Since arriving at the baby home in July, there have been ten new additions to the Forever Angels family. I would like to talk about a few of them and their stories just so you get an idea of how the baby home gets its children.
This is typically what happens...
Amy gets a call from Social Welfare saying there is a new child needing a home. Amy then drives to Social Welfare, signs the necessary paperwork, names the child (if the child's name is unknown), brings the baby to the baby home, feeds the baby, gives the child HIV and Malaria tests, and then the child is put into the crazy mix with the other children. Sometimes the child settles in quickly. However, most of the time, they are completely freaked out - which is the best way to describe it. They just sit there, watch the other children push, bite, dance, sing, scream, etc, and then they cry. They are also usually TERRIFIED of the mzungus, for some of them have never seen a white person!
Jacobo: Jacobo is the 14-month-old with Infant Depression that I wrote about a few months ago. His story is that he was abandoned in an empty house. A passer-by heard him screaming so went to investigate. She saw Jacobo covered in ants and crying, so took him home, bathed him, and then took him to the police. He had an extremely difficult time adjusting to baby home life, but I am happy to report that he is laughing much more these days! Hoorrraaay! Cacey and I both have a special place in our hearts for Jacobo...
Yona: Yona, about two-years-old, was abandoned in town, near city hall. A teenage girl saw him alone, so waited with him for his carers to arrive. They never came and eventually the girl had to leave him. The police saw the girl leave Yona, so they arrested her for abandoning a child. The girl and Yona spent the night at the police station until the police finally decided they were of no relation. Once at the baby home, Yona settled in very quickly. We love to watch Yona dance! He shakes his little bum and sings at the top of his lungs. Precious.
Joshua: Joshua came to the baby home at one-month-old. He has the softest, curliest hair you've ever seen. It feels just like fake doll hair and it's hard not to touch! Joshua's mom suffers from some sort of mental disorder and was found wandering the streets of Mwanza naked, carrying her baby. The police took Joshua from her and he was taken to Forever Angels. Now, two months later, Joshua has about 5 chins and a huge smile...as long as he's being held that is.
Marcus: One of the happiest of the tiny babies, Marcus is ALWAYS smiling. Marcus came to us about three weeks ago and is such a good baby. He was abandoned in a ditch on the side of the road.
Maua and Sabina: Twin girls who arrived at Forever Angels at just six days old. They were SOOOO tiny and are incredibly beautiful babies. When you pick them up, it is as if they weigh nothing, and all you feel is the weight of their blankets. SOOO TINY! Sadly, their mom died shortly after giving birth to them and their father can't afford formula milk. They will stay at the baby home until they are old enough to survive on normal food. Their dad comes to visit them frequently and often texts Amy, "How are my baby girls?" We love him.
Kasigwa: Kasigwa arrived at the baby home at about one week old. Her mom began having serious headaches after birth and sadly died on the way to the hospital. Again, Kasigwa's dad can't afford formula, so he brought her to the baby home until she is older.
An interesting story about Kasigwa's name...apparently, the word "kasigwa" basically means "child whose mother died." It is not a name we would give a child in America even if this was the circumstance right? Well, this is the name Kasi's father gave her and it is a popular topic of conversation among the mamas in the baby home. Last week, I was talking to one of the mama's about Kasi's name, and me being name obsessed, asked this mama what she would name her if she could change her name, etc. We laughed about the different names we thought would suit her for a few minutes and then coincidently, Kasigwa's dad arrived for a visit. Without me knowing, this mama went into the other room and told Kasi's dad that I wanted to change her name!
Okay, yes I admit, I would like to change her name because of course it is sad to be known as "the girl without a mother" (or even have her name serve as a constant reminder to her father that his wife died), but I wouldn't EVER suggest it! Obviously, her father named her that for a reason and he thought it was a nice name. It is NOT my place to change HIS daughter's name by any means! Well, this mama came back into the room I was in and told me that Kasi's father would like to talk to me. "About what?" I ask.
"About changing her name."
"WHAT?! What did you tell him?! I am not going out there!" And I didn't...for about twenty minutes. The mama came in again and said that he was waiting for me and wanted to know why I wanted to change his daughter's name.
I had to face him. I felt so horrible I wanted to cry. Here was a man whose wife had just died a few weeks ago and he decided to make a tribute to her by naming his daughter Kasigwa. I could have kicked myself for even talking about it to this mama. To make a long story a little shorter, I went out there and told him that I thought it was a lovely name and that he shouldn't change it. He asked what I wanted to name her and how he would go about changing the name, etc. I didn't answer a single question, but just kept saying, "No, no, no. Keep her name. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it!"
UGH...put a sock in it Ciara.
Jasmine (age 3 or 4) and Neema (age 11 months): Their mother went to a woman's house and asked for water. When the woman came back, the mother had left her children. The woman cared for them as long as she could, but realized she could not support herself and her own family along with the girls so she brought them to Social Welfare. Jasmine and Neema both have many scars all over their bodies from being abused, including whipping marks on their backs and possibly burns (?) on their genitals. Jasmine has settled in nicely to baby home life, but Neema is having a more difficult time. She is especially afraid of the mzungus and can often be found screaming her head off at the sight of me. Pole Neema. I'm not so bad, really.
Each and every baby at the baby home has a story like these stories. Each and every baby has parents who couldn't care for them in one way or another or at all. Because of these stories, Cacey and I are constantly reminded how thankful we are to have parents who have supported us in each and every way imaginable (and MORE). These stories also pull on our heart strings and make us want to take each of these babies home with us (more on that later). Someday we will. Someday we will give an orphaned baby a home. Now I just need a job... :)