|   Posted: May 23, 2018

A baby born with severe physical disabilities becomes a source of joy for his entire family. See how the Survival Program helped support David and his family.

“When I Saw David, Everything Changed.”

A baby born with severe physical disabilities becomes a source of joy for his entire family. See how the Survival Program helped support David and his family.

A young boy from Colombia with special needs lays on the floor

Miriam always called her daughter, Indira, “the apple of my eye.” As a baby, Indira had suffered from a high fever that caused neurological problems, and her cognitive abilities, combined with mental illness, meant that even in her 30s she needed to be looked after like a child.

But when Miriam was at work cleaning houses, Indira was sometimes left alone. And during one of those times, the young woman was taken advantage of, perhaps by a neighbor, or even a stranger passing through. But whoever it was, the encounter left this mentally disabled young woman pregnant.

Miriam was devastated. She decided that when Indira gave birth, they would give the baby up for adoption. But the day Indira had her son, Miriam took one look at the baby and knew she couldn’t give him up.

“When I saw David, everything changed. I thought, he is my son, and I decided to take care of him,” says Miriam. “I asked for and received custody of David. He is the light of my life.”

Miriam sought the support of her church, Foursquare Church of El Pando, and they promised to come alongside the aging grandmother who struggled to find work and care for her children, and now her grandson. They told her about the Compassion program and helped her enroll little David into the Survival initiative when he was 2 months old. But at the center, staff quickly noticed that David wasn’t developing at the same level as the other children. A visit to the local clinic provided the devastating news that David had cerebral palsy.

“Miriam was so sad because of David's condition,” says Yubeth, the Compassion staffer who visited Miriam each month. “I remember encouraging her and letting her know that she was not alone, that she had the center’s support.”

Yubeth and the rest of the staff began researching cerebral palsy and ways to support little David and his grandmother.

“I learned how to help children with cerebral palsy learn to walk,” says Yubeth. “As they try to stand up on their toes, we should put some counterweight on their back, which helps them put their feet on the floor. I did this with David and he walked at 18 months. I have also learned what kind of sounds he likes and what songs to sing. Another thing I helped him do is clap. Slowly he has learned to clap while I sing songs for him. David has also learned how to go up stairs, get into bed and sit down.”

Today, David is 4 years old and is sponsored by a woman who also has cerebral palsy. His sponsor’s letters, combined with the unfailing support of the Compassion staff, have given Miriam a sense of hope.

“I feel really grateful,” says Miriam. “The center is a great help for us. When I do not have money to take David to the therapies, they bring me the help I need. Yubeth asks me what I need for David. She has taught me to massage David’s feet, legs and arms and give him love.”

Miriam and the center staff are committed to helping David with his daily development. Yubeth has found a local group that works with children like David, and this happy 4-year-old has a constant support system cheering him on.

“I want David to learn many things,” says Miriam. “If I had received for Indira the same help that I receive now for David, she could be a different person with other opportunities. I feel the center’s support, and I have been greatly blessed by God through it.”