By Melanie Grant
Several years ago, my husband Sean and I read a book on George Mueller, a remarkable man who transformed England’s orphan crisis. Our hearts were stirred, and we realised that something irrevocable had been done to our world perceptions. However, we did not understand at that time how we were supposed to personally serve the world’s abandoned babies.
When we had our daughter, Savannah, we began to understand more fully the role we wanted to play in reaching out to the orphaned and abandoned. Savannah was born with a genetic disorder called Trisomy 18. We were told that she would not live longer than 48 hours, however we were able to keep her for 9 months. Every moment we spent with her, we knew could be her last. She was born a tiny 2kg and never grew much bigger, but we loved her small, malformed body without restraint. We loved her an entire lifetime during those short 9 months. Through this experience, my heart grew and was stretched to feel the same kind of love and compassion for any child who was born and denied the magnitude of love I felt for my Savannah.
After Savannah left us, Sean and I began researching how to start a home for orphaned and abandoned babies. We had the enormous support of Alex and Michelle van Laren, our then elders at Solid Ground Church. After much preparation, we took the first baby in our home in December 2007. We had no finances and no staff, but we could not wait any longer. Baby numbers two and three arrived in March. By the time we took in baby number four, we realised that this was no longer sustainable in our own home.
Wanting to help us, Solid Ground Church offered us a piece of their newly acquired land. It was a small, two-room house that needed LOTS of work, but it was something we could work with, something that gave us a chance to regain some of our family life back. We built. We fixed. We painted. We moved all the babies and newly acquired staff into the home in July 2008.
In 2009, Sean and I relocated our family, which included three boys and our adopted daughter, to The Cape for Sean’s business. We passed supervision of the orphanage on to Wendy Oxley, a loving woman who has been involved with the orphanage since its inception. Our hearts are still very much burdened with the needs of abandoned babies and we are seeking further opportunities to help them in other parts of the world.