A few months ago, Carla started bringing her daughter, Avilenne, to our community center. Carla was really shy the first day. It was difficult to read whether or not she was quietly enjoying herself or thoroughly uncomfortable. She showed up the next day and while the kids played, she opened up to Deborah.
Carla’s life has not been an easy one. Five years ago, she was a single mother and the sole provider for her son and two daughters. To makes things more difficult, her daughters were both born with special needs. Avilenne, who comes to our program everyday, was born with cerebral palsy. Avilenne’s little sister, Victoria, was born with encephalitis.
When Victoria was 4 months old, she required a feeding tube and constant medical care. Carla had no choice but to place her at a local orphanage so her daughter could get the attention she needed. Tragically, three months later Victoria passed away. Devastated, Carla gathered the strength necessary to keep working and providing for her children.
Every day, Carla left early in the morning and spent the day working in the fields. There are no government programs in her community for children with special needs and hiring a nanny would have cost her half of her earnings. She was completely dependent on her family to help and the only relative willing to step in was a teenage niece. In order to provide for her family, Carla left the children with her niece every day.
After a few months, neighbors called the authorities to report the family. In their eyes, a teenage girl taking care of a child with special needs was unacceptable. Child protective services came to inspect and Carla’s children were taken away from her.
Less than a year had passed since the death of her daughter Victoria when the other children were taken. But she fought. For 5 months, Carla continued to work full time in the fields while attending parenting classes. When she finally got her children back, it was bittersweet. She was so excited to be reunited with her family but at the same time understood that her situation hadn’t changed. She was still a single mother working full time. There were no government programs or daycares for children with special needs and her family was still unwilling to help her.
Carla made a decision to preserve her family. She found a man who allowed her to stay at home to take care of Avilenne and she married him. It was the only option she had. Today, she still doesn’t have the loving support of her family. That is why after two days with us at the community center, Carla told Deborah that she had finally found a home. She is so grateful for a place where she can bring her daughter and be in community with other mothers who understand her and who are living the same daily struggles.
Carla is now one of our parent leaders. She is in charge of giving physical therapy to many of the kids in our program and training new moms as they come with their children. To Carla, Eternal Anchor is hope and purpose. Not only does she have a place to take her daughter to receive physical therapy, but she now has a place where she can help others as well. She gets to provide the assistance and support to single mothers that she didn’t have five years ago. She is now a part of a solution to a problem that has plagued families of special needs children in our community for decades.
It’s humbling to work alongside Carla. Her story inspires me and reminds me of the redemptive power of God. Please keep Carla in your prayers. We get the privilege of sharing God’s love with her everyday and hope that soon she will understand and accept the love God has for her and her family. cialis without prescription