Everything was ready. Today was going to be such a good day. We were going to get a baby the medical attention she desperately needs. German was right outside the gate, talking to the guard. Then we found out that a little piece of paper stating that the government has legal custody doesn’t exist. And we had to cancel the appointment.
This is Maria. She is the youngest of a family of 6 six kids currently living in Nueva Esperanza.
When my friends Megan and Debbie were here in July, Megan spent a lot of time with her and quickly noticed that something just wasn’t right. Mainly, she was incredibly listless. Had no interest in doing anything.
Megan and Maria
By the second week that Megan was here we were seriously concerned. She had lost a significant amount of weight and could barely hold her head up. When I came back the next week I was happy to hear that she was in the hospital. Perfect! She’ll get the help she needs. Two weeks later she was back and looked no better. She was actually worse. So last Friday I decided I really need to do something about this. I went to a malnutrition center in a town near my house to plead her case. They said that as long as she didn’t have any other serious illnesses (that they aren’t equipped to treat) then she could come. I just needed to get her medical records sent over there. In my mind this was all going to be taken care of by Monday. To make a long story short, I found out that she has bronchitis and may have a heart problem, but she has been waiting for about 2 months to get in to see a specialist. And in the mean time she is getting skinnier and skinnier. The nutrition center said that they wouldn’t take her til she’s seen a specialist. (Which is frustrating because they have babies dropped off on their doorstep sometimes and they still start to treat them before they have a diagnosis from a specialist. Why is this case different!)
She referred us to a place called Fundacion Bernabe down the road that has a cardiologist. We went and were warmly received by the Doctor. She said that we had to bring the girl to Bernabe today or Monday to have an initial appointment, then they could refer her to a specialist and be seen on Wednesday. Sean and I have a very full day on Monday so it needed to be today. We were ready to drive to San Pedro (about an hour and a half one way), get the child and an IHNFA worker (chaperone), drive them back to Bernabe, be seen by the doctor, and return them both to San Pedro. It was going to be a whirlwind day, but this child NEEDS some medical attention. Then I realized that one of our co-workers, German was in San Pedro. Perfect! We made arrangements for him to pick up Maria and the worker and bring them here and Sean and I would take it from there. Except there was a glitch. Bernabe needs a copy of the paper that says that IHNFA has custody of Maria. But Maria and her siblings aren’t in Nueva Esperanza because they’ve been orphaned, abandoned or abused. They are here because they have a very loving father who unfortunately cannot provide for them financially. So it’s essentially like the government is babysitting them for a while. So they don’t have legal custody, and the father lives in a town 3 hours away from San Pedro and even though he’d be happy to give consent, we couldn’t get to him in time for him to sign anything. We begged and pleaded with Bernabe to just see her today and we promise we’ll get the consent form by the time she sees the specialist on Wednesday. Nope. No consent, no appointment.
So we had to tell German to come back. He was literally on the other side of the gate. He was 100 feet from Maria. He had a vehicle to transport her. But he had to turn around. Because of one piece of paper.