An Update on Sonia

I told you in the prayer update earlier today that I was going to get you more of an update on Sonia. So here goes:

  • I don't know the best way to say it but prayer is working. While she's not "healthy" by normal standards, her condition is stable and she's in much better shape than she was 3 weeks ago. That in itself is an answer to prayer.
  • We are continuing to get a lot of people who are interested in helping Sonia but we have not been able to find a medical facility yet that will agree to taking on her care as a charity case. Why not?

    • A couple of them have turned her case away because her treatment (including surgery) is more complex and more expensive than their charity budget will allow in today's wonderful economic times.
    • A couple of them have turned her case away because they wouldn't have the staff to handle her any time soon.
    • And at least one has turned her away because they said that they wouldn't do surgery on her even if she was already in the states - her condition doesn't require it.

  • Obviously those are quite conflicting opinions and I'm sure that it's due in large part to the quality of the medical records that are coming out of Haiti.

So, we've spent some time the last few days and tried to "regroup" and figure out what to do and how to best address Sonia's needs. Let me make one thing perfectly clear, "We won't give up." She is one of God's Littlest Angels and so we're going to keep pushing until either we get it solved or God calls her home to be with him.

What do we need now? I'm going to roll it out one "step" at a time.   

The first thing that we need, as soon as possible, is a pediatric cardiologist and pediatric pulmonology doc (I think that's the right term?) who would be willing to volunteer their time to work with our medical staff in Haiti to serve as advisors on Sonia's case. Here's what we're thinking:

  • They would review all written and video materials.
  • Talk with Dixie and Susan (our nursing staff)
  • Talk with the pediatrician in Haiti
  • Potentially talk with the cardiologist in Haiti as well
  • Review the DNA testing that we are working on getting done on Sonia.
  • Potentially walk through a "video" physical examination of Sonia
  • and then give us a written report of their opinions and findings based on those discussions, etc. that we can share with medical facilities who are or might consider caring for Sonia.
  • At this point, we aren't looking for them to commit anything further than their time in advising capacity.

So how can you help?

If you know a pediatric cardiologist or pulmonologist, forward this to them and then call them and ask if they'd be willing to volunteer their time to help one of the "least of the least of these" in Haiti. If they would, get me their contact information and I'll get in touch with them. The best way to get it to me would be to e-mail me at

Oh, and while you are doing that, continue to pray that Sonia stays healthy, that our staff in Haiti is able to keep her strong and that the right doors will open.

Step #2 will be "rolled out" later today.


Tom Vanderwell

5 comments (Add your own)

1. elissa wrote:
What about the money in relief that all the world donated to Haiti? Is there not a budget for this kind of thing? I am just thinking that if her way could be paid then it would help out immensley. Will one of the organizations there help her out Red Cross maybe? Just a thought. True it would be nice to not have to worry about money and just get it done. I know I have been told by the facility close to me that there is no budget for this ...:(

Mon, February 7, 2011 @ 4:09 PM

2. Louise wrote:
YEA Sonia keep it going girl I am praying for you

Mon, February 7, 2011 @ 4:20 PM

3. TomVanderwell wrote:
Elissa, You raise some good questions. Some of them I have no answer to. The "budget" thing is something I'm going to have some more thoughts on later today. Tom

Mon, February 7, 2011 @ 4:20 PM

4. Victoria Spualding wrote:
Tom, I am new to your orphanage and to the case of your precious Sonia. A dear friend sent me an email about her. We have a 13 year old that has cardiac issues and she asked for our help. I will be emailing our cardiologist at DC Children's hospital to see if they would be willing to step up for this precious child. I don't mean to be ignorant, but if she could be adopted quickly, couldn't that get her to the facilities she needs? What would it take for her to be adopted asap? Vicki Spaulding

Sun, February 13, 2011 @ 10:15 PM

5. TomVanderwell wrote:
Vicki, Thank you for your willingness to help. Thank you also for bringing up a very valid question. A couple of thoughts: In the best of times (at least as long as i've been involved), Haitian adoptions have taken at least 7 to 10 months. Prior to the earthquake, they were taking almost two years, so to be able to adopt her quickly, given the current state of affairs, isn't a reality. I believe that there are also rules in both the Haitian government and the US government regarding health requirements for children who are able to be adopted. I don't know the specifics on that but I believe that there are. In addition to that, GLA has a policy that they will not give a referral for an adoption for a child who they question the overall health of that child. For instance, my daughter (who will be home 7 years in June) was at GLA for approximately 7 to 8 months before being eligible for a referral. Why? Because there was a time where Dixie was not sure that she was going to make it. Does that make sense? Let me know if you have any further questions. Tom

Mon, February 14, 2011 @ 9:38 AM

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