'Nobody Seemed to Love This Baby'

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Mirna traveled for 15 hours to get to the Operation Smile medical mission in Estelí, Nicaragua today. She walked an hour and took five different buses. Along the way, she stopped to sleep in a medical clinic – nothing was going to stop her from getting the help little Josep needed.

It would take more than a month’s savings to make this trip. Mirna works in the fields and cleans houses to make what little money she can. She couldn’t afford to even make the trip, and borrowed money from friends, but was determined to bring Josep to the Operation Smile medical mission.

Josep was born to Mirna’s niece who was only 14 at the time. Not long after he was born, Josep's mother abandoned him, leaving Mirna to care for her grandnephew.

“For the first month of his life, we were afraid that the baby would die because he wasn’t getting the care he needed,” Mirna said. “Nobody seemed to love this baby – but we loved him. We love him so much. I would do anything in my power to get him help.”

Mirna is a single mother with two other older children to care for. But those challenges have not stopped her from loving Josep and providing for him as if he were her own. Since she started caring for him, Mirna has devoted all her energy to finding a way to get Josep the surgery he needs to live a healthy life.

When a pediatrician told Mirna about Operation Smile and that a group of doctors were coming to Estelí to help children like Josep, Mirna began to save her money and pray that she and Josep would make it to Estelí to get Josep the surgery he needs.  A friend from her village called her when she heard the news that it was time to go travel to Estelí.

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Mirna dropped everything and borrowed the rest of the money she needed for bus tickets. And now, she is hoping that her prayers will finally be answered.

Mirna is also in the process of legally adopting little Josep. In a few days, this boy will have a brand new smile, life and future. She is excited for Josep to start over, healthy and happy.

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“Every child that has a facial deformity is our responsibility. If we don’t take care of that child, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will.”

- Kathy Magee, Operation Smile Co-founder