This first appeared on Compassion International’s blog May 12, 2017
Karunia is one of kind in her village. She’s not one of kind because she was the first in the village to be born with Apert syndrome. And she’s not one of kind because she looks different than other little girls her age.
She’s one of a kind because she and her family, without even knowing it, are teaching their community about acceptance and true beauty.
Apert syndrome is a rare congenital disease that affects the structure of the skull and face, as well as the arms and legs. For Karunia, this meant she was born without fingers and toes.
In her remote village of Bongkudai in North Sulawesi, East Indonesia, there are no resources to care for a child with Karunia’s condition. It’s understandable that her parents were uncertain how to handle the situation.
A Protective Father
Karunia’s father Candra works as an unskilled laborer. Neither he nor his wife Angel had access to a quality education. When faced with the news of his newborn baby’s disease, Candra decided to hide the truth from Angel.
“I cried when I saw my baby for the first time. Sad and disappointed is what I felt,” said Candra.
Angel, Karunia’s mother, said, “My husband, parents and all my family members were hiding the real condition of my baby. Anytime they gave my baby to me to breast-feed, they wrapped her in a blanket. She wore gloves and socks so I wasn’t able to see her hands and feet.”
Knowing he couldn’t keep Karunia’s condition a secret forever, Candra asked the pastor from the church to help him deliver the truth.
“My body was shivering upon hearing the confession of my husband. I just cried and wondered why God had entrusted this to me,” Angel said.