Alejandra is undeniably gorgeous. She’ll be a knockout when she grows up. Her hair, her eyes, her smile—everything about her is beautiful. I tend to focus on her smile. When she smiles, she looks truly happy, which is amazing considering her story.
Like all the kids, Ale (pronounced ah-lay) has a tragic past. Unfortunately, her “past” isn’t that far removed from the present. She came to the Buckner home late last year (2008) after she was taken away from her abusive family. On days when she’s wearing short sleeves or shorts, you can see the scars on her body from the cigarette burns.
The emotional scars of a sick father and uncle are a little more difficult to see, but they’re there. When we first met her, she was hesitant to come near us. She didn’t want to be held or touched or played with like the other kids. She didn’t trust us. Why would she?
On our first day with her, our group took all the kids to Pizza Hut to eat and play. Ale had never been in a restaurant before. She probably had never eaten pizza. She loved going to the bathroom to wash her hands, because in there she discovered the amazing invention that is the hand drier. When was the last time you were amazed by something so simple?
Today, almost a year later, that shy, scared girl is not the girl you see. Now Ale’s somewhat of a tomboy, which shouldn’t be all that surprising when you consider that her “siblings” are four energetic boys! She likes it when Nate tosses her in the air. She’s up for running, playing and even pushing if things start to get rough.
What’s more, she is obsessed with her “big brother” Estuardo. She’s his shadow. At the zoo, a worn out Estuardo said to us, “Why does she always have to sit by me? She always wants to follow me around.”
I have no idea what the future holds for Alejandra. Unfortunately, her father is still legally in the picture. In March, Ale had to go to court, and her father was there. Ale screamed and begged to be able to get away from that “bad, bad man.”
My hope and prayer for Ale is that someday her perception of fathers and men is redeemed, and that God repairs the damage that has been done to her little heart and soul. I pray that she is able to be a part of a family where men are loving and kind, not destructive and abusive. In the meantime, I’m thankful for the role those who visit her get to play in her life. We can help show her that adults can be kind, and that she is a precious little girl who should be cherished, loved, and treasured.