21 May Meet Miguel Age 6
By Arwen McGilvra –
When Miguel was born, it was obvious that he was different. He had a large bulge between his forehead and nose — an abnormality called encephalocele. His parents abandoned him at the hospital and the doctors wrote him off, saying he had little chance to live because of the defect.
Encephalocele, a type of neural tube defect (NTD), is characterized by sac-like protrusions of the brain and the membranes that cover it through openings in the skull.* This happens during fetal development when the neural tube fails to close completely. It is a rare defect only occurring in about one in 5,000 births. While the exact cause is not known, lack of pre-natal care is a factor. Taking folic acid and avoiding alcohol and smoking are important in preventing NTDs. Here in the States, pre-natal screening may be able to detect NTDs before birth, and doctors can be prepared to both safely deliver the baby and have surgeons ready for the necessary operations. Sadly, this option is not available to many women in Guatemala.
The minor’s court sent Miguel to Dorie’s Promise in 2007 when he was just four months old. Doctors told us that because of his encephalocele, along with a deformation of the brain, he would likely be incapable of a full life. But Miguel is living proof that with God nothing is impossible!
Thanks to the care he’s received from Dr. Castro and the Special Mothers, Miguel is a very intelligent, healthy, happy boy. He enjoys exploring nature — he loves to go for walks and collect tree branches. When visitors enter the home, the first thing he does is clap and laugh. He gets excited when new people come to see us.
“He is so cute!” says MJ Zelya, one of our staff members.
Special Mother Marleny says, “Miguel is a boy with many special qualities. He enjoys listening to music, and that usually puts him in a good mood. He likes affection and responds with hugs and kisses.”
“He has a strong character,” she continues. “He can demand attention and will scream to get what he wants from the Special Mother in charge of his care.” Yet it’s this strong will that has carried Miguel through the difficulties he’s faced with his health. He still suffers from seizures and delayed growth. He has a caregiver trained to attend to his special needs.
Dr. Castro has monitored his growth closely: “Sometimes visitors ask me if his facial deformity could be operated on, and after several specialist consultations, not a single medical opinion has concluded that such esthetic operation is advisable, due to its complexity and the danger of such an operation.”
Miguel was declared adoptable in 2010 and he is still waiting to be adopted by a Guatemalan family. Meanwhile, we would like to invite you to take the opportunity to get to know him and see if God is leading you to become a sponsor. We think you’ll be blessed by the experience. Knowing Miguel you learn how joyful and full life can be despite your health or circumstances.