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God works to help Maria

The farm is a safe place for Maria to run and play. The white and red peonies are blooming and the nearby field is aglow with buttercups. The six-year-old’s menagerie of friends include three dogs, a goat, the farm’s alpaca and horse, a lizard named “Freckles,” and the hedgehog “Reggie.”

Tucked around the corner of the house is Maria’s favorite: her swing. She opens the palm of one hand, and using two fingers from her other hand makes an inverted “v.” She moves the fingers across her palm signing “swing” and off she goes.

Maria came to North Carolina from Guatemala two years ago. She was born to an alcoholic mom and suffered fetal alcohol syndrome. Rescued from the streets, the malnourished child was taken to the Good Shepherd Children’s Home in Xela, Guatemala––an affiliate of Baptist Children’s Homes. Under the watchful care of the ministry’s directors, Roger and Vickie Grossman, it was determined Maria’s developmental and medical needs could not be met in Guatemala. They recommended she come to the United States.

Three thousand miles away, empty-nesters Karen and Sean had no idea how God was preparing to use them in Maria’s life or how they would face the God-sized challenges ahead.

Even before Sean and Karen had ever heard of Maria, God was at work in their lives preparing her a home.

“Everything has been God orchestrated,” Karen asserts.

The couple celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary June 2. The two met at a military training event between their junior and senior years of high school. Sean went on to attend West Point.

A day after his graduation, the couple wed in the Cadet Chapel in 1991 with an “arch of sabers ceremony” and Karen receiving a gentle swat from the saber bearer who announced: “Welcome to the Army, Ma’am.”