Saturday, May 15, 2010

Harrison - A gift and inspiration!

We have a friend, Jack, who is in China volunteering at The Starfish Foster Home and the below details his recent experience with a precious child there named Harrison. (oh, I think I should note, Jack is 17 years old....there is no way you would know that by reading this!)

As some of you know, I have recently fallen in love with an orphan named Harrison here in Xi'an. He is 10 months old, very cute and has 2 of the 10 worst heart defects a person can have. We have spent the last 2 weeks together and built a report. He smiles at me, he feels comfortable in my arms, I am able to console him when other cannot.

Now, let me tell you about today:

It was 0930 before I got upstairs. I slept a little late, and had a few things to do around the apartment. I went upstairs to see the kids - and Harrison. Last night he had been his same old self, laughing and engaging everyone. When I walked in, everyone was playing and being their normal rambunctious selves. Harrison was sitting in the back of the room, a nannie rocking him. He was crying. There was a bottle near by, and he did not need his diaper changed, but something was obviously wrong. Upon inquiry, I came to learn that Harrison was sick. We took his temperature: 104 F. My roommate Ellisa, also a nurse, gave him some medicine to reduce the fever. I held him, I fed him, I kept a cool rag on him. He cried when we sat down so we walked around the room together. I held him and sang to him, praying the fever would break. We took his temperature again... still 104 F. We consulted Amanda and kept a close eye on him. We walked around the apartment again and again, waiting for the fever to break. Again, we took his temperature and saw that it remained undeterred by the medication. Harrison started wheezing and gasping. Lao Chin (nannie), Felix (volunteer), Harrison, and myself loaded up and headed to the hospital. I held Harrison in my arms in the taxi as we sped and wove in and out of traffic. We finally arrived at the hospital, Harrison looking as bad as ever. Our entourage went inside, got checked in, and saw a doctor in minutes. I laid Harrison down on the bed, and the doctor began to work. The doctor hooked him up to oxygen almost immediately. Things seemed normal for the first few minutes; but soon, it became evident that things were not OK. He was becoming less and less responsive. Doctors and nurses flooded the room, they shoved us out and rolled in machines. I prayed. The helpless feeling of your friend dying in the next room is not one you want to experience. We waited, I prayed. We waited more, I prayed more. A doctor came out, and babbled in Chinese to Lao Shin and Felix. Felix, who speaks some English, relaid some simple sentences. All I got out of it was: Lungs failing. Heart very very bad. The doctor went back in. Soon, another doctor came out. Felix said something. The doctors reply was short and stern. Felix began to cry. She said,"He said, 'No hope." I got on my knees in front of room 807 in the hospital in Xi'an China. I prayed. I knew that nothing was to big for my God. I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for divine intervention, I told God He would get the glory. But, today, May 14, at 4:56 China time, my friend Harrison took his last breath.

Now, lets do a little exegesis. Right now in the wake of tragedy, I see this going either one of two ways. Either, God was apart of the situation, or he was not.

1. Gods' in the room

The first possibility is that God was in room 807 today. He heard my prayers. He told me no. He knew that even if Harrison was flown to America to get his multi-million dollar surgery, that his prognosis would not be good. (Which is very likely by the way.) He could very easily have died in surgery, and even after his quality of life would not necessarily be the best or what we would consider normal. Perhaps the rest of Harrison's life would be like it has been, full of suffering and pain. Perhaps God did Harrison a favor, was looking out for Him, and helped him better than I ever could have.

2. The Forrest Gump Bumper Sticker

The other possibility is that, God was not apart of this situation. Perhaps Harrison just got sick and died. It happens all the time. Some people have congenial heart defects, and they are more susceptible to such things. They just don't have the right hardware to handle the job they need to preform. Sometimes, crap happens. God heard my prayers, but it's not His duty to bend to our every whim.

The truth is, I don't know. I feel that it could be either. It could also be something totally different I do not see or can not see. I do not believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do not believe that God has left us out here to completely fend for ourselves. I believe that it is a balance that we will not and can not ever completely figure out. But here is what I do know, and it is not contingent on premise one or two being true or false.

God took care of Harrison today. Harrison had a tough short run, but he is fairing better than any of us now. I feel pride and honor to have known him; especially to have been with him in his final days, but even more so to have loved him and been his friend. I am proud to have stood beside him when others would not, to have loved him when others abandoned him. I loved Harrison, but life goes on. Life goes on for so many others like him. Children whose lives are filled with pain and suffering. These others have no one to stand beside them, no one to advocate them. No one comes when others leave them. We need to remember Harrison, today, tomorrow, and always. He represents the "plight of millions" and we, as people who live in this world need to be doing something about it on a global scale. Sadly, we are not.

Take a look at at my videos, I took one of Harrison just a few days ago.

I love and miss you all dearly. This world is making me grow up fast over here.

Thanks for reading,


There is absolutely a way that each of us can help children like Harrison! Visit The Starfish Foster Home page to learn more.

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