Qavah and I went into the kitchen at the Children's Inn on Tuesday night to warm up some food that I brought from home. Qavah got to the kitchen first and rounded the corner to find some women cooking together. I heard her declare, "Mama, there is a brown lady cooking here and we match!" My face turned red as I rounded the corner and came face to face with Ann. She looked at me and declared, "You have a white Mama!" I apologized and explained that Qavah notices the difference. Ann stooped down to look into Qavah's eyes and said, "Come and meet my two little boys. They are white!" She looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and we both reached out to embrace. Ann said, "Isn't it great to be a Mama?" I knew exactly what she meant. Color is something we look beyond as we meet the daily needs of our children.
After the initial meeting, Qavah spent the evening playing with Ann's two boys. They were polite and thoughtful as they showed Qavah how to play some computer games. One of Ann's sons had a stem cell transplant last year and is now doing very well. I told Ann that we have been asked to consider a transplant for Qavah but didn't know what to think of it. In the process of a transplant, blood cells are killed off by chemotherapy and new donor stem cells are introduced to the body. Paul and I have seen some children in the process of transplantation and it is very hard to witness the suffering. As I talked to Ann it became clear that our meeting wasn't by chance. She had a strong faith that has carried her family through a tough journey. Ann gave me her personal copy of a little book she has relied on heavily. It is filled with Bible verses that focus on healing and she told me to teach them to Qavah.
Ann was just one of several women cooking up tacos for the evening meal. We were invited to join them at the table. All the Mamas and their children, twelve of us in all, sat munching tacos as we shared our stories of faith. The evening ended with Ann praying over Qavah and anointing her with oil. I found sisters on this particular trip; sisters who have walked by faith and not by sight. They were willing to reach out to me and lead me, and I am willing to follow. This particular trip to NIH was less about Qavah's tests and more about building our spiritual strength for the days to come.