“Thank you for borrowing me!”

by Ron

So said Matthew to Joan after a full day at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

First, Matthew loves that place because his five-day hospital stay back in November was that good. He especially loved the room service – how he could pick up the phone and order food, having Music Man Mike come by to sing and play for him, etc. It was amazing.

As to “borrowing Matthew,” this is a phrase he picked up from his mom. Now, people generally use the term because they have a use for someone. For example, “He is tall, can I ‘borrow him’ for a second to reach something on the top shelf?” In the case of Matthew, “borrowing him” is Joan’s code for: “I will take him for a while and give you an obviously needed break.”

And so, Matthew got “borrowed” (in his mind) to go to CHOP for neuro-psychological testing. And yes, it is all connected to the same process begun back in November. We are on a “path to end epilepsy” (if possible) for Matthew. This was the next step.

Good news: doctors are hopeful they can get Matthew to that goal. Not so happy news: Major brain surgery seems to be a necessary part of the pavement to reach the desired destination. We’ve not yet made a decision. We have lots of questions. There are people we need to talk to. Please pray.

Matthew is “borrowed” in another sense. Whether by procreation, foster care, or adoption, children do not belong to us. They are borrowed. We are stewards and we have a great responsibility to care for them during this “day” in which they are on loan. And so, this decision weighs heavily on us. Because he doesn’t really belong to us, and because we love him so much, we don’t want to say yes to something that could do more harm than good.

Something totally unexpected happened that same day at CHOP. Joan is 95% sure that she saw one of the other children who we once “borrowed.” Naeem (not his real name) was in our home for 40 hours. We will never forget that emergency respite experience. He was to be with us for a full weekend. His needs were beyond us – he needed an institutional placement with intense round-the-clock care. Naeem (if it was indeed him) clearly still has that need. How often we wonder about the others who’ve been part of our family (whether for hours, weeks or months). We pray for God to protect them.

Back to Matthew. CHOP was used by God to save his life (it will be eight years ago this month). Will he use this amazing place again – this time to dramatically improve the quality of his life? Pray for God’s leading and stay tuned.

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