One of those extraordinarily resilient faces was Diana. Diana is 13 years old and has symptoms similar to cerebral palsy (i.e. stiff muscles, exaggerated reflexes, currently wheelchair bound, etc.). One of the Taylor students, Taylor Treece, specifically had the chance to create a beautiful bond with Diana. This is what she had to say about her experience.
“One of the harsh truths about individuals who have disabilities is the unintentional limitations and social/physical deprivation that is continuously a pattern in different cultures. That being said, Diana is not expected to ever be adopted by a loving family that she most desperately wants and needs in order to reach her full potential. Being sadly informed of this information, I had an opportunity to love and care in addition to the brilliant women who take such amazing care of her in that orphanage. It all started with getting on her level and meeting her where she is at. With a child of God who cannot “formally” communicate with words does not mean she simply cannot communicate. You have to communicate in ways that she can understand and reciprocate. For us it started with the squeezing of hands. I would grab her hand and massage it in such a way that indicated to her my care for her, and she would reciprocate that same squeeze communicating to me her care. This then would morph into her locking eyes, squeezing my hand, and making sounds that I would also reciprocate. With a heart for individuals with special needs, I knew it would take intentional effort to communicate with Diana that is not automatic to many but is natural to her. Individuals who take the time to open themselves up in a different way that is not automatic, allows kiddos like Diana to open up in a way that is natural for her. She also may not experience that on a daily basis which breaks my heart. Situations like this never cease to remind me the beauty there is in different perspectives, and how those different perspectives contribute value to this narrow-minded world. Diana is an absolute joy and child of God. My prayer is that the world can see her value one day.”
– Katie Tupper and Taylor Treece