When Jessica and Raja Paulraj were first married, they found themselves working at a Christian missionary hospital in a predominantly Muslim section of India. Raja was a doctor at the hospital and Jessica was a nurse. The center of their lives, the center of their marriage is Jesus.
One day a young mother from a Muslim family gave birth to a little boy in the hospital where Jessica and Raja worked. The child had a healthy heart, healthy lungs, and a healthy brain. But he was horribly deformed. He had no nose, no eyelids (imagine that!) no hands and his legs were fused together.
His condition has a name: Bartsocas-Papas Syndrome. It's so rare there are only two dozen cases ever recorded.
This precious child, a gift from God, was utterly rejected by his entire extended family. His parents and other relatives refused to take him home from the hospital. When hospital administrators explain that this was not an option, that you couldn't just abandon your own child at the hospital where he was born, in a moment of frankness, the family explained to the hospital administrators that if they were forced to take the child back home, they would simply poison him upon his arrival.
Jessica and Raja heard got wind of this horrifying scenario, and urged by the Holy Spirit adopted the child and named him Adam.
Jessica immediately sought medical attention for their new baby from the place she knew had the best in the world: America. She sent out requests to everyone she knew, brothers and sisters in Christ.
Then she got a bite. A friend who worked at UNC Chidrens' Hospital in Raleigh, N.C., knew of an amazing servant of the Lord who also happend to be a pediatric plastic surgeon. His name is Dr. John Van Aalst. God has used this man to change so many lives, including mine.
Dr. Van Aalst assembled a team of doctors and a plan of care for Adam that was no small feat, to be sure. Jessica and Raja flew Adam to America where, led by Dr. Van Aalst, Adam underwent a series of operations to get him started in life in the best possible way. The small family then went back to India, where they've lived happily ever since, even adding to their family, Jessica gave birth to a little boy, Elliot...Adam's new brother.
Now Adam is nearly 2 years old and is doing marvelously, thanks to the unconditional love from his parents, Jessica and Raja, as well as a supportive community. Adam crawls all over the place and is very smart!
But he has one serious problem that simply must be fixed... now.
Adam was born without the roof of his mouth, his palette. So basically there is just a big space connecting his sinuses and his mouth. There's nothing separating the two spaces, like normal people enjoy. Because of this deformity, Adam can't eat normally, so he must be fed through a G.I. tube.
Also, Adam can't talk. But if you spent time with him, as I have, you'll notice his lack of speech isn't from lack of trying! He understands so much, and tries to speak, but in order to form words, he, like the rest of us, must have a palette, the roof of the mouth.
Dr. Van Aalst and his colleagues at UNC Childrens' Hospital are ready and willing to perform an operation to repair Adam's palatte. Jessica, Raja (and Elliot!) have brought Adam back to North Carolina and are waiting in the wings to move forward, but they are being held back. They don't have enough money for the surgery.
Even though Dr. Van Aalst and many others involved in Adam's care, have donated their services, there are still many costs that are simply unavoidable. Adam is a citizen of India so he does not have health insurance in America. UNC Hospitals must charge for their outlay, such as supplies, the room, etc. to children who are not citizens of North Carolina.
***So that leaves a need of $150,000. So far, the family has raised about two-thirds of that, but THE SURGERY IS SCHEDULED FOR THIS FRIDAY, AUG. 23, and they need to raise the remaining amount or the surgery will be canceled, as it was earlier this summer, due to lack of funds.
If you'd like to help, you can donate online through this website, which also has an address if you'd like to mail a check.
This is likely the last time Jessica and Raja will need help to pay for Adam's care. Adam will likely become a U.S. citizen soon, so he'll qualify for health insurance for his future procedures, which will likely include new hands so he'll be able to grip tightly, prosthetic legs so he an walk, nasal reconstruction, and the removal of his tracheostomy.