Sunday, December 19, 2010

Good news, bad news then awesome news...

I'll start this blog with a wonderful update on the Proniño Christmas sponsorship. As of December 12th, ALL of the kids are sponsored! (That's 3 days before the cutoff date.) And there were at least 10 other people that were planning on sponsoring a child, but they had already been snapped up. Thank you to everyone that sponsored a child, wanted to sponsor a child or just wanted to talk to me about these kids. I never get tired of it. =) And for everyone that sponsored, I'll be coming back with pictures and videos for you in January. So fun!

But there was something else going on at the same time that I didn't want to blog about because it was so opposite the joys of the sponsorship program. In the first week of December my very worst fear happened. Richar ran away, along with Edgar and 2 other boys I don't know very well. I couldn't believe it. And I felt so helpless being here in the States. The first day I was in a bit of a fog. I think I spent a lot of time staring at the computer screen. The second day I got mad at them for making poor decisions. Mad at Edgar because I took him off the streets less than two months ago!! I just didn't understand how he could forget how much he hates the streets so quickly. And mad at Richar for putting me through the emotional ringer. It's a selfish reason, I know. The third day I emailed everyone I know in Honduras asking them to look for the kids and telling them where they might be able to find them. And then I just waited and prayed and hoped and hoped that I'd get an email telling me that they had been found. There were some encouraging moments - like when the Rink family in Texas decided to sponsor Edgar for Christmas even though they knew he wasn't at the home. They decided they were going to pray for him to be safely returned to Pronino by Christmas and they wanted to make sure that he had some gifts waiting there for him. So awesome. But in general, I was spending a lot of time worrying. Worrying that they were hungry, cold, would turn to drugs and that I'd never see them again.

Two weeks after they ran, they were found outside of a grocery store in San Pedro by the efforts of a few amazing Pronino employees that drove around and around and around the neighborhood trying to track them down. I finally got that email I'd been waiting for - telling me they're safe and spent the next hour jumping around the house and calling people to share the wonderful news. I'm heading to Honduras in less than two weeks and am so excited that I'll be able to see them, but there is this nagging voice in my head saying "It's probably going to happen again."

So many people have asked me why the kids run away. And I really wish I knew the answer. All I have are lots of theories. So, I thought I would share them with you and maybe we can get a discussion going. I would love to hear other people's insights. My number one theory is that the kids make decisions based on how they are feeling right now. Pronino is a home full of street smart pre-teen and teenage boys and they tend to resolve problems with their fists as opposed to talking about their feelings. I think that when they are mad or upset they just want to remove themselves from the situation. So they leave. I think Richar is a perfect example of this. When he's angry, his anger takes over everything and rational thought just goes out the window. There is no thought of what am I going to eat tonight? or where am I going to sleep? It's just a thought of I don't want to be bothered anymore!

Theory #2 is a desire for adventure. Things can get pretty dull when you eat, sleep and play in the same building all day every day. And the first day on the street, going wherever you want, doing whatever you want, is probably appealing at times. Once again - very little thought about the day after or the day after that. I think Edgar would definitely fall into that category. He's bored and sick of the kids making fun of him (the back of his head's pretty flat and some of the kids like to pretend that it's a landing strip, which Edgar really doesn't like) and someone whispers a plan to run away. I could see him being down for that.

Theory #3 is that they want to return to their families. Many of the kids have parents and siblings and some live nearby. And absence makes the heart grow fonder. No matter how bad things were with the family, it's still family. It's your identity, your roots. And that desire to be loved and cared for by your parents doesn't go away. And no matter how much we tell them that they have the opportunity for a good future by going to school and getting an education and that their parents will make them beg on the streets or sell vegetables from a cart for pennies, they aren't at the stage developmentally that they can really make a good decision. One of the boys that had run away 3 times in the 4 months I was able to go regularly kept leaving to find his mom. I talked to him one day after he had been found and returned and asked him what he was going to do when he was 30. He looked at me with shocked eyes and repeated incredulously "30?!?!" That's when it really hit me that it's hard to think that far ahead. And not just for "these kids". Few 12 year olds in any country could consistently make good life decisions! He just wants his mom.

