Woman Abandoned as a Baby Reunites With and Forgives Her Father in ‘Story Written by God’
Abandoned by her father when she was a year old, Ileana Quintanilla was raised by her grandparents in Nicaragua. She asked about her father from time to time, but discovered very little, other than his name, Ernesto, and that he lived in a community called La Tejana.
Food for the Hungry
Ileana grew up in a faith-filled family. She wanted to help children in need. “Children are my passion,” Ileana explained. So, as a young adult, Ileana joined Food for the Hungry Nicaragua. Through the Christian organization, she is able to share her Christian faith with the children.
One day Ileana attended a Bible study for staff members at Food for the Hungry. The topic was forgiveness. “I thought that there is someone that I need to forgive in my heart — my father.” From that point on, Ileana dreamed of meeting her father.
Then came the day when Ileana was helping children at the Tejana School write to their sponsors. She met a boy with her last name. When he told her his father’s name and that he was from La Tejana, she knew she’d just met her brother.
Finding Her Father
Ileana wrote her name on the boy’s arm and he ran home to ask his father if he had a daughter. “When my son arrived, he said, ‘Papa, do you have a daughter?’ I asked the Lord for strength to help me know how to talk to her,” said Ernesto. “The only thing I wanted to ask her, ‘Forgive me.'”
Ernesto went to the school, where he met Ileana. She asked him who he was looking for. He told her he was looking for his daughter. “I am your daughter,” she told him. After 20 years apart, father and daughter embraced.
“In that moment, I knew deep in my heart that I forgave my father but didn’t want to tell him,” said Ileana. “I knew in my heart that something new was going to happen.
“Everything happens with a plan and a purpose. And each one of us has a story. A story written by God.”
Ileana stays in contact with her father, her stepmom and brothers and sisters. She is still on staff at Food for the Hungry.