Cour·age (‘kərij/) noun.
1. the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.
2. strength in the face of pain or grief.
On April 22, 2016, I met a tiny baby boy named Ryan, all wrapped up in a pink blanket. He was only a few days old and had been brought to Kimbilio Hospice in need of refuge. As I have described before, his mama’s death certificate shares the same date as that of Ryan’s birth. The youngest of eight children, Ryan was born too soon. On that Friday afternoon in April when I first picked him up in my arms, I had no idea how much Ryan’s little life was going to reshape mine; but I am pretty sure a familiar voice whispered into my soul, “Courage, dear heart.” The phrase has lovingly and patiently been repeated at least a thousand and one times since.
I did not know how my plans were going to be interrupted and my heart was going to be expanded, broken and taught in profound ways about the extravagant love of God; but in more ways that I know or could ever tell, thankfully, it has.
Shortly after meeting baby Ryan, Titus, Ella and I welcomed him into our home and have had the hard privilege of working towards his adoption over the past year. We are grateful to announce that Ryan, as of July 27th, is officially a Boit.
When Ryan was six months old, he was diagnosed with sickle cell disease. Within weeks, his three year old brother, Geoffrey, and eight year old sister, Alice, were given the same cruel diagnosis. Since that time, the children have been receiving ongoing medical care while we have been praying and searching for the best treatment options for them. Earlier in the year, through a laboratory test, we learned that Ryan and Geoffrey have a donor sibling match in their eleven year old sister, Sharon. Alice, sadly, does not have a donor match with any of the brothers and sisters.
While it is standard of care in the United States to provide bone marrow transplant for all sickle cell patients that have a matched sibling, this complex but curative treatment is not currently available in Kenya. Titus and I have spent the last six months working to identify a treatment center and jumping through lots of hoops related to insurance, children department regulations, court approvals, and U.S. immigration.
On September 18th, our family will be coming to Los Angeles for Ryan and Geoffrey to receive bone marrow transplants at UCLA Children’s Hospital. We will return to Kenya when given permission by the boys’ doctors, but expect to be in the U.S. for at least nine months.
Titus and I have been praying through the logistics and details of needing to be away from our home and work in Kenya. Thankfully, we have a strong team at Living Room; and God, in His wisdom and timing, has also provided Brian Albright to come alongside of our team to help lead with the expansion process into Eldoret. The Albright family arrived to Kipkaren two weeks ago and will be staying for one year.
There are many unknowns still ahead of us, but we are certain that God is with us and that Los Angeles holds a community that loves us and will help stand with us in this journey. A friend of mine recently wrote these words: “Juli, your boldness makes us want to be bold in generosity.” While I am humbled by these words, I also love them and want to invite others to step into boldness and courage; not because of its ease but because it matters to the heart of God and to this broken world.
Thank you, in advance, for your prayers and support!