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A Mother’s Story

Someone once told me that people don’t ever change. I hope that someone will read about our experience hosting a child through Solace for the Children and change their minds. It took hope, love and a lot of patience, but my family was blessed with the opportunity to witness one of the most beautiful physical, emotional and spiritual transformations of a thirteen- year-old girl. Her name is Habiba.

The day Habiba walked into our family she weighed 65 pounds. Her spirit was heavy with sadness and anger. She sat on our couch and cried and cried. We did the song and dance to try to get her up, get her outside, get her interested in anything. Before long we realized we had to just let her cry and let her know she was loved.

After much anticipation, she had her surgery and it was a success. She was brave and resilient and I thought to myself she is doing this all without her own mother. We watched her eat and eat and eat. She steadily gained weight and with it came a light into her spirit. She was laughing. She was playing. She was sharing with us; telling how her mom made flying birds out of paper and cooked her favorite meals. She held hands with my children, doing homework together at the kitchen table, and chores around the house. She became part of our family.

Weeks went by and with every doctor appointment she grew in pride and confidence as she demonstrated the physical therapy she had been doing at home. The doctors marveled at her physical and emotional transformation. She smiled. She looked forward to learning. She looked forward to seeing her friends. And she loved sharing with us what was going on in her life. She pointed to a wedding photo of my husband and me and pointed to herself and said “me”. She was looking forward to her future!

When it came time for her to go home I looked at her no longer saw the child that was crying on my couch. Standing before me was a young woman who had found her confidence and happiness. She was eager and ready to embark on a new life where she was excited to learn, build friendships, and fall in love.

Someone once told me that people don’t ever change. Habiba would probably disagree.

Ridgely Chapman
Habiba’s Host Mom

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