The Day of the Child in Bolivia comes every April 12th. Children receive special treatment and gifts. Schools throw parties. Parents take their kids out for some fun around town. My kiddos love this part of the Bolivian culture.
My thoughts turn to the children we care for at The House of Dreams. Even though the nation has a day dedicated to celebrating youth, hundreds of thousands of little ones live and work on the streets. It was the daily encounter with the reality of their existence that stirred my husband’s heart to do something. We couldn’t sit by and do nothing knowing the hardships of the innocent.
Children start very young helping their parents sell goods at a stand. Others work in the fields on farms. These working children are the lucky ones. You see the tragedy of barefoot kids sent out into the street to juggle, clean windshields, or just beg as the cars whiz by. The coins they earn are taken back to their families. A deeper look at the reality reveals that children are made to perform unspeakable acts to support the ones who bore them. Oftentimes the kids get hooked on huffing glue to escape their difficult lives.
One of the girls who used to live at The House of Dreams was removed from a dangerous home situation. Her mother allowed an abusive boyfriend to stay in their tiny house. When her daughter was taken from her she realized how bad she had let things become. The law in Bolivia prefers that children remain with blood relatives whenever possible. The mother began the legal process to recover her daughter. It took years of meeting specific requirements outlined by the government officials before they would consider returning her daughter to her arms. She had to kick the guy out. She had to prove she could financially support herself and her daughter. She had to file all the proper documents. She had to pass various home inspections. All the while it represented good intentions that she visited her daughter as often as she could at The House of Dreams. Finally the day came that mother and daughter were reunited.
Not long after this happy reunion I was walking through the park near the orphanage and I came upon this mother and daughter. We greeted each other with the traditional kiss on the cheek. The mama explained that they were headed to her work place. That her bosses were gracious enough to let her bring her daughter to her job and teach her how to be a maid too. Her daughter was six at the time.
Both of them looked so happy. The mother had worked so hard to get her daughter back. She values family. She also values work and wants to instill this ethic in her daughter’s life. Any job is a privilege. So they work together. She was quick to add that her daughter only comes to her job with her after school. I hope that it works out for both of them.
The Dreamers, as we call them, find varied destinies around the world. Most who are adopted to families abroad will live prosperous lives. Those who are adopted by Bolivian families will live well in their birth culture. What about those who never get adopted? Those who will grow up as Lifetime Dreamers?
I hope we diverted their destinies. I hope none of them will turn to a life on the streets begging to support an addiction. I hope none of the girls sell their bodies. I hope none of the boys think they have to settle for poverty. I hope that they will pursue as much education as possible. I hope they learn to work and earn a good wage. I hope they dream of having a family of their own.
On this Día del Niño my thoughts turn to their futures when they will no longer be children. What a humbling honor that we can have a part in helping these kids find a new hope and a new life.
One of our girls was rescued from being sold at the border in a child trafficking scam.
One of our boys was found on the floor of a public restroom.
One sibling group was removed from a physically abusive situation.
One of our girls and one of our boys were scooped up during a raid of people living on the streets downtown where a murder took place.
One sibling group hopes to be reunited with their older sisters when they grow up since their parents abandoned all of them when they were much younger.
What would have been their destinies? This question pushes me to work for their well being. This question gives me hope for the well being of Bolivia.
Has your life been marked by change in the course of your destiny? I would love to hear about it. Have you been involved in changing the life of another person? Why not leave a comment and tell us the story.
To follow more stories from The House of Dreams visit our blog: http://houseofdreamsorphanage.wordpress.com/ We update it every couple of days.
To help us change the destinies of the Dreamers why not visit the sponsorship page: http://houseofdreamsorphanage.wordpress.com/sponsor-a-dreamer/ Thanks!