This time last year, we were welcoming the Willis family into their new home, The Grace House. In honor of their one year mark, we’d like to share the story behind the choosing of the name “Kay de Gras”. The following was written by Sarah Thacker, an adoptive mother who recently took a trip to COTP to visit the place her son was cared for.
“My husband, Dave, and I are the proud parents of five kids, the youngest is Reese who we adopted from Children of the Promise. He is delightful and brings our family great joy. As we have gotten to know COTP’s heart for the poor, the oppressed,and the orphan, we yearn to partner with COTP to bring hope to Haiti and share Christ’s love.
The United States and Haiti on the outside seem like polar opposites. We have abundant resources in about every area and Haiti has so little. But, this year, I found a strong resemblance between the two worlds: love for a baby, love for life, and the deep regard for any life God has created.
The more I get to know COTP, it is easy to see their unwavering commitment to any child or person who crosses their path. The same commitment was demonstrated to us in the U.S. by our friends, Mike and Annie. They went to their typical 20 week ultrasound excited to see the baby they would add to their family in May. Already having two boys, they were thrilled to find out they were having twin girls. They were beyond ecstatic, but their joy was short-lived as the ultrasound tech saw something wrong. Within minutes they learned that their girls were joined together and shared one heart.
While devastated, they had an unwavering commitment to do whatever they could for their girls. Shortly after finding out, they named the girls, Ayana Grace and Ayla Grace. They sought out numerous medical opinions and different hospitals. They were repeatedly told the same thing: “The girls have less than a 1% chance of survival.” They were strongly encouraged by many different doctors to terminate the pregnancy. The medical community could not wrap their heads around why Annie and Mike would want to continue the pregnancy.
Mike and Annie explained it in their Caring Bridge post, “We do not need to decide when life begins, but accept what God has already shown, that life begins before birth. It is impossible to take a life before birth and be justified. WE CHOOSE LIFE.”
Annie continued in her pregnancy, having a pregnancy photo shoot, enjoying the girls moving inside her, meanwhile planning for their birth, life, and death. Dresses and booties were made, hair accessories bought, hand molds purchased, lists made. They thought of everything.
At 34 weeks, Annie’s water broke. Ayana Grace and Ayla Grace Alt were born March 31st and lived for a beautiful and miraculous 33 minutes. Mike and Annie will cherish those 33 minutes forever.
Fast forward to late May, Dave and I were holding a fundraiser to benefit COTP’s building project. Mike and Annie gave a generous donation in memory of Ayla and Ayana. While holding that check in my hands, I was stunned by the similarities in the way that Mike and Annie honored life and how Children of the Promise honors life every day.
The first family-like home built in Haiti for kids to live in a family-like setting was named in memory of the girls, The Grace House.”
The Grace House today…
We feel blessed by the funds people have given towards their support of our new model of care for our babies here at COTP. We couldn’t be more thankful for the joy, humor, guidance, wisdom, silliness, and friendship that the Willis family has shown to the children in their home and the community around them.
Thank you for a great year Willis family!