So what's the answer? This is the part where someone reading this writes a comment and solves everything. Please. I don't know that we'll ever have an answer that works 100% of the time. But I have a theory for this, too. =) We keep going out, looking for them and bringing them back. It's like the parable of the lost sheep. One is missing, so we leave the rest and search high and low for that little sheep until he's back with the flock. Show them that even if their family isn't going to fight for them, someone is. And even though they don't fully understand it, keep telling them that there is a future for them and they deserve to be given a chance, sometimes over and over again. And there are stories of kids that were so unstable, kept running away, kept being brought back, then stabilized. There's an amazing kid in Pronino that was on the streets, addicted to crack at age 10. He was brought to Pronino, then ran away. A worker found him on the street again, but he wasn't willing to return. Finally, he was convinced to come back and now he's drug free and in school. And he's so smart! Someone told me that the kids call him the scientist because he's so inquisitive and always wanting to learn. Can you imagine what would've happened to him if people weren't persistent in bringing him back?

So I fear that they'll run again, but I also hope that with some persistence, this will become their home, even if it's not the one they would've chosen!

Only 9 more days til I can see this wonderful child again!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A few more featured kids

Thank you so much to everyone who has already sponsored a Proniño kid! In 4 days you've sponsored 18 kids. AND I've had the chance to talk to a few people that I haven't talked to in YEARS! So, there's so much that I love about this. I love helping the boys have a wonderful Christmas. I love getting to talk about them so much. And I love reconnecting. The only thing that hasn't happened so far is I haven't had a stranger interested in sponsoring. Any strangers reading this blog right now???

The 2 boys that I featured in the last blog have been sponsored so I thought I'd feature a few more! There are some up and coming superstars in Amor y Paz (Love and Peace).

This is Oscar Giovanni, 14 and Denis Gabriel, 14. These are two very creative kids. They put their heads together and wrote a song, then they had the opportunity to go to a studio in El Progreso and record it. Click here to watch them perform at a local talent show. It's not the GREATEST video ever, but hey I'm an amateur!

And the kids in Proniño love this song so most of them have it memorized from start to finish. So here you can watch some of the cuties singing it acapela! Some of the kids in this video that haven't been sponsored yet ....

Porfirio, 13 Lead singer #2 in the video
Porfirio is usually my sidekick. He's one of the most kindhearted kids in Proniño. He has a few younger sisters that are in another home that he's able to visit sometimes (one of the awesome things about Proniño - they encourage and facilitate visits with family members) and the love he has for them is so touching. He's convinced that he's going to be able to go back to his mom by the time I get back in January. And he wants this so badly that I want it for him too, but man am I going to miss his huge smile and big hugs if he's not there when I return!

Wilmer, 12 camaflouge pants in the video
There are two Wilmers in Proniño. Kevin, the street outreach worker, is close to the older Wilmer, but this guy is MY Wilmer. When he smiles he gets these wrinkles around his eyes that will just melt your heart. I'm really good at telling the kids no when they ask for things. Can I have a sucker? No. Can you buy me an MP3 player? No. But at least twice I ended up bringing snacks or candy for all the boys because somehow Wilmer got me to agree to bring something for him. But I try hard not to bring gifts for only ONE boy because I don't want to leave anyone out so I had to bring it for all. Even with Richard - I didn't bring anything specifically for him until my very last day! But somehow, this one kept charming his way into candy and snacks for himself which meant for the entire center!

Roger, 13 background face maker in the video
This is mi payaso (my clown). I blogged about him a little bit in August. We first met when he was living in Nueva Esperanza. One day in June I noticed that he was missing and they told me he had run away. He was the first kid that I knew of that ran away. And he was the first kid that I worried and worried and worried about. UNTIL I found a picture of him on Proniño's website along with a story about how he was found! Click here to read that story on Kevin's blog. If you sponsor him I guarantee I'll come back with a video for you...

And finally Deybi, 8 made a cameo in the video wrestling with Wilmer
Kind of anti-climactic but I don't know him very well. But he's super cute!

So, if you want to bless these kids with an awesome Christmas for only $25 go to and click the donate tab under the photo of the child, or children you want to donate to. Make sure that you specify which child (or children) you want to sponsor! And then let me know who you chose because I'll bring back photos or videos of your child in January.


