Barbara Marlowe of Cleveland, Ohio is one of the kindest people we’ve ever encountered. When she heard about a child in Iraq whose face had been horribly burned, she knew she had to do something to help. This is a story of kindness and helping one another.
Teeba suffered second and third degree burns to her head and face in 2007. However, when Barbara saw a picture of her in the newspaper, she knew she had to help.
“Teeba’s eyes were so compelling, it was as if they were saying ‘help me’,” Barbara said. “It was a giant leap of faith. [Teeba’s mom is] releasing her daughter to someone that she’s never met.”
But, it all worked out for the best. Barbara lined up top surgeons and filled out the visa applications, and Teeba was soon her adopted daughter. It really helped the young girl to accept herself.
“Love teaches you that there are definitely a lot of things you have to sacrifice,” Teeba said. She still remembers the bomb, despite being very young at the time. “I remember for a brief moment there was a very very bright light.” She amazingly survived the blast, but her confidence was burned as well as her skin. “I always told my parents that I wanted a wig because I didn’t want the kids to make fun of me.”
But, moving to America did wonders for her. “I definitely felt very safe and very loved. From the moment I stepped off the plane into America everyone just wanted to help me.”
Teeba underwent an incredible 19 surgeries, and while she still bears the scars of her past, she looks like a new woman. And most of all, she thanks her new mom Barbara for giving her a new chance after being so badly burned.
“I remember just crying because I never thought I would hear those words, hear somebody call me mom,” Barbara said. She and her husband Tim couldn’t have children, so Teeba was the child they’d never had. “It always bittersweetweet, because even though I was her American mom, I knew she had another mom.”
However, in 2015 Barbara arranged for Teeba to see her Iraqi mom again. It had been nearly 10 years since the mother and daughter had seen each other.
“Her mom and I never felt we were competing against each other for her,” said Barbara. “It felt like the most natural thing ever, we both loved the same girl.”
Teeba feels incredibly lucky that she has two moms who love her so much. “Both my moms are moms. There’s no fake mom/real mom. There’s no birth mom/raising mom. It’s just mom and mom.”
Let us know what you think of this heartwarming and inspirational story in the comments, and share with your friends and family. You can check out similar stories on Happiest, such as this one about about a girl visiting her mom in hospital.