The bus picked us up this morning at 1030 and we headed back to Casitas Kennedy. Today we wanted to take a group photo as soon as we arrived, but were quickly distracted as the children ran up to us to greet us with big hugs! It was an amazing start to the day! We first took a tour through the casitas. Josaline, the supervisor on duty, escorted us around and explained how the children are divided into houses by age. She first informed us that there are only about 30 children that live at Casitas Kennedy. Typically there are 60-80, but since it's the holidays biological family members pick up the children to spend the holidays with them. It can be the biological parents, aunts, cousins, anyone who is willing to be with the children for the holidays. The children that remain are the children that no one wants which in itself was heartbreaking since we'd just spent a day with the kids and each of them were amazing! How could anyone not want to spend time with this precious kiddos. On the tour the first stop was the home for the teenage girls. They were all inside sitting around a table making bracelets with the gifts we had brought the day before. Scattered all around the house were the mattresses that they were airing out. Since it's the holidays there really is no schedule, but typically the girls go to school in the morning and have some sort of education/training in the afternoon for either cooking, sewing, or crafts.
When we entered the house for children age 2-4 we met a little boy who had arrived last night with his sister. We'll call him E and his sister V. They were the most amazing 2 children. When we first met each of them they were understandably confused, scared, almost catatonic not knowing what was going on. Members from our team really embraced each of them throughout the day and just loved on them. It was almost night and day difference from when we arrived. It's hard to think about what they are going through today and how confused they must be that we're not there.
Next was the baby house where 8 babies live. 5 were up and watching TV and 3 were napping. I'm not even sure how long we stayed in that house and just held the babies, but it was amazing. Next was the birth mother home. There were 5 teen moms (including a 12 year old), that had babies under 12 months of age. The girls were absolutely fantastic. They talked to us and also let us hold their babies. Following the tour we had Wendy's for lunch. We had 150 #1's. I can't even imagine how the staff at Wendy's felt when our Honduran Helper, Juan, showed up with that order! The kids absolutely loved it and even had a second helping!
The most heart wrenching part of the day was when 4 of the teenage girls decided to befriend me. They came over to where I was sitting with some of the younger children and asked me what I do. We started talking about adoption and very matter of fact they told me that they don't have families and want to be adopted. Their understanding of their situation and the vulnerability in their questions really hit me hard. Toward the end of the conversation one girl flat out asked me, "What is the likelihood I'll ever be adopted?" She's 16. She's no longer eligible for international adoption to the US. Her hope now is to be adopted domestically in Honduras before she's 18. How was I supposed to tell her that her chances of having a life beyond the orphanage or have a mom and dad were virtually impossible? What was my answer? "I don't know." Before we left I promised each of the 4 that I would be their Godparent and would send them letters and they could write back to me. Such a simple gesture and they were so excited. How easy would it to send an email for me? I send hundreds of emails a day. What would be the impact of these girls receiving messages from their Godmother in the US even once a week? Priceless.
I want to urge you to consider to do something. Maybe you can't jump on a plane and spend a week in Honduras, but could you be a godparent to one of the orphans at Casitas Kennedy? Would you take a few minutes out of your day to let them know someone is thinking about them? We are beyond fortunate to have a roof over our heads and the guarantee that tomorrow we'll wake up and someone will know that we exist. We can go into our kitchen and there will be food for breakfast and someone to tell us Good Morning. Maybe we don't always like our families or get along with them, but we have someone we can call family which is more than these girls have.
If you want more information on Gladney's humanitarian aid projects or ways you can get involved check out http://ontheirown.org or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Gladney's Service Trips go to http://www.adoptionsbygladney.com/services/family-services-adoptee-trips
Photos from Day 2: