Christine Dhanagom

Kala’s hope: a family remembers a baby that defied the odds

Christine Dhanagom
Christine Dhanagom
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August 10, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) -  “Why do you even want to bother?”

Elizabeth and Hugh Poza were stunned by the question. Coming from the doctor whose help they had hoped to enlist in curing their daughter’s deafness, it seemed a rejection of the very worth of her life.
 
At ten months, their little girl, Kala Marie, had a huge medical file. She had begun life with profound deafness, severe congenital heart defects, a cleft lip and palate, seizures, and lung problems that made her dependent on a tracheostomy (a tube inserted into her throat) to breathe. 
 
A surgery at birth had corrected her cleft lip and palate, and her parents hoped that her ears were developed enough to benefit from cochlea implants. They had to fight just to obtain the exam that would determine whether she could receive the implants.
 
It was not the first time, nor would it be the last, that the couple found themselves defending the dignity of Kala’s life.
 
When doctors told the Pozas at five months’ gestation about Kala’s condition, they delivered a grim prognosis: the baby would most likely die in utero, or shortly after birth. If she survived, her quality of life, the couple was told, would be “nothing.”  They were encouraged to consider an abortion.
 
Instead, the family went shopping for baby clothes and began preparing a nursery to welcome their second child. 
 
“I don’t care what kind of life it is that comes into this world or how long it is. Every life is precious,” said Elizabeth, in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com.
 
While it turned out that Kala’s ears were not developed enough for the implants, the little girl who was supposed to have “no quality of life,” went on to attend a school for the deaf and became fluent in sign language.
 
She overcame all the odds merely by surviving. But she didn’t just survive. For the five-and-a-half years that God gave her on earth, Kala lived her life to the fullest and touched countless other lives with her infectious joy and hope, says Elizabeth.
 
From the moment of her birth, it was clear that Kala was determined to live. Just drawing her first breath was a struggle, but she conquered it. After one brief, peaceful moment in her mother’s arms, her heart-rate plummeted and she was whisked away for treatment. She spent the next nine-and-a-half months in the hospital and had to be put into a medically induced coma.
 
Gradually, she recovered and gained strength. Doctors warned the family that she may never even be able to sit erect, but she doggedly passed each benchmark: she sat, crawled, stood, walked, learned to communicate, and, just before her death, learned to breathe without her tracheostomy.
 
“I was so impressed with her fighting spirit, because she defied all odds, and it was almost like, ‘Ha-ha, look at me,’” Elizabeth said, with a laugh.

And her family members say through it all, she just never stopped smiling. “She could send God’s joy through a room in seconds,” says Kala’s paternal grandmother Karen Poza.

According to one of Kala’s aunts, Marie Hennessy, the entire extended family quickly realized that it was not Kala who needed them, but they who needed Kala.  

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She was “a beacon,” Marie says, remembering how Kala’s warm, loving nature had helped her husband, Jon, to feel at ease when he first met her extended family.

“She reached out to Jon,” added Marie. “She would always take the person who seemed to need her most.”

Kala’s love reached far beyond the family circle, to people she barely even knew, noted her mom.

“It didn’t matter if you knew her for her entire life, or if you had just met her, she made you smile. She would connect with people,” says Elizabeth “She just knew that she had to give as much joy as possible in that short period of time, and she did.”

It wasn’t until Kala’s death, in May 2008, that the family fully realized the number of people whose lives she had touched.

When Kala’s fragile heart finally gave out one night, the family was floored by how many came to the funeral to share in their grief and celebrate the life of their little girl. The church was packed with family and friends decked out in bright, cheerful clothing. The organ rang out the vibrant, upbeat music that Kala had always loved in the happy thought that the vibrations from the floor may still reach Kala’s lifeless body. 

Her death and her funeral were “a true testament to her life,” says Elizabeth, who likened Kala’s death to her birth.

“Her birth was beautiful. I was laughing through it, I got to hold her. We had at least 50 people in this tiny room awaiting her presence,” Elizabeth said. “And her death was so much the same, because, I know as odd as that sounds, so many people I think are afraid of death, and she was completely peaceful.”

She adds, “Had I ever said that I wanted to terminate my pregnancy I would never have had that opportunity to share with the world the joy and the love of that one life.”

Kala’s presence can still be felt, and family members say they know that she is a powerful intercessor in Heaven.  After discovering that she had lost a tooth the night of her death, they began praying to her to recover lost objects. “Within no time, we usually find whatever we lost,” says Vanessa Mosher, Kala’s godmother.

The family plans to establish a foundation in her memory called “Kala’s Hope,” which will raise funds to help children and their families through the anguish of long-term hospitalization.

The name of the foundation expresses the special gift that Kala left behind. 

“Anybody who knew her and knew the struggles that she went through got hope from it, because there is a child who is in so much pain,” Elizabeth says, “and yet she would smile and give you a hug and she would love you.”

 

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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