A few miles away from the Buckner Office in Guatemala City is a small, four bedroom house that is home to thirteen of the sweetest, most lovable children you’ll ever meet. It’s the Buckner Baby Home, and if you’ve been following our blog, you know that these thirteen children have captured our hearts.
Since we started blogging about Guatemala, we’ve mentioned each of these kids in passing. However, we recently decided it was time to share their individual stories. Each child has a tragic and heartbreaking history that needs to be told. Each child also has a story of redemption and hope, because he or she is now in Buckner’s care. They now live in a place that is safe, a place where they are loved and protected. Yet, these children still need our prayers, because no one knows what their futures hold. Like other non-profit organizations, Buckner has been hurt by the economic downturn. At some point, we may call on you to help us help Buckner provide for the educational, physical, financial and spiritual needs of these children.
What’s more, although these children aren’t all “true orphans” who are able to be adopted, each child longs for a mommy and daddy to love them unconditionally. They need to know that there is at least one person in the world who is absolutely crazy about them.
We want you to hear each child’s story and join us in praying for his or her needs. We also ask that you pray that God would speak to us clearly. We really don’t know what kind of a role God will ask us or the people of eXchange to play in the lives of these children. All we know now is that it is good to pour into their lives, and we will keep going back to visit them in Guatemala until God tells us to do otherwise.
We want to start by sharing with you Isabel’s story.
When we first visited the Baby Home in August 2008, Isabel was nowhere to be seen. Maybe she was hiding out in the kitchen or playing in the living room. Wherever she was, she wasn’t interested in us. That is, until she saw Nate. One of the nannies brought Isabel (also known as “Chabelita”) out to the courtyard, and Isabel caught her first glimpse of Nate. She tottered over to him and wrapped her arms around his legs. From then on, Nate was her property. Even when it was time to eat. Nate had to sit next to her and feed her her spaghetti. If he tried to leave, Isabel tried to leave, too. Nate spent our first afternoon at the Babies’ Home swinging Isabel around the room and bouncing her on his lap. Whenever one of the women tried to take her away, she would squeeze Nate tighter and moan or cry in distress.
And I do mean “moan.” We believe Isabel is about four or five years old, but she is, for the most part, nonverbal. However, her motor and verbal skills are slowly improving. On our most recent trip, we actually heard Isabel say two words: “Abi” (the name of the babies’ house mother) and “no”! She is also becoming much more mobile. She still has more than her fair share of “crash and burn” moments, but she’s faster and more steady on her feet. She’s doing so much better that she’s now considered one of the “big kids” and is allowed to come out with us when we take the older children on field trips to places like the museum, zoo, or the bowling alley.
One thing that hasn’t changed about Isabel is that she still likes to cuddle. She still likes to find a pair of legs and latch on. If or when those legs try to move away, you can bet that Isabel will follow close behind.
On our most recent trip, we found out that Isabel’s mother was severely disabled. She was raped, and Isabel is the product of that rape.
Wow. I had no idea.
Like I said, the children’s stories are tragic and heartbreaking. For me, Isabel’s story brings up all kinds of why and how questions. How could someone rape a disabled person? Why would God let that happen? Why should Isabel have to suffer because of someone else’s sin? She needs a mommy and daddy to love her and give her special attention and care. Why doesn’t she have that?
I don’t have the answers to any of those questions. But I do know a beautiful little girl in Guatemala who is healing, growing and learning to love in spite of the tragic way her story began. She smiles, laughs, talks nonsense words, and would like nothing more than to cuddle up in your lap and let you hold her.