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Meet Cristina and Carlos, a married couple who care for sick children

FAMILIAS ACOGIDA

INFINITO MÁS UNO | YouTube

Dolors Massot - published on 01/09/21

After meeting with tragedy, this generous pair opened their homes and hearts to children in need.

Cristina and Carlos are a Catholic couple from Madrid who have a large family. Along the way, they’ve met tragedy, which opened their hearts to greater generosity.

Pedro, their eighth child, was born with malformations of the lungs, heart and brain, and had no eyes. “His life expectancy was very short and every day of life was a gift, and we lived it that way,” explains Cristina in a video (in Spanish) by the Infinity Plus One (“Infinito Más Uno”) Foundation.

Sick children without families

Because of Pedro’s condition, Cristina and Carlos had to continuously come and go from the ICU. The many times they stayed at the hospital made them aware of another phenomenon: sick children who lacked a father and a mother.

They began to spend time with these children. Through these encounters, they discovered Bethlehem House (“Casa Belén”), a home for children with disabilities run by the Daughters of Charity.

FAMILIAS ACOGIDA
INFINITO MÁS UNO | YouTube | Fair Use

Cristina and Carlos discovered that their hearts were made to welcome more children into their family.

A vocation within the vocation of marriage

Pedro was very much loved during his short life — he died at the age of five. But that experience in the hospital continued to make an impression on Cristina and Carlos.

“We saw that we had been born with the vocation of caring for children with illnesses that would force them to be hospitalized and alone, and who did not have the love of their parents,” Cristina says. “We had to do more,” she tells Infinity Plus One.

FAMILIAS ACOGIDA
INFINITO MÁS UNO | YouTube

Peter was their eighth son.

Javier

There began a new stage for Cristina and Carlos. At Bethlehem House, “we took a course on [taking in children] and they gave us our son, Javier.”

Javier had been born very prematurely, at 27 weeks. “He had suffered a stroke, heart surgery, an ileostomy … and from the first day we took him in, Javi began to change. He has just turned 5 years old and what matters is that he is a very happy child.”

Little Claudia

The family was then asked to take in a girl with microcephaly, Claudia, who “was sicker than Javi.” Carlos took her to the family home every day and brought her back every night to Bethlehem House until one day they finally took her to their home for good.

Tragically, she died after just three days with their family. They had to face the question: Was this too much to ask of their other children?

“We’re not afraid of death. We’re afraid of the pain that remains afterwards,” they say in the video. They’re aware that this might make their children sad. Carlos explains, however, that if the family feels sad, it’s “because we have loved [the children we take in], and if we have loved them, that’s something each of those children notices.”

“They may be very sick and seem to be unaware of [that love], but they do notice it,” he says. The fruits of love make the suffering worthwhile.

The couple clarifies that Bethlehem House provides excellent care. The love and warmth of a family home is special, however, and does these children a great deal of good. “There is no child who, no matter how sick he or she is, does not notice love and is not better off in a family,” they both say.

Their faith makes them grateful to God for this vocation. Cristina says, “There’s nothing special about us; we aren’t different from others. We are very sinful, very small, very prone to anger, very ready to fight, very everything. And yet, God wanted to give us that gift.”

Carlos confesses: “I am very lazy … but I have discovered one thing: When I am happiest is when I am serving my children … and especially when I am taking care of these sick children.”

The generosity of this family is admirable. May more of us “nothing special” souls be given such a beautiful gift!




Read more:
Samuel’s love-filled 177 days outside the womb with Trisomy 18




Read more:
Hospice Babies ‘R Us: Family Cares for Little Ones With Short Lives

Tags:
Acts of KindnessDisabilitiesInspiring storiesMarriage
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