26 Sep Faces of Children of Hope: Josephine
For I consider that the sufferings of his present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. When we say our kids are resilient, we mean that they’re in the process of healing from any difficulties encountered before joining our family. Thanks to the love and care from the Aunties, Uncles and other kids in our homes, our kids have the necessary tools and resources to thrive.
In our homes, we use faith and spirituality to bring us closer together and help us get through difficult times. It takes faith, love and dedication to transcend hardship. Josephine, in our Kikuyu home, has shown incredible perseverance at just 7 years of age though her positive attitude, faith and joyous personality. This month, we want to share with you her story and journey and joy of receiving her new prosthetics.
A Story of Resilience
At two years of age, Josephine was brought into our care after her previous caregivers were unable to provide for her physically and emotionally. Being born with deformities in both of her legs made her unable to move, her first few months were focused on loving, nurturing and making sure that Josephine felt safe in her new environment. The Aunties, Uncles and kids welcomed Josephine with tremendous amounts of joy, love and prayers.
Thinking about Josephine’s future and mobility, we took her to three different orthopedic appointments to assess her options. With conflicting recommendations, we had to decide whether we amputated immediately or attempted to straighten her legs and ankles using pins and a crutch for support while stability was built. At the time, we considered both options and decided that it felt too drastic to amputate without the recommended corrective surgery. We also felt it was important for us to be able to tell Josephine that we did everything we could to save her legs.
After her first surgery, Josephine had braces on both of her legs to help provide her stability over time. Unfortunately, things didn’t improve and she was unable to place any pressure or weight on her legs. Choosing amputation was a difficult decision for our Kenyan staff. They were concerned by their perception of amputees being incapacitated for life due to the lack of access to prosthetics and proper healthcare. We showed the team videos on her phone of kids with prosthetics running and walking to bring the Aunties and Uncles on board and come to a unanimous decision as a family.
A Beacon of Joy
Josephine is an independent girl with an incredibly vibrant and contagious personality. Ever since she joined our home, all of the kids always want to be around her because of the joy and optimism she radiates. Vivian, one of our other girls has benefited tremendously from Josephine’s uplifting and encouraging energy. Vivian had a form of meningitis when she joined our home and was unable to move and had limited fine motor skills. Once Josephine had her amputation and worked hard to get adjusted to her prosthetics, Vivian was inspired to work on her mobility and is now able to walk. It was a miracle!
In the video above, Josephine is sporting her first pair of prosthetics and learning how to navigate them. Today, she is on her fourth pair. She has to get them adjusted every year as she continues to grow.
A New Chapter (And Prosthetics)
Looking back at the time where Josephine got her first pair of prosthetics, the Aunties had brought a pair of sparkly pink crocs, the kids’ favorite shoes, to the home. Vivian and Josephine both wanted them and they had a small fight over them. The aunties thought it’d be appropriate for Josephine to have until her first set of legs arrived. Josephine took the shoes and slept with them under her pillow until the prosthetics arrived and she was so excited to put them on for the first time.
Now at seven years, Josephine is currently on her fourth pair of prosthetics. As she continues to grow, these have had to be adjusted to her growing femur and thigh every year. This new set is also a bit different for Josephine because it includes a knee bend. It has taken several fittings and re-works to make them fit right but Alex (in the video below), the prosthetist in Kenya has been incredibly supportive and accommodating throughout the entire process. This change will make Josephine’s life more functional and will allow her to move with more liberty. With every change, Josephine approaches the doctors and the situation with a radiant smile and focuses on the details that bring her joy, like painting the nails of the new prosthetics.
Josephine’s new prosthetics include a knee bend which will allow her to be more mobile and independent. Alex, her prosthetist has been incredibly supportive throughout this journey.