Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Twitch in Your Heart

The internet can be a monster, sometimes a good monster, sometimes an evil one. It consumes time and trivializes relationships down to an IM message, a Facebook post, a two-second email...while at the same time making it possible to keep in touch with people who, in an internet-less world, we would have been separated from by both physical distance and the quirks of life.

I'm hoping that the internet monster is going to continue to show its good side to the people I'm about to tell you about, because they need its wide-ranging tentacles, touching so many different people, finding the connections between us, linking everyone together.

When I was a freshman in college, I was swooped up into a loving and completely accepting community of people who congregated around a strange off-campus student residence: the Souphouse. It was a movement, it was a tradition and it was exactly what I needed. Comprised of third-culture students, missionary kids, people with one foot in American culture and one foot...somewhere else, it was a chaos of languages, cultural oddities, artifacts from around the globe, hot tea and oodles of ramen. The door was always open, no matter what the hour, and the kitchen was never off-limits. Playing with fire was encouraged, as well as reading, samba dancing and throwing spears in the backyard.

My first Thanksgiving away from home was at the Souphouse. I remember this one woman, she was a junior or a senior, with thick curls and a sense of self-possession that I admired. I think she made pumpkin soup. It was wonderful. It melted away the saudades of missing my family on that holiday. She was kind to us freshmen, and I remember thinking that she was sort of the "mom" of the group.

Fast forward...she's now truly a mom. To two lovely children. We are Facebook friends, nothing more. I hear through the grapevine that her youngest, a little girl, was born with a serious illness and against all odds, has survived. The first year and the second and she just keeps beating the medical statistics. It's a miracle, but one which is won with much clawing and scraping and holding on with just fingernails and prayer.

And then, not too long ago, there is this call for help. Because their daughter has gotten better. And suddenly, life isn't better. It is infinitely, jaw-droppingly, WORSE. Because they're engaged in a legal battle for custody of their daughter...

It's mind-blowing. 

The accusations come after their daughter had some medical care in another state. They've been forced to leave their home, their jobs, to take up residence across state lines so their daughter won't be put into foster care while the case drags on. Their legal bills are huge. Another Souphouse friend has posted a good account of what's happened/happening here and you can also read about it over here.

It's odd how some stories grab your heart and just won't let go. I can't stop praying for and thinking about this family, even though I don't know them well. Because of the legal issues, they can't disclose very much information, which makes it difficult to get support, especially financial support. I know that if I didn't know and trust other people who are closer to them than myself, and if this didn't resonate so strongly in my sensitive-to-the-Holy-Spirit place in my soul, I'd probably write it off as tragic-but-possibly-a-scam sort of way. The same way I brush off beggars in the street that I don't see on a regular basis; if they're not locals, I'm disinclined to give. After all, if you don't know them...how can you be sure you're not contributing to a cycle of dependency, blah blah blah. But this. This just eats at me. Not only can I not believe the accusations have even a grain of truth in them, I'm dumbfounded that any family, innocent or guilty, would be forced to fight for their child in a situation that is so clearly engineered to defeat them. How are they supposed to raise legal funds when they've had to leave their home and livelihoods? How are they supposed to hold up as a family when their mother isn't allowed to live with them and they don't have a support network in this new city?

So if after reading these accounts, you too get the little twitch in your heart, please consider donating to their legal fund. You can contribute via Payapal: follow this link to donate to "Lia's Family Defense Fund:" 

You can also make a tax-deductible donation via credit card through Helping Hands Ministries. Select  "Make a Donation" and "Donate to Helping Hands Ministries Approved Projects" then "Medical Projects" from the Project Category and select "Frank, Eliana (Lia)." 

p.s. I would be remiss not to mention the obvious. Prayers are greatly appreciated. And probably doughnuts, hugs or pie, if you live in the Seattle area. 


Anonymous said...

Did you ever get an update from your friend? There were so many worried people trying to understand. The comments had a lots of links trying to make sense of it all.


--jenna said...

I haven't gotten an update and must confess that the holidays took over and I didn't follow up. I was thinking about them the other day, and that I need to ask how things are going. Thanks for reminding me!

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