As we approach the New Year, we find ourselves reflecting on the year past, looking ahead, and making new year resolutions. For many of us the New Year means another chance to get it right, a ‘do over’, or a new beginning. So it only feels right, as we enter 2014 to share this story of hope with you. As you step into 2014, I pray that it is a year full of new hope and dreams fulfilled…
A new beginning for a father and his children.
Meteges and Habtamu, aged 6 and 4, were brought to Grace by local Woman Affairs. They were reported having been found at the local soccer stadium. They were alone, scared and apprehensive to talk to anyone. Habtamu had a bad eye problem that meant that he could hardly see. He also had a sore knee and walked with a limp.
Grace Centre was asked to care for Meteges and Habtamu temporarily until family could be found or other arrangements could be made. Two helpless small children, how could we say no?
Meteges began to feel safe and spoke about her family. She had a father and knew where he lived.
Worku (Grace Social Worker), Kate (Grace Volunteer) and others went to Meteges’ home. They found a neighbour, the lady who first brought the children to Women Affairs. At that moment, we realised that Meteges and Habtamu were not lost, but were left.
As the story unraveled, we found out that the well meaning neighbour had brought the children to Woman Affairs reporting them abandoned, to remove the ‘burden’ from the single father. The father who had come home to find an empty house, started searching for his lost children. He had grown weary and sick with worry.
When Grace met with him months after the children first came to Grace, their father was so relieved to know his children were healthy and well, but he was not well enough to care for his children. He committed to having the children live with him once he was well.
It was obvious that their father could not do this alone.
He needed help to get his family back together.
Several months later when dad was healthy, Grace Centre relocated him to a house that was close to Grace, complete with a home kit and all he would need to care for his children. Meteges and Habtamu, having been meeting with him regularly in the process of reunification, where excited about being a family again. With a celebration and goodbye party, they left their friends at Grace Children’s Home and moved into their new home near Grace. Meteges started at After School Care and started her school year in her new school. Habtamu started at Big Day Care and went on to start school.
Today, whenever we visit with Meteges and Habtamu, their smiles are so bright and tell a story of SUCCESS and HOPE for a future they thought was lost.
Orphan prevention and keeping families together.
Poverty does not justify a child being left without a family.
As much as it has been a struggle and discouraging at times to have an ongoing battle to get our orphanage licence approval, we have had the privilege and delight to have victories in reunification’s.
In the past 12 months, Grace has been able to reunify many children with their families, as well as be able to care for many children temporarily.
There are many times we find family and extended family for children that have been placed in our care. It takes much time and resources to track down families and counsel and spend time with families through the process of reunification.
Please continue to pray for Grace in this. If you would like to support Grace in reunifications and all that Grace Centre does in keeping families together, please go to one of Grace sites www.gracecentres.org, www.gracecenterfoundation.org,and give through the links provided.
Thank you for being a part of this amazing journey in changing families lives! May 2014 see many more lives changed, and families reunified and equipped!