Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Conclusion to Mexico Postings. For Now.

They're just kids. Kids who can REALLY play soccer.
Husband and I spent Sunday evening, Monday, and yesterday in Boy#3's "new" house. We cleaned and painted and scrubbed and rearranged and Husband was a total lumberjack when it came to clearing out the scrubby 15-foot trees that had grown up into the landscaping.

Three could not have been more appreciative. "I've been here for the past week, and it was fine, but what you've done in the past couple of days really turned it into a home," he told us.

The whole time we were working I had the eerie feeling that I was going to turn around and run into my own mother. She's been gone for more than three years now, but this was her role when I was single and moving into a new place: Mom would clean, rearrange the traffic patterns of the living room so they made sense, add a plant in just the right place, warn me about the tricky cupboard door, etc., and when she left the house felt like home.

It occurred to me as we worked that the children at Children's Haven International never had this in their lives until became part of the CHI family. They're here mostly because they were in intolerable family situations--a few are orphans or abandoned, but most were in families that simply couldn't take care of their children either because of addictions or economics.

There are the four brothers who were removed from the jail cell of their mother. They had been in that cell with her so long that they spoke neither Spanish nor English; they communicated with each other in their own gibberish. They also weren't toilet trained, couldn't sit on a chair, didn't know how to drink out of a glass. Today you wouldn't be able to pick them out of the 53 healthy, happy kids at CHI.

There is the young man whose mother didn't complete sixth grade and could not make enough money to care for her children so she brought them to CHI a decade ago--he's now in his second year of dentistry school and living in the house for university boys.

And of course, there are Carolina, and Dulce, and Dan, and I could go on and on.

I've never been a person to send money to the big-eyed waifs in child sponsorship programs, but I'm signing up to sponsor a child through CHI. The link is on their web page if you would like to join me.  I can quote scientific studies that show child sponsorship is an effective means of changing a child's future (the story is long but the bottom line is this--the money is less important than the child's relationship with the donor, because that relationship gives hope) but I don't really care about the science.

I just know that there are kids in this world whose mother couldn't provide the love and stability my mother provided for me, the love and stability I hope I'm passing along to my own children. I want those kids out there to know I'm rooting for them, and if I can send that message for $25 a month, it's a bargain. If you decide you want to do the same, tell Betsy that MomQueenBee sent you.

It's even easier than cleaning a stove or rearranging furniture.

The End. Or at least the end of this chapter. 

This is not an official statement from Children's Haven International. If I've made mistakes in information, they're my own, and not those of CHI. However, I asked permission before writing any posts or publishing any pictures of their residents and activities. I paid for my own trip to the facility, and was compensated in hugs and smiles from adorable kids.

Updated: Oh, hey! I'm catching up on my behind-the-curve blog reading and Swistle, who I like to think of as the younger, hipper version of me (she just recoiled in horror) wrote about this very subject just a few days ago! I'm in the "a cup of water in Jesus' name" camp and she's in the "not if it's faith-based" camp, so she has some different suggestions, but we used the same scientific research. That means it must be true.

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