In a little community, Sarah Konk saved a little girl’s life a wonder mommy in every sense of the word. Not surprisingly, Conc has traditionally valued family. She was raised in Quenco, Louisiana, the youngest of four siblings, and has always has valued her early memories. What makes Louisiana special is the people, Konk explains. No strangers for me.
I appreciate learning someone’s story. By the end of the chat, I adore it. Konk has been sharing her own story a lot lately, and the details are grabbing global media attention. She usually takes the road less traveled, but she never expected to be raising a Haitian child abandoned by her mother, a teen prostitute. I cried and laughed at her narrative.
Conk has always loved assisting others, especially disabled youngsters. I studied recreation therapy at USM, she explains. The pediatric setting appealed to me, since it was close to my hip. She interned at the Schreiner’s Hospital in Honolulu, working with disabled children. I wanted to stay there after that, but Hawaii is quite expensive, she says.
They told me to get a master’s and return to Maui for a job. It was planned, but Kong’s path was not what she expected. She returned to Old Miss to get her master’s degree. Kong was stopped running around the Lake her first weekend there. He asked me about campus, she recalls.
He stated he was at a wedding and left. The next morning, she strolled into a Church and was told there was a guest speaker. He was the man she met yesterday. He was marrying a couple from Scotland. Conk said it found out that he had a nonprofit that partnered with Denita’s children in Haiti.
Orphans and poor children are the organization’s mission. That’s when I realized I needed to look into missionary work. Kong’s first trip to Haiti was in December 2011. The surroundings she entered into were strange, and she changed forever. It was like a movie set, she recalls.
In the community, we found a four year old girl with cerebral palsy, naked and eating feces. The missionary knew the family and that the mother had hired a babysitter, but the sitter left, but they did nothing. Kong describes how disabled children are typically considered as worthless and not valued in Haiti. I was thinking, we have to act now. We need to bathe her, I murmured.
It didn’t fix your problems, but it was immediate, she recalls. We saved her, healed her. Nobody realized we were gone for hours, that the girls, eleven and six year old sisters were the primary caregivers. I broke down 10ft from the house, she says. My heart was ripped out.
I couldn’t pretend I hadn’t seen it or that I couldn’t help. I knew I’d return. Cab wanted to go right away for Haiti, but she had made promises to her education and others during her one month trial. She visited every few months because they want you to be prepared. Kant graduated from Old Miss in May 2013 she moved to Haiti a week later.
I was so ready. During that preparation period, I had to mix my desire with patience. It helped me organize and stay with my family. They felt more at peace as they understood my heart. They understood that was my destiny.
She agreed to spend two years in the northeastern region of Haiti, near the Dominican Republic. Kong started a recreation program at an orphanage. The site had eight orphan homes, a school, a Church, and a hospital. She devoted her time campaigning for children, families and preventing child abuse and abandonment, conclaims the abysmal conditions on a lack of prenatal care. Their kids will have special requirements, she predicts.
Most ladies didn’t know they were pregnant until they got a belly and gave birth at home with a midwife. Conc found a bright light while exploring the darkness. She met Stephen Byrne, a California missionary, and they married. It was then that she and her partner realized they were a great team. It happened around the same time little Nica entered the orphanage.
She drew us together. In January 2014, a young woman claiming to be Nica’s aunt entered the orphanage. It was her sister’s kid, and she had died a month before. After spilling boiling water on herself and rushing outdoors into the rain. Nika needed aid, and the narrative appeared unlikely.
Konk recognized the three month old swollen head as hydrocephalus, a disorder characterized by excessive brain fluid. We see a lot of that in Haiti, she says. I immediately tried to get Nica on the list for treatment. Kong spent two months preparing baby Nica for surgery. A shunt would be implanted to drain the fluid, causing the edema.
Konk had to trust Nika’s aunt to do the right thing during the surgery. Only one person can stay with the baby, she explains. The mom or Guardian rests on the rocks while the baby is treated. Konk was informed by the hospital that Nika’s aunt had abandoned her concern, and her friends set out to find Nika’s aunt. They discovered she was the mother.
Through this technique, we knew she was attempting to find a home for the baby, but I wasn’t giving up. I value family preservation. Being overburdened and poor is no excuse to abandon your child. Konk claims Nika’s mother was a pregnant prostitute who dropped out of school. Then Conc adds, I never judged her or treated her differently.
