've done this together for years now!) and said "I'm on my way, I'll be there in five minutes" and she said okay, we'll talk then. I picked up speed and thought "it's about a baby, it's about a baby, I just know that sound in her voice!" I was so disappointed to pull up the Baby Home and see....an internet truck!! (We've been having some major issues with our computers/internet this week.)
However there was a guy standing with his arms crossed outside, who was intently studying me, and I was trying to figure out if he went with the car parked there. Whatever, I just went inside....and found 3 ladies from child protection talking with Rosa. As I tried to figure out what was going on, a glowing Rosa said "Jennifer, it's about the triplets". AND...my heart about stopped. :) Apparently multiple homes have offered to care for the "triplets of gold" as the hospital has dubbed them, but ours was the only one seriously considered as a viable option for the preemies. What trust! Very scary, very exciting, and very much a blessing.
We spent the next hour or so rearranging rooms to create the best spot for the babies. As David (accountant), Rosa (administrator/social worker), Maria (social work/health), Adelaida (childcare supervisor/nurse), Luz (caregiver), Nic (vol), Katrina (vol) and I all moved cribs around, vacuumed, scrubbed with alcohol wipes, repaired a crib, changed sheets, chose the best mattress, set up mosquito nets, moved in a dresser, and so on, we had to chuckle as we realized that we have never done all of that for any past arrival. Much less, 8 people preparing 1 room for 3 babies, LOL.
At 10am tomorrow, we head to the hospital to pick up the triplets.
More news and pictures to follow!!
Adios, Shana and Hillary - Thanks to Carla Booher for the blog! :) Wednesday night we had a "going away" party for two of our volunteers. Shana is from Texas and has been touring...
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