The most b e a u t i f u l soul you will ever encounter.
She has always been my soft spot; a subject I would never discuss unless to the people I truly trust. Mar became part of our family back in 2011 when she was 10 months old. Our family had been hosting a medical team and were working in a village down in the Dominican Republic, where her grandmother brought her into see the doctors. The baby would not stop screaming, so my mother finally went over and asked to hold her. If only. If only my mother knew then how that moment would change her life forever - how deeply she would fall in love with this ill child draped over her arms.
Let's take it back to that day: In walks a grandmother with a sick 8 month old baby girl, weighing 7 pounds. Yes, you heard me right, SEVEN POUNDS. She looked dead. She was so weak and malnourished, she just draped over my mother's arm as if my mom had been carrying a sack of potatoes rather than a living human being. After the doctors talked with the grandmother, we found out that the mother had supposedly died after having the baby at fourteen years old, and that the grandma had no money for food, so she had been trying to breast feed the baby. Yes, you are right, that does not work. Whenever the grandma felt like the baby needed food other than what she thought she was giving her, she would feed her rice water. Basically, whenever they would wash off the raw rice for the adults, the water that had been soaking the rice in looked similar to milk, so she gave it to the baby thinking it would give her the same nutritional value as milk. Nope.
Our family immediately began sponsoring this baby girl. Diapers, food, clothing, all her needs. Or so we thought.
After the team left and the medical outreach we had done was over, our family had left the country for a bit to rest and see family in the States. The two months we were away my mother did nothing but think of this child she fell in love with. She knew Mar was special and that she would play a big role in her life.
When we returned the first thing my mom did was go visit the baby girl in house fifty five. When my mom arrived she quickly saw how close to death she was. She was burning up and barely breathing. Mar was now 9 months old and weighed 8 pounds. How could this be? Why is she still so small? The family had been selling everything we had sponsored, and used the money for drugs and had continued to give her rice water and instant noodles.
We told the grandmother to be ready the next morning at 10am so that we could drive them to a doctor, but the grandmother said that she wouldn't go and that if we wanted the baby to live, we had to take her alone without the grandma. So we did. We took her to the hospital and the doctors said that she was a day away from death. One day. I praise the Lord everyday that my mom felt such a tug to go back and see her, because if she hadn't, Mar would not be here.
The doctors told my mom that they wanted to do tests everyday for one week, so we told the family, and asked if we could pick the baby up everyday, preferably with the grandmother, and take her for the tests. The only way they would allow us to help the baby was if she stayed in our house for the time the test would take, and to leave them out of the process. So that's what we did. We brought the baby into our home temporarily, or so we thought.
During the week of testing, we found out that Mar has a rare blood disorder called Sickle Cell Anemia. A normal bodies blood cells are shaped like an oval, and when the touch each other, they bounce off one another. Mariflor's blood cells are shaped like a "C," so when they touch, they stick together making a chain like blockage in her blood flow. When this happens and her cells stick together, it becomes hard for her to move. Walking, lifting her arms and hands are all an extremely painful process during this time period.
With Sickle Cell Anemia, you have way too many white blood cells and not enough red blood cells. This causes your oxygen levels to be really low and due to that, you have to take liquid oxygen. Medicine like that cost a pretty penny.
Once the test were all finished and we knew the details, we spoke to her family. We brought the baby back and told them why she was so ill. We told them that we would pay for the costs of the medicine, but it didn't matter. They no longer would take her back. And to be honest, I don't think they ever planned to. Once we had her for a couple of weeks, over and over trying to give her back to her family, we walked up to house fifty five and saw it all boarded up. They fled to Haiti, leaving her behind.
What were we supposed to do with this abandoned beautiful little girl? We did the only thing we had all wanted to do since day one. We accepted her as our own. She was no longer a child without anyone or anything, but a part of a family who wanted her so deeply.
Mar became the piece of our family the had always been missing. She completes us and or dynamic. I can confidently sit here and say that I love her just as must as any of my biological siblings. When I look at her, I don't see anything but someone I love and am willing to protect at all costs. She IS + ALWAYS will be part of the Sucher family.
Since Mar has been with us, she has had over 10 blood transfusions and I can't even count how many hospital visits. I believe that the Lord choose her for this, or allowed her to have this disease because He knows how incredibly strong she is, and how she could use this lifestyle to reach so many people.
Everyone in the hospitals on the North Coast of the Dominican most likely knows who Mariflor is. We aren't even known by our names anymore, but by "Mariflor's sister" or "Mariflor's parents." The nurses and doctors love her not just because of her strength, but most importantly because of the love, kindness and joy she is constantly spreading.
I remember showing up to the hospital one night to visit her. I walked into the room and found her praying over her doctor. Here is this little five year old, connected to tubes and having blood pumped into her body, but yet thinks to pause and pray for a grown adult with a stomach ache. My heart was so full.
The doctors told us that Mariflor wouldn't live to see her sixth birthday because of her disease. She is now turning ten in March. My sister is a warrior, and is stronger than anyone I know. God has been so faithful with her, and I know that he is going to use her to reach so many more people than she already has. She is the biggest blessing my family has received. The biggest blessing I have ever received.