I knew she deserved compassion and Grace. We got additional information, she says. Nica is Haitian Dominican. We believe Nika came from her mother crossing the border to work. Her mother returned to the hospital to pick up Nika.
She said she wouldn’t return to get the kid until we paid her conquer accounts. She started expecting rewards for taking care of her own child. We held firm and never gave. In a month following Nika’s surgery, her mother returned to the orphanage seeking funds for Nikka’s alleged doctor’s visit. She betrayed our confidence.
I told her if you don’t lie to me, I’ll do whatever to help your child, help support and encourage. Conk couldn’t forget Nikka. For months, her mother would drag her out of the house, wrapped up like a corpse. You couldn’t tell she was holding a child, says Conk. She was mortified.
No one should know. Nika’s mother returned to the orphanage and things got worse. The baby had seizures, lost weight and had an infection. Everything could have been avoided. Conc, we have a doctor, and it’s all free.
Nica was treated, and her mother had one last chance. A free baby rescue program required Nika’s mother to bring her in once a week for weight checks and therapeutic formula. She agreed at first, but began missing appointments. She was intended to be dropped, Khan says. But I just couldn’t let go of Nica.
Her mother seemed distant. Her gestures told us everything. Nica was eleven months old, and summer was coming. I told her mum, if you can keep Nica alive this summer, I’ll hire a caregiver so you can go back to school. I hope she would see someone else appreciate Nika’s life and be inspired to do the same.
Conceit’s mother was expected to return Monday to discuss it. She never showed up as expected. On August 26, 2014, she returned to the orphanage with Nika, who was dying. Conquer calls her size. We must act now, I urged.
She and a clergyman visited Nica. The baby was alone on a rice sack, surrounded by dogs and trash. Nika weighed roughly £6, with more than half of that being cerebral fluid. She was skinny, Kung says. Her mother fed her like a bird, taking milk in her mouth and feeding it to the infant.
She couldn’t hold a bottle. Kong was outraged when Nika’s mother returned. All I could say was, I love you, and we’ll come back. Kong speaks to the missionary CEO in her story. Nika’s mother was given instruments, but she didn’t use them, and her baby was dying.
That was enough for her. Conc was given the go ahead to save the baby, but the decision was anything but simple. America has methods to take a child from its mother. That’s not the procedure in Haiti. Just my word.
How can I possibly change this family’s world? I asked God for one more assurance, and she got it. Nikka was alone when Conk returned home, her mother ran in, she recalls. We offered to care for Nika and the orphanage, and she enthusiastically agreed. We were not done fighting to save this baby.
We won because we got her out of that environment and restored her dignity, Kong says. But her organs failed, and we battled for her life malnourished. I didn’t have to change her diaper for a week, Kung says. They talked to American doctors. They said we might lose her.
We prayed for miracles over her. Nika was diagnosed with hydroinphalte, a fatal illness. Her brain is absent and replaced by spinal fluid. This was probably related to a fetal stroke. Her situation is fatal.
Kant says 95% of newborns die in the first year. The chances were against Nika. The hospital declined to place her on the list because of her dismal prognosis. When Konk asked for a feeding tube, he was laughed out. The sad reality is that doctors are forced to choose whose lives are worth fighting for.
But Konk refused to give up, and she soon found her miracle unbelievably. A doctor from Mobile, Alabama, was willing to fly to Haiti to put a feeding tube for Nika. So far, so good. We fought on to the following step, Conk. We knew the outcome, but we fought on.
Months passed. She continued going. We were told any day, but we kept going. Perseverance paid off, but the ride went on. Then, on February 19, 2015, Konk became Nica’s legal Guardian.
But the baby’s head grew. She needed another shunt and couldn’t obtain it in Haiti. Comp contacted the same doctor in Alabama who had previously helped him and found a hospital in Pensacola, Florida, willing to conduct the procedure. On May 19, 2015, Nika and Konk flew back to America, where Nica had surgery. Conc reports a two inch reduction in her head size.
She shed £5 of fluid and two inches in height. It’s improved her quality of life. After a month at the hospital, one of the pediatricians offered Nica, Conk, and her boyfriend, who joined them to reside in her home. This allowed Nica to stay near to her hospital.
Nikka, who had lived her entire existence below sea level due to her brain’s large volume of fluid, had to adjust to being on land, and she’s been doing it ever since the family returned to Krengro in late July.