"Ray Of Hope" Helps Moms in Africa Give Their Children a Chance to Live

By BROOKE WELCH | bwelch@wfft.com

Published 02/07 2014 11:22AM

Updated 02/07 2014 11:37AM

"Ray of Hope", a nonprofit organization based right here in Fort Wayne, helps moms in Africa give their babies, toddlers, and children a chance to live.

Every dime that is given to Ray of Hope is spent on saving children whose families do not have access to the medical treatments we have in the United States.

WFFT's Brooke Welch followed a Fort Wayne family on their journey of caring for a baby, that wouldn't be alive today if not for the help from Ray of Hope.

Imagine sending your newborn infant halfway across the world to live with a family that you've never met, to a country you've never even been to because it is your only hope of saving your baby's life.

"I truly cannot imagine being so desperate, and having so much love in their heart.  It's the most selfless act that a mother could do."

Meet baby Siriki.  He was born with a cleft palate, and living in a remote village in West Africa.  His parents had no way to feed him so at just a few weeks old, and dropping weight quickly, Ray of Hope helped him get to the United State for several lifesaving surgeries.

"He was 8 pound when he was born which is great birth weight, but was just under 4 pounds when he got here."

Rebecca Ghent is the Founder of Ray of Hope, and has also been Siriki's caretaker for almost the entire first year of his life.

"He's a part of our ritual, our everyday life is Siriki gets up.  Where's Sirki?  For the last 11 months, he's been part of our family."

All medical services are donated and Siriki's third and final surgery was last week. 

Dr. Severinac, the Founder of Children's Craniofacial Center donates his time to treat and perform surgeries on these children.  He credits his faith as a big reason as to why he's involved.

"When you think about Jesus' life and his service, of course we would do this.  We all have the skill set to help him."

It took 6 hours to give Siriki a new smile, and Rebecca says the last surgery is always the hardest for her emotionally.

"It's tough, it's such a bitter sweet moment.  I cried, and the nurses asked if it was a happy cry, and it is a happy cry."

But for Rebecca, a new smile, also marks the end of Siriki's journey and the fact that a baby that has been such a big part of their life, will be heading back to Africa in March.

"I will be taking Siriki back to hand him over to his mom and dad, you know.  It's something I've dreamt of since the moment I got him.  I'll try to hold it together and probably get to the hotel that night and bawl like a baby."

She knows they are doing the right thing and Siriki will be a "ray of hope" to his parents.

"I continue to tell myself, that I'm sending these children back to the parents that love them more than I do and I love them leaps and bounds."

It is such a great story and WFFT will continue to follow this and share photos of Siriki's reunion with his mom. 

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