Out of all of the children that I work with, Faviola is probably dearest to my heart. I have known Faviola since she was 1 year old. I have held a lot of little babies with the work that I do at the orphanage, and naturally I fall in love with each one and want to bring each one home with me. In time that feeling passes as the babies come and go. With Faviola it was different. The first time I held her (almost 5 years ago now) I knew that God had something very special planned for us. It was a very different feeling; almost like a conviction. I knew I needed to stand by this little baby no matter what. Faviola was born with a hole in her heart and problems with her lungs. Her mother, Antonia, was told that Faviola would not live to see her first birthday. For the first 3 years of her life Faviola was in and out of the hospital. She was on every kind of medication you can think of. She had to have breathing treatments 4 times a day. She was horribly undernourished and at the age of 3 was wearing the clothing of a 1 year old. I remember when she finally learned to walk at about the age of 3 her favorite activity was to take the little children's chairs and move them one by one from one side of the living room to the other. She would do this all day. She was so happy to finally be able to use her little legs. Around the age of 3 a miracle!!! Faviola was taken to the children's hospital for an exam and the doctors discovered that her heart seemed to be normal. They reviewed her chart over and over again. They had no explanation for the recovery. No explanation for why this little girl had even lived as long as she had. Of course, those of us who know God know what the explanation is. God has a great purpose for this little girl and was not about to let Satan steal her away at such a young age! At the age of 3 the agency that Faviola lived in was closing. At that point I began the fight to have her and her mother come and live with me. Being from the United States, the child welfare department did not trust my motives for wanting this young girl with me so I was denied. I appealed and then they came back with the fact that I was single and denied me again. I appealed. They then came back to me stating that I didn't have legal residency in this country and denied me again. It was a roller coaster for me. I saw them place Faviola in a government orphanage. It broke my heart. I visited her daily. She was losing weight, she was not being fed properly, and she seemed to have constant congestion. My conviction to have this little girl live with me grew stronger so I finally went above the department of child welfare and went directly to the judge who was overseeing Faviola's case. I pleaded with her to allow me to take Faviola home with me and once again was denied. I continued to visit Faviola. I saw the threat of her and her mother being separated forever and I prayed like crazy. I had done everything that I could think to do. Finally, 6 months after I initiated the process of trying to get custody of Faviola I received a phone call from her Judge asking me to go and pick up Faviola. They were unable to find a family who would take in both her and her mother and the longer they searched the more sick Faviola became. At the age of 4 Faviola could not dress herself, feed herself or use the bathroom. She could not speak. She tantrumed worse than any 2 year old I had ever known. She was wearing the clothes of an 18 month old. Today, nearly 2 years later, Faviola is a healthy 6th year old. She does most activities that a 6 year old can do. While she suffers some mental retardation do to malnourishment when she was a baby, she is a very bright little girl with a huge smile. Faviola goes to speech therapy, occupational therapy and kindergarten. She is a hard working little girl who wants to excel in everything that she does. The day she learned to button her shirt I remember it took her about 15 minutes to do the first button. She wouldn't give up. That's how she is. When she puts her mind to something she does it. She is an inspiration and I can't wait to see how much more God will use her in her little life.