Our partner project, Casa Adalia, in Quito, Ecuador serves vulnerable and exploited young women. The home is run by an amazing group of women who love and care for these young women as if they were their own. We partnered with them to produce the “Run Free” video – a 2-minute retelling of one of the stories of young women they serve.
Young women are referred to Casa Adalia through a network of mission and non-profit organizations working in Ecuador and the region. Because the girls in the home are often being pursued by the traffickers they escaped, the staff are careful to protect the identity of the young women and the location of the home. Below are some insights into the day-to-day work of the Casa Adalia staff and how they love the young, exploited women they serve. Behind these words, you see the beautiful heart of Debbie Douce, the Director of Casa Adalia, and the love that she has for each of the women that God brings through the doors of Casa Adalia.
What if you had been my real mom?
Not long ago I was asked this question. It was not the first time. But like the first time, I felt the intake of my breath, the question piercing my soul, contemplating the deeper questions beneath. (READ MORE – link to the blog on the website)
What if, I asked myself...What if you had been mine, really mine? What if I had given birth to you, held you, kissed your tears, laughed at your funny antics, protected you, taught you right from wrong, loved you unconditionally, answered your questions, cheered your accomplishments, introduced you to Jesus from that first moment of life? If I had given you birth you wouldn't have been born through no fault of your own into the frightening and destructive world of drugs and prostitution.
A couple of weeks ago I experienced the incredible beauty of seeing our first granddaughter born. Tiny and perfect. Beautiful. Innocent. Graced with a loving mother and father. Such undeserving grace.
The young woman who asked me this question, is she any less deserving of such grace? How is it that one tiny baby girl is born into everything she needs, but another is denied even the most basic needs?
Last month I made a trip to see this young woman. I hugged her, kissed her, wiped her tears, prayed over her, hugged her again. Daughter of my heart. What if you had been mine?
The truth is, even if I had given her birth, my love would not be enough. Only Jesus is enough. Maybe you think that sounds trite, but it actually isn't. If I hadn't experienced personally that He is enough, I would not be living in Quito, Ecuador, a continent away from our children and grandchildren, loving somebody else's daughters. His love is enough for each of us regardless of what family we were born into. His love is powerful! His love is unfailing and healing and transforming. His love is a gift that when accepted exchanges our familial, earthly identity to being His chosen child. Loved. Accepted. Purposed.
So how did I answer the question, "What if you had been my real mom?"
I said, "I am so sorry. I am sorry that you are not the daughter of my flesh, but you are the daughter of my heart. God has placed you in my life and in my heart. He has placed His love for you in me. And that will not change."
There is no end to His patient and extravagant love. He came into the world as a tiny babe, born into poverty and darkness to bring light and life, a life that is abundant.
"What if you had been my real mom?" My love wouldn't have been enough, and it still isn't enough. Only the Perfect, Good and Eternal Father's love is enough. In fact, it is more than enough!
A new girl and her son arrive at Casa Adalia…
We recently added a new girl to the Casa Adalia family, “S”, age 20 and her three-year-old son. I don't think I have had anyone come to Casa Adalia with so many medical needs and have had no medical attention. The abuse she has suffered is extreme, and her son has suffered as well. I felt overwhelmed by her pain as she shared with me some of her story, but I also felt hope and awe with how God has rescued her. She told me that she recently became a Christian. She says that she has a strong desire to heal and become a new person. Her process is going to be challenging in all aspects and also with her son. We have a long road ahead, but that is why we have Casa Adalia, for young women just like her.
When I took “S” and her son to their room, she looked around and saw a welcome sign, sunshine pouring through large windows, a flowering tree outside, the freshly made beds with colorful quilts and a stuffed animal propped on each pillow. The room itself is likely larger than any home she has lived in. She took several deep breaths, and then tears started rolling down her face. She hugged me. "Thank you, thank you so much."
I love this part of my job, seeing so tangibly God's expression of love and the overwhelming surprise and joy and gratitude on their faces. And my heart is filled with gratitude as well.
Please join us in prayer for Debbie, and her husband Phil and the staff of Casa Adalia as they minister young women who desperately need to be SET FREE through the unconditional love of their Heavenly Father to find lasting healing. To support Casa Adalia and our other empowerment projects that serve survivors of exploitation, purchase the SET FREE bracelet here.
To purchase products made by women from Casa Adalia, shop our HOPE Collection.
Please leave your comments and prayers for Debbie and the young women she serves at Casa Adalia below.