Hannah Chowdhry with Bollywood dance supremo Honey Kalaria at Redbridge Carnival 2010
I do not often write personal posts on this blog but my family and I are going through a testing period and we really need your support in prayers. My eldest daughter Hannah (9 years) has been diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis and is now hobbling around with steps (or movements) no greater then 3 inches. We live opposite a school and it takes her 10 minutes to get to class - a journey that previously took 2 minutes.
Hannah is a brave and stoic girl and has not complained about the infirmity, but as time drags on and the condition worsens, I worry that she will start to feel depressed. Her friends unintentionally forget her during lunch time as they rush around in their games and I have today asked her school to allow Hannah access to a computer at lunch times. Hannah's dance instructor has been so disappointed, she told us that Hannah was her most able pupil. Hannah was preparing for a show in July and we have told her she can still make it to give her confidence. Last week all the girls gave Hannah a huge group hug, which cheered her up significantly.
At first we did not notice the problem and though Hannah complained about pains in her legs and arms, we simply put this down to overexertion, as Hannah was very active. Then after an incident when she fell on her hand on our tiled floor and doctors could not find a fracture, despite her descriptions of extreme pain. We eventually went to a private consultant who diagnosed the symptoms as Juvenile Arthritis.
My poor 9 year old child has had to have numerous blood tests, x-rays and MRI and other scans, during several visits to the doctor. Even then surprisingly and despite the time off Hannah is still well above average in her educational progress. This is due to her hard work and endeavour and belief in herself. I hope this will continue.
Last month Juliet and I were surprised to get a call from the local child social services department. The Officer described a complaint registered against us that Hannah had informed the caller that we had been beating her. I do not know if the person who made the call made it in malice or in hope to protect Hannah from perceived abuse. However, they referred to two incidents one when Hannah had a bandage on her hands (the incident described above) and one when her knee was bandaged after a similar fall in the garden 4 months earlier.
The social worker visited our house and inspected every room, he had private interviews with Juliet and I and then asked us for permission to interview our daughters. We were surprised that Redbridge Council would send a male social worker to a household with three girls, however we permitted the private interviews as we felt we had no other option. Never before have we allowed a man to be in a room alone with each daughter individually. Hannah was asked a series of questions but Naomi (5 years) was shown pictures and questioned on how they made her feel. Rather bizarrely she has described an image of a penguin looking healthy and one being strangled and being questioned on how they both made her feel? She was a huge fan of Pingu before this interview, but now refuses to watch it. Juliet and I are both upset about this method of interview, however the social worker report has clearly exonerated us, in no uncertain terms.
There are two reasons for me writing this account. Firstly, I cried this morning after Hannah asked me to pick her from the living room and take her to the bathroom, so she could brush her teeth. I would really appreciate prayers for her recovery and for her to be strong throughout the period of time she has this ailment. Please also pray for Juliet and I as we will have to readjust our lives to cope with Hannah's unfortunate condition.
God is good and I am confident he will heal her.
I met with a Chaplain at Norwich Cathedral last week and he informed me of the struggle his niece had with the condition, from 11 -15 years. She is now back in good health, which has given me great solace. He agreed to pray for Hannah and prayed a blessing over some crosses that we gave to our 3 daughters.
English Standard Version (ESV)
15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Secondly, I ask that people do not make false statements about the concerns they may have about children in families. If you feel you have a valid concern then describe the true details as per objective knowledge held by yourselves. Local authorities will adjust their response to a situation according to the nature of the facts and are professional enough to make the right decisions.
We did not mind the fact that a call was made to social services, but were horrified by the false claim that Hannah had confided about "abuse" to the caller who made the allegation. Families go through enough problems of their own without targeted hatred or unwarranted concern.
English Standard Version (ESV)
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.