The Mosquito Baby

Who would have believed that a mosquito baby could become the miracle girl? She was born with three strikes against her.  As a preemie in a country with substandard medical care, it’s a wonder she survived those first weeks.  Her poverty-stricken family had few resources to spare.  And, just when it seemed that things couldn’t get worse, her daddy abandoned the family.

Her mother, Wilna, was now destitute and homeless. She barely scratched out a living plucking chickens at a restaurant.  By now Wilna’s preemie was two years old—pitifully small, and covered with mosquito bites that had become infected, scarring her body with hideous bumps.  Some folks figured that the chicken plucker’s child was under a voodoo curse.

When life was at its darkest, Andre and Angie Forges came to the rescue.  Their growing orphanage needed a cook, and Wilna was desperate for a lifeline of hope. Her misshapen two-year-old was a curiosity, and then an object of derision. The orphans gave her the cruel nickname, Mosquito Baby. Orphans are hurting kids, and hurting people hurt people.  So, the preemie got a lot of hurt thrown at her. She grew up hearing the catcalls: “Skinny!”  Stick Girl!”  “Boney!”  “Pygmy!” “Mosquito Baby!” Maybe that’s why she hid behind her mother’s skirts or spent hours alone with books in some secret hiding place.

When she was nine-years-old, Mosquito Baby drank contaminated water from a rusty pipe.  She got violently sick and hovered near death for weeks. When Andre sent out an S.O.S., people across America and Canada prayed for her healing. The girl who was already skin and bones wasted away to almost nothing. Yet, she miraculously survived. It seemed that nothing could kill the preemie known as Mosquito Baby!”

Two years ago, this amazing overcomer joined High school seniors from across Haiti to sit for her nation’s equivalent of the SAT tests.  To the shock of the nation’s educators, this product of a small orphanage earned the second highest score in her entire country!  The preemie who started out with three strikes against her, hit a grand slam home run that day.  You won’t hear Yvena Jean-Baptist being called Mosquito Baby anymore.  More likely folks whisper, “Here comes that miracle girl.”

Today, the statuesque beauty walks into a room with quiet confidence.  When asked the secret to her success, she is quick to credit a mom’s love.  It’s no wonder that Wilna is everyone’s favorite housemother at the Place of Hope.  Yvena also recognizes that the difficulties of childhood drove her to hiding places where she studied books and dreamed of bigger things.  Her childhood fight for survival forged a grit and determination that makes her a sure winner.

Most of all.  She remembers how often Angie Forges enveloped her in hugs, smothered her with kisses, and soothed away hurts with assurances that she was not Mosquito Baby, but a chosen child of God. She also praises Andre with being the father she never had, and for giving her a heaping helping of hope when things seemed darkest. 

This first-year college student aspires to be the founder and CEO of a nonprofit organization that will transform her nation of Haiti.  Lyrics from a song in an old Walt Disney film bring a smile to her face: “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you.”  She proves that miracles can still happen.  They happen every day at The Place of Hope. Surely, Yvena would like to thank all of Andre and Angie’s generous partners for making hers another of the many Stories of Hope.