Author’s Note: Our story is still being written. As much as we’d love to share with you the beautiful smile that has captured our hearts, for her protection and privacy we cannot share details or images that would reveal her identity or location. Thank you for your understanding.
Diana was one of Jesus’ lost sheep. Others have more starkly defined her as an abandoned, Roma (gypsy), disabled child – but to Jesus, she was one of the children he referred to in Matthew 18:14 when He said, “it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
Diana was an at-risk child. What she endured the first two years of her life can at best be summed up as a complete lack of love and injustice by broken, sinful people. Yet God’s love shines brightest in the darkest places, and in the cold, stark confines of a hospital crib in Ukraine, Jesus caused her to be found.
Emma Luecke, Co-Founder of One Life Matters, was teaching English at a primary school in western Ukraine when her host requested that she come along to help deliver donations to the local hospital. It was there – in conditions of extreme poverty and neglect – that she met Diana. Within seconds of meeting, God sovereignly spoke and poured His unending love for this little girl into Emma’s heart. Remarkably, Diana was born the exact same month and year that Emma heard God calling her to Europe for the very first time.
Within four months, God miraculously moved mountains for Diana to be released into Emma’s care for a period of three years so she could receive medical treatment abroad. Within just two weeks of living within Emma’s full-time care, Diana stretched out her arms and called her “mama”. She’s been calling her “mommy” ever since. In Berlin, Diana was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
The battle for Diana’s life, her rights, her future – has been long and fierce. Her story is full of complicated and dangerous ties, terrifying and precarious moments — many said it would be impossible to protect her further beyond the three years. Yet God raised up a local hero who would help Emma contend for Diana’s life and future before some of the most influential figures within children’s rights in the nation. And finally, at the end of three years — God delivered her. Psalm 72:4 says, “He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor.” This is Diana’s testimony. Her story is a modern day parting of the red sea – and by His grace, a path is now open for more children in Ukraine to be rescued, restored, and redeemed.