Her story is not simple. In fact, it’s pretty complicated. Ten years can hold alot. Abandonment, abuse, neglect, trauma, and a life on the brink of death has turned into love, grace, healing and restoration. God has had His hand on her life since she was breathed into existence. My faith is so weak, I often question why He would allow the things she has suffered. Abandoned at six weeks, with roach bites covering her tiny body, she was taken into custody, and nursed back to health. She was loved, nurtured, and experienced quick healing with a foster mother who loved her as her own. Ripped away from the only one that loved her like her own, at 22 months, she was given back to the very one who abandoned her.
Latebreaking news hit the media, the summer of 2011. “Oklahoma City police said a malnourished girl was made to live in a closet with only a cup to urinate and defecate in.” Complete horror! According to the report, she weighed 19 pounds when she was admitted to the hospital. She was 5 1/2 years old. “Police said the girl didn’t look at them when they questioned her and when she did speak, officers could not understand her.” Her body was covered in hair to regulate her body temperature. She uttered no words. Devastating!
This week, she turned 10. She is beautiful! She radiates kindness and warmth. She is sensitive to others needs, forgiving of all mistakes, and makes friends everywhere she goes. She is a homebody. She loves to just be with her family. She is inquisitive. She tries her hardest and has overcome every obstacle that was put in front of her. She is the perfect story of God’s healing power.
I remember her testing at a 12 month level, an 18 month level, etc. I remember there being no specific diagnosis and consequently no specific treatment. I vividly remember traveling to Children’s Hospital often for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and visiting the dietician. I remember our special diet. We followed it strictly, in hopes that she did not get “refeeding syndrome”. I remember sitting with a principal, while enrolling her in Kindergarten. She uttered strange noises and drove a metal school bus on the floor. She only lasted a little over an hour in Kindergarten each day, and I attended with her. I remember potty-training and naps……vaguely. All of these things are fleeting memories, because healing came so quickly. I often attribute it to the love and care her first foster momma gave her for over 20 months.
Two things stick out so vividly to me. One are the memories of being tested in the public school. Every time they showed me where she ranked or what age level she tested in, I felt the strong presence of God saying, “You have no idea what I am going to do with this child”. So, I shook my head and smiled. I didn’t ever worry about what she couldn’t do, not even once. I knew, deep down, what she would become. The second thing that sticks out so vividly, is the memory that I have of the brilliant psychologist in the city who did a broad spectrum of tests on her. I remember so clearly, her saying, “It’s almost like her brain has been on pause, because of the severe malnutrition. Most people’s IQs stay in the same general realm, the majority of their lives, but I believe we will see huge increases in hers”.
Hope. Her life has consistently spoken the word, hope. Over and over and over again, God’s promises have come true. A decade of hope. A miracle of God.
Amanda is a Christ-follower, wife to Clint, and currently a mother to 7 children. Over the past 7 years, she has parented 27 children. She knows what it means to experience heartache through the loss of children she had hoped would stay forever, but also knows what it means to find her identity in Christ. Although her and her husband know that not everyone is called to foster or adopt, they strongly believe that everyone should play a role in this crisis. She feels like she is continuously reaping the blessings of committing to this lifestyle and wishes that everyone could experience it! Check out more from Amanda on her blog!