Crossville child reunited with family after being abandoned in Mexico

1:23 AM, Feb 9, 2013   |    comments
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For three years, Christy Hawks missed her granddaughter Macy who lived in Mexico.  But she didn't fear for her safety, until she got a tip.

"When we talked to her mother she would tell us she was outside or with a neighbor or with a boyfriend," Hawks, a Crossville resident, said.

Nine months ago, she learned Macy was not with her mother and a ward of the Mexican government.  

"I didn't have any idea," Hawks said, who cares for Macy's 3 other siblings.

Macy was living in an orphanage in Guadalajara with 400 other children. Mexican authorities placed her there after they found her abandoned and living alone when she was barely 4 years old.

"They found her alone with her puppy dog. Macy says she was alone 3 days but we don't know it could have been much longer," said Director of Cumberland Children's Center- House of Hope, Denise Melton.

Hawks called House of Hope when she found the government couldn't help her go get Macy out of the orphanage. But even Melton thought it was impossible to bring Macy home.

"I felt very very inadequate to pull this off. But in my heart there was not a doubt that this had to happen. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't," Hawks said.

Hawks and Melton said Macy was abandoned by her mother, Leah Neely, and her mother's Mexican boyfriend, Gabriel Duran. They said the couple is still in Mexico and wanted by the government.

Melton started an email chain to raise money to go to Mexico.

"The only thing I had on my side was that I am not a quitter. I am persistent," Melton said.

Within three days she said people in Cumberland County donated enough money to travel to Mexico. She enlisted attorneys, the US Consulate in Mexico, even a human trafficking expert to help. But she says it was the Grace of God that allowed them to go get Macy.

"We did the impossible here," she said.

Melton, Hawks, and the human trafficking expert who served as a translator traveled to the orphanage.

"She just ran to me, put her arms around me. And I don't think I let her go except maybe for a few minutes to take some pictures," said Hawks.

She said she hasn't let her go since. Macy has been home three weeks now. She speaks little english and is fluent in Spanish. But she is going to school and picking it up quickly.

Hawks said she's enjoying being pampered and hanging out with her siblings.  They communicate through Google translator.

"She loves pretty things. They had uniforms that they had to wear," she said.  

Macy says she doesn't want to go back to the orphanage.

"She tells us, 'Mexico no,'" Hawks said. 

Her grandmother promises Macy, she's not going anywhere.

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