This month we are highlighting global orphan care and our blog story comes from Phil Darke who is the Director of Providence World and the Global Orphan Care Leader for the Regional Alliance. Providence World is focused on providing education in best practices for orphan care, and they operate a family-based orphan care community in Honduras called La Providencia. Here is the powerful story of one young boy who was taken into the La Providencia program. Ernesto (pictured above in the yellow shirt) was taken in by Mario and Beatriz, a Honduran couple who have agreed to parent abandoned and orphaned children through spiritual adoption at La Providencia. While the following account comes directly from the La Providencia staff, Ernesto’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.
"About a year ago we started the process of adoption for Ernesto. This meant we had lots of paperwork to submit to the judge’s office which took months. (He first needed) to be declared as an abandoned child so he could be a candidate for adoption. A few months later, the judge’s office called and said Ernesto could be adopted but that we had to continue the adoption process. The next step was a psychological evaluation from the IHNFA (the government institution in charge of adoptions).
Several staff members went with Ernesto to Tegucigalpa for the evaluation and were interviewed about La Providencia. After a while the psychologist informed us that she needed to do a 1-on-1 session with Ernesto. They were in the office for about 30-40 minutes and afterward asked to interview one of La Providencia’s Directors, Marco.
He went into the office and saw Ernesto smiling. The INHFA psychologist asked Marco who Ernesto lived with, who he grew up with at La Providencia, and other questions that he thought she might have already asked Ernesto. Confused, Marco asked her, ‘Did Ernesto work well with you? Did he cooperate?’ She said, ‘Yes, of course’, but kept asking him things that Marco thought Ernesto would´ve already answered.
After a few more questions, Marco asked her how Ernesto did on his evaluation. She answered with a smile on her face, ‘In all the time I´ve been here, I´ve asked kids to draw who they live with and none of them drew what Ernesto did.’ She then pulled out a piece of paper and there was Ernesto's family: Mom (Beatriz), Dad (Mario), and his brothers and sisters. He even drew La Providencia’s dog, Limber.”
Ernesto drew a picture of his family. The huge smile on his face that day was evidence of the joy that came from being wanted. Adoption is not culturally encouraged or accepted in many foreign countries, yet evidence shows children need the intimacy of a family, not just the resources of an orphanage. Thanks to Mario and Beatriz’s commitment to parent children whom others rejected, Ernesto now knows his identity and inherent value.