I met Adelle soon after moving to Beirut. She is Lebanese and her sincere love for people is what captivated me, no matter the person’s socio-economic status or their country of origin. Adelle is often used by the foreigners as a translator when they are working with refugees.
Later, Adelle became my Arabic teacher. She had great patience with me and was always encouraging as I tried to wrap my mind and tongue in directions they didn’t want to wrap. When I started working, while still in graduate school, I chose to stop learning Arabic. However, I will always say that there is a special bond formed whenever you have a language teacher. They see you at very vulnerable moments as they stretch you beyond where you are comfortable. It was during those lessons that trust developed between Adelle and me. I remember clearly the days she showed me her lab work and explained her desire to become pregnant.
Adelle had 5 doctors declare that she would never become pregnant. Five. One day, Adelle was taking a refugee woman to a gynecological appointment, in a humanitarian clinic where they see patients for almost free. Suddenly, the doctor turned her focus from the patient to Adelle. She asked about her story. When Adelle told her that she could not have babies, this doctor insisted that she could help Adelle. As Adelle was leaving with her refugee friend, the doctor persisted in asking Adelle for her phone number. Later, that doctor followed up with Adelle and asked her why Adelle had not called for an appointment.
With such pursuit from this doctor, Adelle went in to see her. She did some lab work (that was the blood work that I saw during my language learning) and prescribed her 1 pill that Adelle was to take for 5 days.
Tragically, 2 months later, Adelle’s father died while farming the family land. For the next month Adelle did much heavy work in her parents’ home. She carried many heavy things and did lots of deep cleaning from sunup to sundown. Imagine her surprise at the end of that month when Adelle discovered she was pregnant. A miracle. A tragedy. All wrapped up. The giving and the taking of life. The doctor that pursued Adelle admitted that she just felt strongly impressed that she could help Adelle somehow.
I have never seen anyone breeze through pregnancy like Adelle. She loved every moment of it and didn’t complain one bit. I think it was because this baby was such a gift to her.
The birth story of baby Mary was crazy! It was in the height of Covid. Adelle presented to the hospital in labor at 7 p.m. and tested positive for Covid. By 7:30 that hospital insisted that she leave. For the next 2.5 hours, while Adelle was in labor, her husband was driving her around trying to find another hospital that accepted Covid patients. Finally, at 10 p.m. they found a hospital, but then they had to search for a doctor who was willing to deliver a patient with Covid. When one finally accepted the responsibility (at 11:15 p.m.), Adelle transitioned into the final stages of labor and had Baby Mary at 11:40 p.m. before the doctor arrived. Because she had Covid, she had to deliver the baby without her husband. But Praise God, even birthing Baby Mary was not difficult for Adelle.
Somewhere in all this story, Adelle began sewing cards for Woven Dignity. She was our only Lebanese woman that was sewing versus refugees. Sadly, now that 90% of the Lebanon population is below the poverty level, we could hire thousands more. Adelle was the sole wage earner for her family, and they are supporting her mother-in-law who needs to be on oxygen 24/7. In time, Adelle took over payroll for the refugee sewer’s and now she does all the purchasing, translating, visiting, and much of the accounting.
This summer a person, with a generous heart, approached me and asked if she could sponsor Adelle. I told her I didn’t think it was necessary. However, 3 months later we learned that Adelle had no way to pay tuition for her son (through marriage) to attend 8th grade. I wrote a 2-minute email to this person, with a generous heart, and within hours had the assurance that the full school bill would be covered.
Imagine, what fun we had taking Adelle into the school and hearing the principal declare to her that the bill had been paid in full. What joy!
A baby. A school bill paid. A doctor who felt strongly impressed. A generous heart who felt strongly impressed.
I know that our “strong impressions” can’t always be trusted. But there is something to be said for our gut intuition. Or perhaps it is the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Whatever, the case, I love that there have been specific people, with specific thoughts towards Adelle. I can’t help but believe that we also can have strong impressions for helping others. God has equipped us. He wants to use our talents, time, money, and other resources to bless others. The reward exceeds all joy. Taste and see. May God place “Adelle’s” in your life, coupled with strong impressions.