This is the story of a girl, born to a retarded girl who had been molested at a carnival. Her birth was not expected, for you see, her birth mother's mother had her get an abortion. Thing is, the girl in this story was a twin. It wasn't until the birth mother continued to be pregnant that this became known, whereupon the she was taken to have a second abortion.

This is where the baby's story became known to my friend, Jodi, who was then 26. She found this baby and adopted her. She hadn't been given a name. Jodi named her Taune (pronounced TawNay) Nicole.

Taune was not expected to have any kind of life. The abortion attempts had done irreparable damage. She was going to live as a vegetable, unable to walk or talk.

Or so those 'in the know' thought. They didn't take into account the determination and love of my friend Jodi. When the doctors finally gave up on Taune and when teachers and others gave up on her over and over again, Jodi kept on believing God had a purpose for Taune.

Taune's feet were tied to Jodi's with bungee cords (thereby breaking her own feet twice) in order to teach Taune to walk. And walk she did. In fact, one day she stepped off her mother's feet and bounced across the room!

When the 'experts' felt there was no way for her to learn to communicate, Jodi home schooled Taune. Taune grew up to be quite the note writer! When cell phones came out, she loved being able to text people into the wee hours of the morning.

Taune, like her mother before her, fed and warmed the hungry, gave relentlessly to all whom she knew, and gave and gave in so many ways. Always with unconditional love, forgiveness and the huge smile for which she was known.

Though 4 years ago another doctor said she was severely retarded (with an IQ of 60) and said quite a bit of other discouraging things, Taune joined a group (Masters) in her church where she went through classes to become ordained. It was during one of this group's trips that Taune was killed in an auto accident on the 12th of November, 9 days ago.

At least a thousand people were at her memorial...all touched by the giving spirit and ready smile of this young woman, now 23...forever.

But the story doesn't even end there. Here is just one more thing to prove the value of her life and the way her spirit was so generous: As the story goes, someone who had been a friend years ago--who now lives in Texas--was out on the road and fell asleep at the wheel. He was married and had a baby at home. He called Taune's parents, not having heard about her death, to tell them Taune had come to him and told him to, "Wake up!" This was verified as having happened moments after she was already pronounced dead in Idaho.

So this is to honor Taune Nicole Winter. Please remember her mother Jodi (in Deer Trail, CO) the woman who poured faith and hope and love and generosity into the life of one discarded child and made a difference in the world in which we live.

Teresa

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