Sunday, March 6, 2016

Calvin

Almost 2 years ago, on March 25, 2014, we accepted a referral of Calvin, a missing child that had been picked up for loitering. Since he was old enough to give us info, we had him help with finding his way back to where he came from. That would have worked out well except as we started to trace his story he had no interest in helping. Matter of fact, he tried to sabotage all our efforts. He took us up and down roads he knew he’d never himself traveled - a wild goose chase that cost us many days and many resources. He’s one of the hardest children we’ve ever had in our care and caused a lot of chaos at the home. He’d never once been to school and we didn’t have the funding to send him so we had to refer him out to another home in May. Even with him going to school 5 days a week, they could only manage him for 2 months as he tried to run away several times somewhere between that home and school. At one point a kidnapper grabbed him but the other boys that were walking with him fought and scared him off. Before we knew it, they came knocking at our gate to return him. We received him back with open arms, certain that God had a plan for him but also knowing he needed to be in school. We continued to search for his family and also advertised on TV and in newspaper. No response. Because of your generous giving into our “where most needed” fund, we were able to send him to the village to enroll in our school. He blossomed, y’all. He just needed discipline and his mind needed to be learning. He’s actually a bright child for having never been to school before coming to us. He’s wild, but a fun wild, not the troublemaker, acting out of deep pain.


The search continued for his family but we had exhausted all avenues. TV, newspaper, feet on the ground, going to each and every police station {mostly shipping containers tucked off the side of the road} between us and all directions within a certain radius. We went often because they don’t have a network for info and everything is done by hand and kept in paper files. We never gave up searching and checking one more time. However, Ekubo is just a foster home – a safe haven for children in their journey. Off the top of my head, I can’t tell you the number of children that have only stayed with us for a night or a weekend. Sometimes we have them many months as we work out the details to get them resettled. Sometimes it’s longer. One day is more than we ever want for a child to be separated from his or her family. That said, it’s definitely not a place where children need to grow up. We foster the children until an alternative can be found. The road was narrowing by the day and Calvin needed a family. The 1.5-year mark came and we knew it was time to call off the search for his family and direct our focus to a foster family. We even wondered if we were that family. God clearly closed that door. We wondered why but we kept going. We never found that foster family so he continued to thrive in school and we just couldn’t shake that all of these things weren’t coming together for a reason.

It is an amazing feeling to be walking the path which God has set out for a child in your care but scary to not see clearly the way forward. Last month as we neared the 2-year mark of him being in our care we just felt like we needed to run the adverts again. They are costly for a home that’s not yet fully funded and it was a huge leap of faith but God knew that. He knew we didn’t have the money yet He nudged us to step out. We ran the advert and got nothing. Or so we thought. What we couldn’t see was that Calvin’s grandmother’s brother saw him on the news. He called Calvin’s grandmother who came to the police looking for him. When we do adverts we direct them to police, not us, as it risks the safety of not only the child but the other ones in our care. We got word that Calvin’s grandmother had shown up. We were ecstatic! We got in touch with her and went looking. It was NOWHERE near where we were looking. It was over an hour away.

When we reached her we found out the story. And it shattered us. Calvin was sent to live with her when he was 2. Because she was not able to afford his school fees his mother came back for him. Calvin’s father chose alcohol over his family and abuse over love for his wife. His wife couldn’t manage her broken relationship and Calvin so she left, leaving her baby boy behind also. Per her words, “Calvin was very naughty and used to escape to look for his mother so many times that he was known by the area police posts.” One time Calvin never returned. He somehow made it over an hour away and then into our care. His father stayed so drunk that he never reported the disappearance to his mother or grandmother. It was neighbors that finally did. If that wasn’t enough to shatter us, this did. A few months ago, after not hearing from their son and grandson for 1.5 years, they held a funeral for him in their village. A FUNERAL FOR THEIR BOY. I can’t imagine the heartbreak of his disappearance and the grief they endured for all those months and then, in an attempt to find some sort of closure, A FUNERAL. My heart shattered. I know where he is. They now have him in his arms, but A FUNERAL. FOR THEIR BOY. I can’t even wrap my head around the finality of that.

There was such joy but so much confusion and shock in their reunion. Calvin had missed his Maama so much when he was little that he would run away. It had been years that he was in his father’s care before he ran away that final time. I can’t imagine what was going through his mind when he finally her. So much shock that this is the only picture I have for you. The truest picture ever taken of the shock we see during resettlements - the raw emotion of “too many feelings all at once”. God bless them both.


There should be huge smiles but those will come. They will come. They have moved in with Calvin’s grandmother into a one-room house with 11 people. We are still very much involved with their case as we are helping their grandmother manage 2 more people while we are trying find a way forward to reunite his family. And that’s the hard part – to not only find his father but see if he is willing to choose his family over alcohol. Foster care is not just us opening our home to Calvin. It’s about picking up all of the pieces that led him to needing our care and trying to put his family back together, if possible. It’s not glamorous and the enemy fights us every single step we take.

Ekubo Children’s Home was a blessing to this family and this is why we exist. I don’t know where Calvin would be if we were not there for him. He should have been at another home that doesn’t even attempt to resettle children but he caused them too many problems. He could have been kidnapped and who knows what would have happened – child labor or child sacrifice - but God had other children fight off the kidnapper. He should have been in a foster family but we were not that family nor could we find one. He should have been anywhere but in our care yet God invited us in. He invited us to be here physically and you to be there praying and giving financially. Please know that our love {ours and yours} is not lost on this family. We are so thankful to have you join us on this journey to be the hands and feet of Christ to families here in Uganda. We are all broken and in need of a Savior. Praise His name for drawing us in and including us in His work.

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1 comment:

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