If you were to walk into the big nursery right now, one little girl in particular might stand out to you. She is by far the chubbiest little girl at GLA. Her smiles are so big that her fat cheeks almost completely obscure her eyes. And you could definitely describe her stride as a waddle. To look at her today, you would never believe that she came to us a limp, thin, malnourished child. To hear her throaty giggle, you would never guess that she was sullen and withdrawn when she was first brought within these walls.
Djounneissa (Neissa) was the last of the children to came to GLA from Sister Donna's. She came last because after being removed from the orphanage, she had to be hospitalized. It was a few weeks until she was well enough to leave the hospital and come to GLA. The first few days, she rejected human interaction. She was more comfortable being left alone in her crib than being cradled in a strangers arms. My first memory of her was an attempt to hold her, as she fussed and rolled in my arms, until I set her back in her infant seat and she instantly quieted and avoided my gaze. She simply had not known a stable figure whom she could rely on to feed and love her consistently.
Miraculously, it wasn't long before Neissa came around. As she
started getting routine meals, she discovered she liked her food, a lot!
She also found the will I was afraid had been lost. She would get very
angry at the end of every bottle, and would holler until the nannies
filled her a second one! She very quickly began to gain weight, to the
point that Dixie had to insist the nannies scale back on her food
intake. She started to find joy in interaction with her nannies and
volunteers, and she started laughing. The best deep belly laugh I've
Today, Neissa is a happy, well adjusted toddler with a contagious smile. I often visit the nursery to get a Neissa hug. I tell her "I love you!". She echo's back "I wub ou!". God granted Neissa a remarkable spirit. It carried her through an unimaginable time. Now it brings joy to those all around her. She has a very special place in my heart. I will carry her with me the rest of my life. And I know I'm not the only one!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Posted on Mon, January 20, 2014
by Holli Bickel