Rejected and Redeemed
Growing up without a father was not uncommon in Villa Flores. This poor community in the Dominican Republic was filled with single mothers struggling to provide.
But for Yannely, it went beyond not having a father to teach her to ride a bike or bring home a treat after work. It was having a father who had never wanted her. Who actively pushed her away.
It began the day her father learned her mother Lidia was pregnant. “Get rid of it,” he commanded. When Lidia refused he abandoned her, leaving her alone to raise their daughter. As soon as she was old enough, Yannely begged her mother to tell her who her father was. It was a small community, and Lidia knew she would find out soon enough.
Nothing prepared Yannely for her father’s reaction. When he saw her coming he would run to his house and hide. He ignored the knocking on the door. Refused to even acknowledge the little girl standing there.
What must that have done to little Yannely? If her own father couldn't love her, who could?
But there was something that tempered the sadness Yannely felt about her father. A source of strength and healing she turned to after she walked home from her father’s. Letters, dozens of them, from her Compassion sponsor, Dorothy Schmitz.
Dorothy had been Yannely’s sponsor since the girl was 4 years old. Over the years she had become a kind of mentor and grandmother to Yannely. Dorothy told Yannely about her family and her grandchildren, and Yannely told Dorothy about her secret dream.
It felt like such a big dream that Yannely was almost afraid to speak it out loud. But she wrote it in her letters to Dorothy.