An East Tennessee missionary looked past a baby's cleft palate to see her beautiful smile. Now a formerly childless couple is working on adopting her.
(WBIR-Rockford) An East Tennessee couple who loves children but never had any of their own found a special baby in a far off country.
"From the very beginning it's been a God thing," LeAnne West said.
A woman whose a member of Rockford Baptist Church went to Nicaragua this spring. It was a mission trip to build an addition for a children's home, or orphanage.
"We did this room with coke bottles, just plastic coke bottles filled with sand," she explained.
Something else would soon fill her heart. LeAnne West held a little baby there.
"My construction ended when I met Yomari because all I wanted to do was to hold her and play with her and walk her and it was just a blessing in disguise," she said.
LeAnne looked past the baby's cleft palate to see her beautiful smile.
"From then on it was all about me and her having this connection," she said.
As the week long mission trip was winding down, Yomari's mother approached a translator to speak with LeAnne. And LeAnne confided that even though she's helped care for her niece, she and her husband of 27 years can't have children of their own.
"She said I want you to have my child and only you can have her. And the big crocodile tears come flowing and I just couldn't speak," she remembered.
When she could speak she called her husband Sam back in Seymour.
"She was crying and I thought there was something wrong with her. I said are you ok? What's wrong?" Sam West said.
LeAnne told him a women in Nicaragua wanted them to adopt her child.
"She said what should I do? And I said bring her home. And I had no idea it was a 'her' I just said bring her home," he said.
LeAnne returned to Nicaragua a few weeks later to get Yomari and start the paperwork for adoption and a medical visa.
"I do believe that the mother knew that she would get better care in the United States," she said.
The family has a consultation scheduled in mid-July with the Shriners Hospital in Cincinnati.
"The man across the street from me we just found out that he's a Shriner and he is insisting that he is driving us there," she said.
Doctors will perform a series of operations top repair Yomari's lips and palate.
"I know God has already wrapped his hands around her and myself and my family that she's going to be just fine," she said.
Sam said, "I feel complete now because we have a family now. I feel complete and content."