Joni’s House is a Lifeline for Mother with Two Disabled Sons

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR — Esmerelda’s pregnancy was typical and uneventful, but while carrying her son, she was a victim of domestic violence. Esmerelda worried that the abuse she suffered at her husband’s hand would cause their new baby to be born with a disability. At five months, Kevin was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. When their second son Jairo was born five years later, he was also diagnosed with a disability. Esmerelda’s husband quickly abandoned their family and she struggled to meet her sons’ growing needs as a single mom. How could she ever afford two wheelchairs and physical therapy when she can barely put food on the table? Trusting God to care for their needs, Esmerelda discovered Joni’s House El Salvador and the help only God’s family could give.

Esmerelda SerranoSan Salvador, El Salvador:

My first child Kevin, it was a normal pregnancy. No problem whatsoever. But I had problems with the father. He would hit me. So we thought the child would be born with a disability because of the beatings.

When he was born everything was okay. But after five months he had strabismus. So we took him to hospital to see if he had a disability and he did. We prayed for five years to be able to get pregnant again. We took care of ourselves had all kinds of tests done. The doctors said there was no chance of having another disabled child. So I got pregnant.

When we were under treatment all was fine. The pregnancy was good. His birth was a little difficult because he was upside down. So they took him away for 15 minutes and they told me the child was fine.

No problem whatsoever. But after 15 days he started shaking just like his brother. So he was hospitalized and I spoke to the doctor.

I said ‘I think the child has a disability just like his brother.’

He said ‘No, ma’am, you are not mentally well. You think that because your first child has a disability your second child also has one.’ They didn’t listen to me. And then he was sent to the physiotherapists because he did have a disability. When I told my husband he said ‘You and that child are not fit for me. You are dead to me because I asked God for a healthy son not a second one with a disability.’

We spoke to the doctors and they said it was my husband’s choice if he wants to stay and help the kid with rehab, great. If he doesn’t you fight to get through. Sometimes I am told ‘I am sorry for you, ma’am. For you and your children.’

I say ‘Why? My kids and I are getting by with God’s help. I don’t feel sad. I am excited to be their mother. God has allowed me to take care of two kids like them.’

I am a fighting woman – to keep them going. And for as long as God lets me, I do so.

For me and my children, Joni’s House is so very important because they give us help that nobody else gives us, only Joni’s House can. We felt the moral support and the emotional support. Not only the fact that they were praying for us but when we needed real help with food, help with the wheelchairs, they’ve helped us. For us and many people it’s incredible what you do. I mean God has put a ministry to help many families pull through.

Many of us don’t have money to buy a chair and you gave both of my children a wheelchair. When we came in my sons were so happy. They kept asking ‘Mom is this our house?’ Kevin and Jairo asked.

‘Look mom our house is so pretty.’ I said ‘Yes son you’re right.’

I thank God for this family He’s given us. This is not a house, it’s a family.

Read more news on Disability, Christian Ministry and Humanitarian Services.

About Joni and Friends

For 40 years, Joni and Friends has provided the hope of the Gospel and practical resources to people affected by disability around the globe. Ministry programs include Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, the Christian Institute on Disability, and church ministry training. Joni and Friends also delivers inspirational media such as the Joni and Friends radio program and podcasts. To find out more, please visit

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