Thursday, September 30, 2010
That day I moved Grace into my room and we shared my bed for about the first 2 weeks. I got up with her every hour of the night. I had to learn how to feed her, bathe her, and hold her. Miraculously she began to grow and move and babble. Within weeks she was rolling over and started to grab her bottle. She could even suck on her toe and was gaining about a pound a week! Grace was such a precious little fighter and her overall health and development was improving at alarming rates!
About a month into my relationship with Grace I felt like God really confirmed to me that this was His plan. I was feeding her breakfast one morning when she looked up at me -- as clear as could be-- and said "MOM" and went right back to eating. It was more clear to me than ever before that Grace is my daughter.
After a while Grace's grandmother came back for a visit. She took one look at Grace and said "gordita," or "little fat one". Grace's grandmother spent the whole afternoon with her, just loving on her and playing with her. When it came time for the grandmother to leave she brought Grace back to me playfully saying, "go back to mama". But then, with sincere generosity, she told me "she knows you are her mom". Grace's grandmother gave me a big hug and kiss and headed back to her village hours away by boat and by foot.
Later, Grace and I were on one of our daily walks through town and a lady came up to me and identified herself as Grace's aunt. She told me more about Grace's mom and I told her about how much better Grace looked and how much she had improved. The aunt informed me that she had never really seen Grace before now, so she couldn't tell how much she had grown. It just broke my heart. After that I took Grace for weekly visits to see her aunt who lives in Puerto Lempira. She gave me the mom's phone number and we tried to get in touch with her but never did. It is now thought that she is in prison in La Cieba.
Throughout the rest of my stay in Honduras Grace and I developed an even closer bond and I grew to love her even more. All of the children at the House of Hope are so precious, and every one of them is a miracle. But Grace is my miracle. The Lord has entrusted her to me for a time here on Earth and I feel so honored to call her my daughter.
It has been such a blessing to get to know Grace's family. I love finding out every detail about them. I can't wait to see how the Lord grows our relationship. I want Grace to be involved with her family as much as possible. She is my daughter now and it tears me apart to not be with her for the next 10 months. I am going to miss her first words, her crawling, and maybe even her first steps. She's going to call someone else mom. But I know that the LORD has a reason for me coming back school.
Grace is the inspiration for ACTS House. It was already my passion before I went to Honduras this summer; but now, having a daughter has made it even more clear to me that this is what I am called to do. I am called to open up my home to orphans, abandoned children, and street kids.
For me, Grace has been a picture of the Lord's love for us. Even when we are difficult, He still loves us. He still longs to be with us. He never gives up on us. His desire is to be with us every second of every day. When we are away He wants to be with us. He thinks we are beautiful even if the world says different. The world said Grace was trash but the Lord says she is a daughter of the King. She is beautiful!!!
I am still waiting for the results of Grace's HIV test, it takes a while because since she is under 18 months old she still has her mothers antibodies. Until then we are praying that Grace did not contract the disease from her mother. But even if she did, Grace still needs a mom and I will raise her. She will still be my daughter.
At this time, Grace is now 9 months old and weighs 15 pounds! She is almost crawling! She is growing hair and has four teeth. Greatest news of all she has a birth certificate!!!