Maria from Guatemala

Not yet 17, Maria has already lived through more trauma than most endure in a lifetime. Hers is a remarkable story of God’s transformation and one that demonstrates the impact your support for us is having on vulnerable children like her throughout the world.

The breakup of her parents, sexual abuse by a stepfather, pregnancy at 13, betrayal and rejection by family, relocation to a place where she knew no one – any one of these would scar a child. But layered one at a time over a young girl’s heart, they shattered Maria and left her almost impenetrable. It would take a long time and intense loving therapy to break through the walls she had constructed to survive, to protect herself.

It wasn’t always this way. Maria had a loving single mum and pleasant memories of her first few years – playing with cousins, family holiday celebrations, visiting relatives in other towns. But life began to change when her mother met a man and made a quick decision to marry. The man promised to take good care of the family…

"Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice." Amos 5.15

By the time Maria was 12, he had raped her several times, and the next year she was pregnant.

Maria’s stepfather, knowing he was the father of her child, asked her to have an abortion. But even at this tender age, she refused. 

When Maria’s mother learned of the pregnancy, she also learned about a ministry that helps girls who are pregnant due to sexual abuse. So, after a hospital evaluation and period of observation, knowing her home was not a safe place, Maria was sent to KA Guatemala’s Oasis. Little did she know that this place would soon become a safe shelter for her heart. 

Young Maria, now six months pregnant, was frightened and reluctant to share her story. When our team of Oasis professionals asked her what had happened, she would not tell and initially even defended her abuser, a common response for a confused, frightened, and displaced child. 

It took 10 months, but with the sensitive therapy, love, and encouragement of her psychologist and caregivers, Maria began to trust them and share her truth. The loving staff spent hours working with Maria, helping her learn how to care for her baby girl who was born at Oasis just a few months after her arrival. While the team worked to take care of Maria and her newborn, the love of God was born in her heart. 

Maria’s pain was complicated by the fact that her mother refused to believe her story about the sexual abuse, even when DNA tests proved the paternity of the stepfather. She placed all the responsibility on a 12-year-old girl. But Maria was courageous, and with the help of her Kids Alive counsellors and attorney, she faced her abuser in court. She spoke boldly and in faith that God would give her justice. And in July 2020, her abuser was arrested and incarcerated. 

As Oasis staff continued offering her tools for healing, they also matched her with mentors who would provide love and support for her and her baby. After many months of visits, calls, and hard work, these mentors, who are pastors of a local church, decided to become foster parents for both Maria and her baby. 

At the beginning of Holy Week, 2021, Maria and her child were embraced by her new family.

Over the next year, our team of professionals will call, visit, and be available to Maria and her new parents for help and encouragement. 

Maria’s dream is to catch up on her schooling, graduate from high school, and start her much-desired career of becoming a baker. She works hard becoming the best mother she can be, growing, experiencing, and sharing God’s love and grace every day. 

We believe God has great plans for our work in Guatemala, and we’re excited to continue sharing stories of girls who have been rescued and transformed, as well as the progress we’re making in changing the justice landscape for children. It is only with you kind help and support that we are able to further the work of redeeming hearts broken by sexual violence.

“Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.” Isaiah 58:12 

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