Working with children who have been removed from their family by the court system is both rewarding and just plain hard. There’s always tension. It’s sometimes humbling to look into our heart and see the desire to protect children at the risk of not cheering their families on towards restoration. That is a see-saw we know our hearts play, so we must be intentional in our desire for healing and true restoration . . . for the whole family, whenever truly possible.
We have taken in and raised children who were never been able to go back home. We have taken in children who do return. We have taken in children who have come back. We have taken in children who have found forever families through adoption. There are so many possibilities, but what we know is that a deep desire within each child we serve is know and be connected with family. They may not be able to connect with family members who need to do the hard work in their own lives before reconnection is possible, but they most often have siblings, other relatives whom they can stay connected with. And so there begins the work of our family program, both working with family members who need support in journeying towards healing, and those family members who desire to stay connected.
Juan was eight years old when we were able to locate an uncle and aunt who said they would be willing to visit Juan during family visitation days hosted by La Casa.When Juan was told that he would be having visits, he cried. He whispered through the tears and deep breathes, “I have family. I have family.” Family is important.
Over the past ten years, Juan has formed a relationship with his uncle and aunt. They’ve faithfully come to family visitation days, and Juan has gone to visit them during extended vacations. We’ve been blessed to work with the family to help them become more self sufficient and make improvements on/in their home. They’ve been diligent in doing the work and accessing resources to make life better.
This past year, Juan turned eighteen. As we talked with Juan and his family about what was next in life for Juan, his uncle and aunt invited him to live with them. Love was the root of this offer. We began to work towards a transition for Juan, and he went in December to live with family.
We don’t stop our journey with families if or when children return home. Matter of fact, that is often an important time to journey with them.
We have been blessed with a team that comes each January to help us get school supplies together, books covered and everything ready for the children to start a new school year. Many have come year after year on that team, so they know Juan. If you knew Juan, you’d know that he doesn’t meet too many strangers. He is social; he loves to connect with people.
It wasn’t hard to convince this team to be a part of helping Juan’s family build a chicken coop. They wanted to be able to have eggs for themselves and to sell. An agreement was made with Juan’s family that they would clear the land, pour the concrete base and cut wood to make the posts before the team arrived.
The team headed out on the two hour journey to visit Juan and help with the project. But in reality, they said they received more that day than they gave. They saw Juan content in his new environment. They saw him with family who truly cares. They saw the love his family has . . . as it was shared with them that day. They helped figure out how to put up the chicken wire around the coop, put on a roof, put in feeding troughs and placed 50 baby chicks inside. They got to see real family life in El Salvador. Some of the team even received authentic tortilla making lessons from Juan’s aunt.
We are thankful for partners who have a heart for the families we work with an engage in ways that help propel them forward. Thank you GlobalX Team for your hearts and service!