I just received news from the orphanage that I wanted to share.
Since last year when I was there, seven new babies have arrived, bringing the total number of children to 91 (including 25 under age 2).
Two are one-month-old twins that were found abandoned in bushes. Another is Gabriella, just four weeks old now. She was found at the bottom of a latrine, believed to have been thrown down the toilet. But the great news is that a local woman from the village where Gabriella was found has stepped forward to adopt her.
They are going through the process and in the meantime, the orphanage is taking care of the baby, taking her to hospital every day for a very serious gash she has on her head. They didn't think she would survive, but this little girl is proving to be quite the fighter!
More good news is that a local board member on the orphanage board is also going through the process to adopt a young boy called Jeramiah. When I first met Jeramiah, it was believed he may be deaf or even autistic. Turns out he was likely just traumatized. He is doing well and this board member has taken a shining to adopting him.
I'm told that Baby Charles, the only baby who is HIV positive, is doing well and is hardly recognizable from when I met him last year. This time last year, he was frail and ill and it was doubtful he would survive. He has gained a lot of weight and is said to be as healthy as can be.
Samwell is another one whose progress I am happy to hear of. He is a 2-year-old who was brought to the orphanage after his parents tried to sell him to a witch doctor. The witch doctor took the child and brought him to police. Samwell's parents have been released from jail, but they have not tried to come for the boy. He is also doing really well and adjusting to his new family.
Right now the youngest children are on holidays from school and for the first time ever many of them have returned to their home villages to stay with family. In doing this, the founders of the orphanage are helping the children to connect with their birth families, which may include aunts, uncles, grandparents who were unable to take on the responsibility of caring for the children. It truly is a great thing for the kids on so many different levels.
Apparently the only one who has been having difficulty with the situation is a little cutie named Sunday Roger, who is nine. I'm not sure what his reason is, but Sunday Roger keeps leaving the village, possibly trying to find his way back to the orphanage! So, they've brought him home to the orphanage. The rest of the kids will stay with their families for a week or so.
The four girls we are supporting in senior levels high school have finished - and passed - their first year and are back at the orphanage for their holidays. Veronica is writing exams today and will be heading to the orphanage for her break next week as well. Their first year is done!
In 2012, we will also start supporting a young man named Oscar. Oscar has a serious bone degenerating disease and has had a tough time finishing his school because he's been in so much pain or missing classes due to surgery. He finally finished his last year in elementary school and is awaiting his results. If he passes, next year he won't go on to senior levels of school, but we will support him in vocational training. He wants to learn to be a lab technician so he can work at the local hospital. Sounds like a great job!
I'm so happy to share this good news with you. Thinking back on how all of us have done so much to support these kids over the last few years. We really are making a difference in their lives. Thank you all for your support.