Recently, we’ve been able to re-connect with an orphanage about five minutes from our house. The kids are starting to know who we are, that we’ll be back, and they’re falling into patterns of warm greetings and hugs as we pull into the parking lot.
One little guy, Ezequiel, normally beats all the other children to run and wrap around my leg when I get out of the car. These kids are starving for love and attention, so we do our best to look them in the eyes when they speak to us, introduce them to new games, and show them that they are each valuable in our eyes. These little ones can be pretty easy to please.
The teenagers in the orphanage tend to keep at a distance for a while longer. We see them wondering about their identity outside the orphanage, thinking about where they’ll go when they reach 18 and have to move out. In an effort to better connect with these guys, we invited four of them over for pizza and ping-pong.
Chero, Gustavo, Marcelo and Neuwell were super excited when I went to pick them up. I was reminded of high school as we smacked the ping-pong ball around the garage and they made fun of each other. At the dinner table, we heard each boy’s reluctant story of abuse, family splits, running away, drug addictions, and death. I was overwhelmed by how much they have each overcome and the long road still ahead.
We always want them to know that they have an “aunt” and “uncle” nearby who believe in them and desire for them to break the cycles that have trapped their parents and grow in their relationship with God. We are challenged and blessed as we spend time with these groups of children and teens and would love to train others who are willing to come alongside us.