My heart was stolen the moment I walked into the orphanage. Except, stolen is a negative word. My heart was not taken without consent. In fact I quite eagerly handed over my heart to these beautiful, sweet, kind, loving, special and perfect children. I want to introduce you and remind myself later to/of them.
I loved each of these children before I met them. I was so excited to come and to give of my time to help serve them. But, in all actuality it is they who have served me. I have been here one week and I have learned more about myself the qualities I possess, the qualities I lack and those I want to develop than in all 20 years of my life. I have learned what it means to be shown real love by children who are so eager to give it. They don't hesitate to run up and hug you. They don't shy away from a quick kiss on the cheek, wrapping their hand around your finger or just looking at you with love in their eyes. They have been a tremendous blessing to me and I cannot wait for the next 7 weeks.
Each child has a story. Each child was found, taken or given up from/by their parents. Some were found in horrible circumstances; abandoned on a railroad track, dumpster or side of the road. Others were taken from abusive, unfit or overly neglecting parents. And some were given up they day they were born because the parents would be unable to provide a suitable life for these kids.
You never know the circumstances of the parents and their reasoning for doing what they did. And I find it near impossible to judge them. However, it is their loss because all the children here are treasures.
Sala Uno: Newborn-6 months. It's really hard not to be emotional when you are working with these sweet, sweet babies. My heart breaks when a worker insists I prop their bottle as opposed to feeding them in my arms. These cute little kids need love and that human to human connection. It almost makes me angry when I realize the fact that some of these babies fall asleep better after having their bottle propped than in your arms. On the other hand, I am filled with such love, peace and happiness when I look into their eyes and know the potential that these babies have. I am holding future Policemen, Businessmen, Teachers, Mothers, Fathers and Politicians in my arms. They do not start out on the same playing field as the rest of us, but they will do great things. I know it.
|This boy does two things... eat and sleep. Ha|
|He's teeny tiny! So little! So sweet!|
|Bundled up in layers upon layers!|
|She's so cute.|
|Brand new baby boy! :) Look at that hair!|
|The picture doesn't do this guy justice! He's teeny!!|
|This little boy has a smile that can light up the room.|
A couple other things about Sala Uno... they can't talk but are so full of personality. They don't hesitate to pee, poop or spit up ALL over you. But, the thing is... you just don't care! :)
Sala Dos: 6 Months-around a year (when they can walk). They can't walk, or talk and yet they aren't quite infants. They aren't high maintenance and don't ask you to run around with them in the yard. Instead all they ask is for a little attention and encouragement. Encouragement to sit up, roll over and eventually walk. A reassuring smile as their bum hits the floor after taking their first steps. Like all the children here they ask for love. And as soon as you walk into that room and see them looking up at you love is not hard to give.
|I love him. Talk about adorable...|
|He's teeny! When he got to the orphanage he was really malnourished...|
His tummy is back to a good size but his legs are TWIGS! :) So cute!
|This dude just moved up from Sala Uno. He's like the HAPPIEST baby alive.|
|A smile cute enough to kill ya! ;)|
|My little angel!|
|Putting on shoes! :)|
|She's got a smile that will stop you in your tracks too! So sweet!|
|He's a sweetheart. But, he has something wrong with his back. He arches it|
and it's painful. It's one of the hardest things to see. It looks painful. But, he
loves to be held. And he WILL fall asleep on you!
|I was over Sala Dos this picture day... Just chillin' in the ball pit.|
|I love them!!!|
|Earrings and hair... not fun around babies! :)|
|<3 My little man!|
|Such a sweet girl!|
|He's quiet... but, he loves a lap to sit in!|
|Do they come any happier/cuter?!!|
Sala Tres: These kids are 1year(walking)- about 2 years or whenever they are walking really well and starting to talk for themselves. (After this they move to Casas. That means they go live with about 6 other kids (ages 2-16) in an apartment with a full-time "mom." They are adorable. They are so sweet. They run up and give you hugs. When you walk in their room in the morning all of them are standing (poop covered) in their cribs yelling "Hola Chicas! Hola!" And even though the smell is the first thing that your senses notice, their faces and smiles are the only thing that matters. They love hugs. They love kisses. They love food. And sopa (a homemade baby food... blended, chicken and vegetables) some like... others hate. I love these kids. Really, nothing makes me smile more than knowing that I am doing something to make their young lives better. They love without restraint, forgive immediately and need someone to love them. And like the other two Salas... it's emotional. These kids will do extraordinary things. They have learned to live in a situation that I would not wish on anyone. But, despite the fact that they are surrounded by 10 brothers and sisters all their own age, eating the same thing for lunch/dinner every day (with little variation) or without a mom and dad to love them unconditionally they are happy. They are kind. And they, for the next two months are, without any restraint, mine to love.
