Meet TinyWide-Eyed Angelica
Just after dawn on a June morning, before the warmth of the Caribbean sun had chased away the cool morning mist, a mother heard the first cries of her sixth child, a precious baby girl. Angelica* came into this world earlier than expected, and her fragile body wasn’t quite prepared. A tiny infant, no longer than her petite father’s forearm, she hesitantly peered at the new world with uncertainty.
Yves and Josette were teenage sweethearts. They had both grown up in the outskirts of Kenscoff to neighboring farming families. Neither attended school but joined their parents and siblings in the fields at an earlier age. They learned the intricacies of the land, and how to coax it into providing food. Their first child, Willert, was born on Josette’s 21st birthday, a joy to his parents. Like many other women in her community, especially those whose families make a sustainable living through laboring in the fields, Jasmine would continue to have a pregnancy each year, of those Yves and Josette were able to welcome four more little ones into their home. Some years the fields produced, and the family got by, even managing to send their oldest to school from time to time. Other years there was not enough or too much rain and the family struggled to make it through until the next planting season.
The season before Angelica’s birth was one of too little rain. Josette was not able to get the nutrition her baby required. With determination she pushed through tiring work in the fields nurturing her family at home and growing the little one inside her. Willert, now 10 years old, worked the fields alongside his father to relieve some of his mother’s burden but no matter how hard they labored the rains never came.
Angelica was born at home with her great aunt in attendance. Despite her mother’s best efforts, Angelica remained fragile and small. She ate sparingly, had difficulty breathing, slept fitfully, and was sickly. Josette and Yves took her to the clinic and purchased medication for her with what crops they could sell. At 4 months old they began to worry for her life. They shared their concerns with a cousin who recommended they bring Angelica to God’s Littlest Angels, where a friend of theirs worked as a nurse.
Little Angelica peered out of her weary mother’s arms uncertain of what lay before her. A social worker from Haitian Child and Family Services (IBESR), extensively interviewed the family and came to the conclusion that it was in the child’s best interest to be placed at GLA for care for the foreseeable future. Angelica was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and began receiving medical treatment. For a period of time she began to improve, growing a healthier appetite and slowly beginning to gain weight, but after every positive improvement Angelica would have a relapse. Our pediatrician did extensive testing, ruling out feared TB, and diagnosed Angelica as chronic failure to thrive. Angelica received one on one care and again slowly improved, only to relapse again. After x-rays and several appointments with specialists the ENT feels that the next course of action for Angelica is to have her adenoids and tonsils removed.
Angelica desires to be active and play like the other toddlers in her care group. She sees them walking and stands up herself only to find her legs don’t have the strength or balance to keep her moving, so she resorts to motoring around on all fours. She is beginning to repeat words and loves to try and sing along to simple rhythmic nursery songs. Due to her restricted breathing she wakes up often when she’s sleeping which interrupts her rest and she is often tired throughout the day even just after a nap. It is so sad to see how badly she wants to play, walk, talk and do other things, but her body just doesn’t have the strength when she is sick all the time. We are very hopeful that this surgery will end her chronic sinus drainage and open up her airways so that she can breathe deeply, sleep soundly, and start to feel physically well which will help her begin to improve psychologically as well. We are anxious to have the procedure done, as she has already missed on out several developmental milestones during these crucial months. With time and consistent improvement, we are hopeful that she will be strong enough to return home to her family without fear of a relapse, confident that they are able to care for her more specialized needs.
Magaly has talked to the hospital, surgeon, and anesthesiologist, they believe that Angelica’s procedure will be routine but would like to plan to keep her overnight just to be sure. Their estimate for the total cost is $3000 USD. This is no small sum, but Angelica’s future growth and development depends on it. She has suffered for too long and we are anxious to take the next step in helping her get well. Would you please consider making a donation towards Angelica’s surgery?
Thank you for being a part of GLA and the reason that families like Angelica’s can come to our gates knowing they will find help for their ailing infant here.
* Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Interim Executive Director God’s Littlest Angels – Haiti
Molly has worked in the nonprofit world for more than 17 years. Originally from Michigan, Molly moved to Haiti in 2002. She served as Director of Daily Operations for GLA’s children’s home for 14 years. In 2016 she and her husband Dave returned to the U.S. and founded Mountain High Marketing; an agency focused on helping nonprofits build better relationships to increase their positive impact. Molly is passionate about bringing people together to strengthen, support, and inspire change. Molly holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Liberty University.