I always thought hosting a child would be so much fun. To be able to love them and help them through their hard time would be such an honor. This past December this opportunity happened upon us and we were given the opportunity to host our sweet Fedna.
At first I was very excited about this and Aaron was very against it. He knew that he was about to start a new record and he didn’t want any extra strain on me or on our family. He didn’t want us to be inconvenienced. I told him I could take it. I told him we could do it. We both prayed about it and asked God to make it clear to us what we were supposed to do.
Over time God broke Aaron’s heart and he agreed to bring Fedna to our home for the time that she needed surgery and healing. After many crazy up’s and down’s Fedna arrived at our house on January 7th. I flew to Fort Lauderdale, FL and met Jess there who had escorted Fedna to the US. She handed her off to me and Fedna and I began our journey together.
The day after we got home Fedna began her medical journey. She was admitted to the hospital on Thursday for testing and we spent our first night together in the hospital. Fedna needed me greatly. She was dependent on me. In a world where everything was turned upside down I was her constant.
We spent the weekend at home loving on her and introducing her to our kids and dog! She blossomed that weekend. She played with the boys and they all had so much fun. She was still very afraid of Aaron and Carson (our dog), but we had a great weekend.
That Monday she had her first surgery. I was already attached to this girl that I had only met five days earlier. She had stolen my heart and I was in love. I waited in that waiting room all day long, as any mother would do for her own child. I was all she had. She was depending on me being there when she woke up.
We spent the next five days in the hospital together. We even celebrated Cayden’s birthday in the hospital! I could hardly leave to go to the bathroom without her crying. I could only take showers after she was asleep, because when I left the room she cried. That week I never left her room. She needed me and I was in love.
We then came home and discovered our normal with Fedna. She had a hard time sleeping in her own bed, so most nights she ended up in bed with us. She started developing trust with Aaron. She was starting to let her crazy and spunky side loose at the house. She was eating everything we put in front of her and she was loving us lots. She even started letting Carson lay next to her! I was in love with her.
Our kids were fabulous with her. They played with her. They let her mess up their Lego creations. They would play in the same room because she couldn’t keep up with them if they went all over the house. They let her hold their favorite stuffed animals. They were amazing with her and I was so proud of my boys for living a live of sacrifice even at the ages of 5 & 3. My mom heart was swelling.
Fedna continued her stay with us and had another surgery that put us back in the hospital for 6 days. We then celebrated Valentine’s Day in the hospital! Aaron brought a nice dinner up, flowers and a special something for Fedna! She then had to lie on her belly for 3 weeks. It was a rough time there at the end. She was a trooper though and never skipped a beat.
We took Fedna back to Haiti in March. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done. She had no idea what was in store for her. We met Zach at the gas station and I had to hand her over to Eve (who works for RHFH) as she screamed and cried wondering what I was doing. I told her over and over that I loved her and that she was going to see her Mama and Papa. She didn’t understand. After all, we still had a huge language barrier. I sat in the car waiting to drive off and I could see in the corner of my eye Fedna screaming and reaching for me. I couldn’t look. The pain was ripping away a piece of my heart. I felt as though she needed me and I had let her down.
Later in the week we were able to see her and meet her parents. What an honor for us to be able to meet her parents and tell them that we loved her and we thanked them for trusting us with their precious daughter. They thanked us and we all awkwardly talked through an interpreter. That was another hard day. I never saw her smile at all. She looked scared and afraid. She acted like she didn’t know me. She wouldn’t even kiss me, when just days before she would give me hundreds of kisses at a time and smiled constantly. I missed my Fedna.
There are times I still cry over this girl. She will forever be a part of our family. She changed us in ways that only she could. The sacrifice that we all individually and as a family put forth, made us all better people in the end.
One thing I didn’t know was going to be so hard when agreeing to host a child was just the way that I would miss my “normal”. Aaron and I went on two dates in the 9 weeks Fedna was home and we are used to one a week. I missed lots of stuff with my boys because I was in the hospital with Fedna or we were home and she couldn’t get out. I missed “me” time. I felt as though my life was put on hold for 9 weeks. I missed church, I missed outings, I missed friends and I missed my very comfortable do-what-I-want life.
I still pray for Fedna daily. When I pray anything for my children, Cayden, Amos, Deacon & Story, I always add Fedna in there. In my heart she was my child for just a few weeks. Going into hosting I knew that in the end she would go home and our life would go on. It still was hard sending her home and I still think of her as a kid I once had. I know that she is home with her mamma and papa and that is where she is supposed to be. Should anything ever happen to her situation, she would always be welcomed in the Ivey household.
Hosting was hard. Hosting was stretching. Hosting was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
BUT it was one of the best things I’ve ever done as well. God grew me and stretched me way out of my comfort zone. I will always love my Fedna.