"I Fight for Michaela."
Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Micaela was one of the first children to arrive at Little House of Refuge. Her tiny body had been ravaged at the hands of male family members who were certain no one would ever discover their dark secret. Born unable to hear or speak, her silence was the perfect accompaniment to their repeated violent sexual abuse.
Miraculously, she was rescued and placed at the orphanage quietly tucked away on a hillside just outside of Xela, Guatemala. It was there that her body – and her heart – would start to heal.
Studies show that people with developmental disabilities are four to ten times more likely to be victims of acts of violence. And 50% of girls who are deaf have been sexually abused at least once. Abuse is more common among people with disabilities because they may not be able to tell anyone or may not fully understand what is happening to them. Research shows that virtually all abusers of people with disabilities are known and in a position of trust and authority. Micaela’s abusers were family members – men who delighted in her vulnerability.
Thankfully, someone fought for Micaela. And her life is being redeemed.
When Orphan Outreach President Mike Douris traveled to Little House in 2009 to talk to its founders about ministry partnership, Michaela was the first child he met. Though she was still wary of men because of her past, there was something in his demeanor that was comforting to her. “We immediately became friends,” Mike shares. “On that first visit, she gave me a stuffed animal – a pink cat. Though I’m not really a huge fan of cats or the color pink, that gift is precious to me.”
Now, five years later, 15-year old Micaela eagerly awaits visits from the man who has helped restore her trust and shown her a glimpse of the love God has for her. “Look at most mission trips, and you’ll see women,” says Mike. “For some reason, there is still reluctance on the part of men to do orphan care unless it involves construction projects. But these kids need to see men who love Christ and care for their families well. Our simple presence - playing soccer or reading a book or drawing pictures with sidewalk chalk - can be exactly what's needed to help a child like Micaela heal emotionally and spiritually.”
Mike points to the pink cat that sits on a bookshelf in his office. “That toy means the world to me. I pray for Micaela daily because of that little cat. I pray for her complete healing. I pray she’ll be protected and that her needs will be met through the generous donations of those who have fallen in love with Guatemala and the ministry work being done there. And I pray more men will join our teams to provide care and compassion for children."
Micaela can’t hear the words, “I love you,” but she understands the love that’s given her at Little House. And she is learning how to share her feelings well. “The last time I visited, she taught me how to say ‘Mike and Micaela are friends forever’ using sign language. She was so proud. Though she may not be able to hear me, she knows I love her – and she knows she’s safe.
I fight for Michaela. We fight for all the Michaela’s.”
You can be part of the fight to redeem the life of a child who has been rescued from abuse and neglect. Your monthly gift of $36 provides vital care, education, and more. Learn more and find your sponsor child today.
Statistics from John Dosseter Health Ethics Center Study and the National Clearing House on Family Violence.