In the fall of 2017, teeny tiny twins, Lourania and Bervelineda were brought to Middle Ground after the death of their mother. They were 1.5 months old, and each weighed just 4lbs 14oz. We will never understand how they had the strength to survive for over 6 weeks at home before being admitted to our inpatient unit. The girls were immediately treated with strong antibiotics and high-calorie formula, and they thrived. By the time they were ready to graduate from inpatient treatment, Lourania and Bervelineda weighed almost 12lbs each!
At Middle Ground, we believe that children should always remain with their biological families whenever it is possible and safe. We fight for this very thing every day! Very rarely, however, there are situations where children in our programs need to be cared for outside of their families. When Lourania and Bervelineda were ready to graduate from inpatient care, they needed a foster family to care for them, and our associate director Keely knew the perfect person to call.
Keely's friend Erika and her husband Maroni lived just a few streets away from Middle Ground and had room in their home for the girls. When asked if they could step in as a temporary home for them, they eagerly agreed. As the weeks and months passed, Lourania and Bervelineda settled deeper and deeper into the Charles family, and today, over 4 years later they have become the much-treasured daughters of Erika and Maroni.
Today Erika was graciously willing to share a bit about how the girls are doing.
I still remember the phone call. It was a typical January afternoon in my home office in Haiti, and I was busy planning the launch of a big new work project. Little did I know that when I answered the call from my good friend Keely, my definition of typical would never be the same. Keely explained that there was a set of four-month-old twin girls who arrived on the brink of death but were now healthy, 12 pounds each, and ready to go home. The problem was they didn’t have a home to go to.
I knew exactly who she was talking about. I met these two girls just after they arrived at Middle Ground two months before this call. I remember holding each bundle of blankets and checking to make sure there was actually a baby inside because they weighed so little. It was clear then that inside those tiny frames was a fierce determination to win their battle against the beast of malnutrition.
As I hung up the phone, I was eager to accept the proposal to foster the girls in our home for a few months while the process of finding long-term options began. My husband and bonus daughter instantly fell in love the minute they in the door. We tried to remind ourselves that this was a temporary arrangement, but as the months went on with no safe biological family placement options to be found, we humbly and happily recognized that we get to be family.
And here we are four years later. Those tiny frames have grown into bright, beautiful, mighty girls. They are as different as can be but have that undeniable twin/survivor bond.
Lourania (Lolo) is the protector, which she has made known from the beginning. She is the first to come to her sister’s side if Bervelineda (Bev) is hurt, sad, or scared. Lolo is a sponge for learning, a strong leader (she keeps the whole family inline), a rule-follower, a natural athlete, and a gifted singer.
Bev is an instant friend to everyone. Even as a baby, she was quick to use her big smile to get the attention of anyone who walked in the room. Bev is curious, mischievous, sensitive, and silly. She has a great sense of humor and loves all things art.
We count our blessings every day for the Lord’s guidance in creating our family – from the community of helpers that brought them to Middle Ground, the caring and skilled Middle Ground staff and supporters, and all of our friends and family along the way that have been an important part of their lives.
We are thankful to have a front-row seat to watch Lourania and Bervelineda continue to grow and thrive within a family where they are deeply loved.