|He loves to be hugged and will run up and hug your legs if you get close. :)|
|This boy is an ANGEL. He's getting adopted THIS WEEK!!!!|
|Beautiful baby model status?|
|She can be a little whiny... but when she smiles... :)|
|He's BEING ADOPTED THIS WEEK TOO! :))) He's so cute!|
And... side note.. he can throw a temper and make his body
shake just like one of my little brothers used to! (Who will not be named). :)
|Most of Sala Tres... and Mikele! :)|
|In the Sala Tres playroom... where the majority of their day is spent. :/|
|He reminds me of Blake. Right now he is transitioning up to Casas! We(and he is too) |
are sad to see him go!
|He's a sweet heart! :) He sleeps with Sala Dos but plays with Tres! He's getting|
ready to move up permanently.
|Mikele and Sala Tres. Brandi is in the background doing what we have learned|
to do best... wiping noses!
|Just chillin' in the actual play bin!|
|Taking the kids from Sala Tres who can walk the best... on a walk!|
I love them in their hats. I love how they walk. I love taking them!
|He is adorable. I call him Grandpa. Cause he kinda looks like a Grandpa! :)|
|Mikele, A, F, J, A, Brandi, J, S and McCall! :)|
|Is she cute or what?!|
|Those hats... that look, those lips, eyes, skin ah! He's adorable! The sad thing is,|
the darker you are here the harder it is to find work when you are older. And,
most people don't want a dark skinned baby. Even though he is beautiful!
|He's being adopted within the next few months. Which is sad... I want him!|
Well, I would take any of them if I could. But, he's my bud!
|Just hangin' out... in those hats. Ha|
|The 6 best walkers!|
|See! How cute?!|
|They love to sit at the fence and watch the cars go by. Oh... and food. Ha|
|His cute little hands! He's got a really sweet smile too!|
|One of our last walks with this cute boy!|
|She is so funny when she gets a little hyper! She will wrap her arms around|
your neck in the morning and just hang there. Let go, laugh and smile!
|Don't mind me. I'm just modeling for baby gap.|
|Watching the cars, the people and seeing the world! :)|
|The workers call him "Blancito." Because he's really white. Those cute teeth!|
|Not my best picture. But he looks cute! :)|
|A nice head bonk. He was looking right before this. (He is the one who is|
transitioning from Dos to Tres). His shirt is different because he got the other
|One of the boys being adopted this week. We call him stitch. But, look|
how easy it would be to love that little face!!!
|Literally, the sweetest woman alive, Sor Christina.|
|Not sure if this is a model pic... but that is the face he makes about... 90% |
of the time. It cracks me up!!
|Those eyes, that nose, smile, ears and those adorable kissing cheeks!|
|The littlest Diva. :)|
|Feeding him Sopa.|
|And after his walk and snacks... he is NOT having it! We have to feed this to|
each kid in Sala Dos and Tres every evening for dinner... and it can be a battle.
|Playing in the yard. Talk about a kissable face?!|
|Look at how cute he is?!|
|Running around the yard. :)|
|What an angel! :) They all are though!|
|This girl... she's a heartbreaker for sure. :)|
|My first and only picture with him because he leaves this WEEK!! :)|
Each room is filled with individually, unique children. They are all good at something. They are all capable of doing amazing things. These children may not have families. But, they have volunteers who readily put their heart up for grabs. These kids are loved and will remain loved, remembered and cherished by many for the rest of their lives. It is hard to fathom the amount of inherent talent these young people hold and will share with the world. Through the sweat, tears, poop, smiles and laughs my time here has been well spent. I am forever thankful and grateful to those who helped make it happen and the wonderful children who have blessed my life more than they will ever know.
I LOVE THEM.