by Leilani

They sat patiently and quietly waited outside with their baby girl, Angelica, as the surgeons, between their surgeries, came out to meet and visit with them.

With the odds against them, they figured they had nothing to lose when they heard that Austin Smiles was back in San Salvador, El Salvador at theHOSPITAL MILITAR DE EL SALVADOR. They quickly got on a bus and rode for several hours with the hopes that it wasn’t too late for our Surgeons to see them.

I was summoned from the Operating Room by Dr. Raymond Harshbarger to come outside to help with a patient he just evaluated. No one had prepared me for what I was about to come face to face with, but in that instant, my heart felt a tug as I mustered all I could to not shed a single tear. I recognized those blank and hopeless stares coming from the parents, knowing that every other physician had told them, “We can’t help your baby girl.” I was called back from my thoughts as I heard Dr. Harshbarger say, “Leilani, I need you to document everything about this patient and get all their contact information, she’s a perfect candidate for my Craniofacial Clinic. I’m going to see if the hospital will accept her case and bring her to Austin.” The armor immediately went up around my heart to focus on my task at hand.

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Sitting next to mom & dad, I reached out to hold Angelica’s little hand as I introduced myself and informed them that “THIS surgeon can help your baby girl, but we can only take care of her in the USA. Are you willing and able to come with her if the hospital accepts her case?” At that very moment, I witnessed a new life enter mom’s eyes as she looked up at me then quickly looked over to her husband. No words spoken, they both looked back at me and she said, “YES! Anything we need to do we will do for our daughter!”

We’ve not looked back ever since!! I will tell you that I have been living and breathing this case everyday, all day doing everything possible to keep this ball rolling and moving ahead!! Everything has happened so quickly and all in the favor of our little Angelica!! We had a surgeon. The Hospital Accepted her Case. We got their Passports, and this past Tuesday it all came down to their interview with the Embassy in El Salvador…. Later that morning, on my way to work, I received word that they were granted their visas…and I cried…I really did.

Throughout this process, since the end of June, mom has never wavered in letting me know how truly grateful they are for EVERYONE’s help in making their only wish come true…that their baby could be helped. That the mere effort she knew so many were putting into trying to help her daughter was a gift in itself. That they could not physically repay us, but that God would.

Airline tickets were purchased on Friday and they are set to arrive on August 25th.
I won’t believe it’s real until I see their smiling faces when we pick them up at the airport that day….

I’m sorry this was so long, but it’s been a journey for me and I wanted to share and ask that you SHARE this page because we are going to need EVERYONE’s help in this. Angelica is a GROWING 9 month old now and they will be here for 4-6 months. With that comes many expenses: diapers, baby food, clothes (winter is coming), housing and not just for her, but her parents too. If you feel so inclined to help, even as little as a $10 from each of you can go a long way. How many jars of baby food is that?? How many diapers would that buy?? NO CLUE HERE, but I know it’s expensive and I need your help!!

If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I hope you will share Angelica’s journey with your family, friends, co-workers and even strangers. We can’t wait to share her progress with you all. Stay tuned as we will be sharing Angelica’s story as it unfolds!  #AngelicasAngels
If you would like to help Angelica, please click HERE.