By nature and by habit, I am a planner. I like to be organized, have things well thought through and coordinated. I pay attention to details. Procrastination makes me antsy. I like to follow rules. Most of the time this is a strength, but this season has not left room, physically or emotionally, to get too far ahead of this moment, hour, and day. The unpredictability of the boys’ health and treatment has made “tomorrow,” on many days, simply a distant future.
Over the last few weeks, though, there has been more of a need to start planning a little further ahead. Multiple doctors’ appointments to schedule, coordinate and attend. While our return date to Kenya is not yet set, we know it will not be before the end of the year. We are praying Geoffrey will be able to come off of the immunosuppressants over the next few months without graft vs. host, but we know healing and full recovery will take time. We have witnessed it so beautifully in Ryan and are praying for more of it for our Geoffrey.
Since we are still in Los Angeles, finding a school for the girls has been on my list of things to work out. Last week, I was trying to make a decision but a couple of schools and walked into the office of an elementary school. I asked for an enrollment packet for kindergarten and one for fifth grade. I wasn’t sure how much more I needed to say or not say about our journey, as we don’t have all of the supporting residency documents the school district requires. Our story is that we moved in with friends for a year while our two boys from Kenya are getting bone marrow transplants at UCLA to cure them of sickle cell disease. Their twelve year old sister is their matched sibling donor. Yes, we’ve traveled with these three children as well as our four year old biological daughter. Their parents died two years ago, a few months apart. Their dad in a roadside accident. Their mom in childbirth. The baby was a preemie and miraculously survived, weighing only three pounds. He was brought to the hospice where we work when he was five days old. That was our introduction to the kids. Oh yes, we help to run a hospice in a rural village in Kenya. Oh, and there are five other siblings still in Kenya. And one of them also has sickle cell disease. She doesn’t have a donor match.
I did not say any of this, because I was standing in a school office finding it difficult to believe my own story. As I floundered a bit to try and find the right pieces of our journey to tell the secretary, the principal came out of her office and introduces herself. To my great surprise, with tears in her eyes, she said: “I know you. I know your story. I go to Christian Assembly.”
Tears filled my eyes and ran down my face. In that moment, I felt the kindness of God in a way that sort of undid me. In my soul, I felt the beautiful words of Jesus reminding me: “if I take care of the birds, I will take care of you.”
My planning, as necessary as it may be, couldn’t create this. Even in my prayers, I didn’t know to ask for such a gift; but it was given anyway.