When I was at the center in January, my adopted daughter, Christina, was with me. She fell in love with a little girl named Maria Ascension. Ascension came to the center severely malnourished in the summer of 2010. The photos of her on her arrival are horrific. By the time we arrived in January, she had gained weight and was healthier, but she still had a long way to go. She spent most of the week sitting in Christina’s lap, solemn and quiet. Christina worked with her on her motor skills, helping her to roll a ball and stand. By the end of the week, she could get her to walk holding on to Christina’s hands. My daughter left her heart in Guatemala with Maria Ascension. I know that she has prayed for “her girl” daily since we left nine months ago. I was delighted upon my arrival to find that she would be in my group again. But, I was saddened to see that while she is healthy with respect to weight and size, she is still not able to stand on her own. She has great muscle tone in her upper body and is able to crawl by pulling herself with her arms. She can stand holding on to something, but is bowed in the middle with her butt sticking out and her chest pushed forward towards the ground. A team of physical therapists from Florida visited the center a few weeks ago and left us with a list of exercises to do with Ascension to try and get her standing straight and walking on her own. On the first day, I tried to work with her but she screamed and fought me so I gave up thinking perhaps I was doing something wrong. I e-mailed Christina that night and asked her to pray that Ascension would cooperate with the exercise. Christina e-mailed me back demanding to know what we were doing to hurt her baby. But, that morning when I went to the center, Ascension was the first crib I came to. When I bent down to dress her for the day and change her diaper, she smiled at me and said, “Hola.” Then, we played peek-a-boo. I guess I was forgiven. That day, one of our team, a preschool teacher worked on the exercises making it fun. And Ascension cooperated. Today, I got to take her out on one of the tricycles to exercise her legs and she loved being mobile. It was a great feeling to see her make so much progress. This afternoon, Maria Ascension’s parents, brothers and sisters, grandmother and aunt and uncle came to see her. What a privilege it was to talk to them through an interpreter. They gave their daughter the greatest gift that they could give by bringing her to the center and leaving her to get well. But, it was obvious that they miss her and adore her. I told Ascension’s mother that my daughter loved her daughter and prayed for her every day. And as mom’s we could share a bond of love that transcends any language.
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:15-16 (NIV)