Monday, December 6, 2010

An opportunity for Navidad

I think this may be my first ever short blog. Thought I'd mix things up a bit. =) In my last blog I listed some ways that you could get involved and help these kids from the States. One of the ways was to make a wish come true by helping out with Christmas gifts. Well, Proniño has set up a very easy way for you to make that happen! A donation of $25 will cover the cost of their Christmas gifts. I've been sitting here trying to think of something that costs $25 to put things in perspective, but nothing catchy is coming to mind. Umm, for the cost of 5 drinks at Starbucks! Or for the cost of 2 books! 25 songs on itunes? Anyway, for $25 you can make a kid feel special! If you click here you can see all of the Proniño kids and choose your child. Maybe you want to choose them because they look like someone you know, or because their name is similar to yours - come on Richard, you know you want to sponsor Rigo. Or you can contact me and I can tell you more about most of the kids - because giving is always more fun when you know a little something about who you're giving to. For instance, there's

Christian Noe.
I have a ton of respect for this kid. Tempers can flare quite easily, but every time I see him, he's getting in between the ones that are about to fight and trying to distract them with some humor. Just such a good kid. And he's an aspiring magician and breakdancer. This video is just bonus...

If you have seen my wrists lately you'll see 2 exquisite bracelets compliments of the handiwork of Derrick. Who knows, if you sponsor his Christmas I may have a bracelet for you when I return in January!

My hope is that I'll be able to get 30 of these kids sponsored before December 15th. If you decide to sponsor a child, please let me know so I can update my goal! And please let me know if you have any questions!

I have 3 so far. 27 more to go!

And I can bring pictures or videos back from my trip in January so you can keep connected with them. =)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back in the US of A

On November 17th I moved back to the States. Oh, how bittersweet this is. There are many things that are so nice about the States - the chairs are so comfortable (sounds weird, I know, but I keep sitting down here and thinking 'Wow! I am SO comfortable!'), the food is delicious, there are zero potholes in the road to avoid, I understand what everyone is saying and when I forget to lock my car door nothing is stolen when I return...yet. But man is there a hole inside me. I was nervous that when I returned I'd spend a lot of time crying. I haven't cried at all. But I have spent a lot of time floating. And not the good, elated kind of floating. It's the foggy, directionless type of floating. But after a considerable amount of time journaling and a considerable amount of time talking to my wonderful friend Ann who went through this type of transition not too long ago, I'm feeling a bit more like myself today. So instead of spending my day missing the kids I'm going to spend my day planning for my future trips to Honduras.

That's right - I may be home, but my time in Honduras is far from over! And there will now be many opportunities for all of you to come back with me and meet the wonderful kids you've been reading about! A few months ago I realized that there is no way that our time here could simply be over in November. And there's no way that we could drastically improve the lives of these children in a few short months. And when you get to know the kids, really know them, their name, their story, and when you earn their trust, you can't just file that away as a period of your life that is now closed. I had this crazy idea that maybe I could come back every two months to lead missions teams to the centers. I thought, that's insane, you can't find a job that will allow you to leave for 10 days every 2 months! But this whole year was more than I had ever dreamed of. I strongly believe that it didn't happen to have good stories to tell my friends, or to shape my character or world view. There is a reason that I met these kids and God is a big enough God to lead me to a part time job that allows me to have lots of time off if that's what I'm supposed to do! Within a few weeks I was approached with a part time job that is a perfect fit. The details are still being worked out but it was enough to encourage me to go forward with this plan.

The goal of this project is to show the children in Nueva Esperanza and Proniño the love of Jesus by facilitating an increase of love, safety, nourishment and hope in their lives. This will look a little bit different in each center. The highlights of what we want to do is to:
1) Develop a core group of consistent Honduran volunteers that will mentor, help with homework, do Vacation Bible School and in general form consistent, positive relationships.
2) Bring 6 North American teams per year for work projects and to spend time with the kids. (3 to Nueva and 3 to Proniño)
3) Increase the amount of protein and vegetables in the children's diet in Nueva Esperanza through donations from the States and from Honduras.
4) Recruit monthly sponsors for the boys in Proniño.

And how can you help with this program you ask? Oh, there are many ways. I will continue to make number lists because, well, I like number lists. Many of the details are not yet finalized but I want to share the things that are in the works!
1) Consider joining one of the teams that will be travelling to Honduras in 2011. Tentative dates are in May, July, September and November.
2) Sponsor a child in Proniño. You will be able to have regular contact with your child and an opportunity to tell them just how special they are when you meet your child on a trip to Honduras. (See item #1) =)
3) Along the same lines, I am hoping to find some churches or groups that would be interested in learning more about and helping these centers. I'm brushing up on my public speaking skills so please let me know if your church or group would be like for me to share about the kids!
4) Make a one-time or monthly donation to Heart to Honduras at that will support the children's home project.
5) Proniño is doing something special for the kids this Christmas. All of the kids have written down what they want for Christmas. It ranges from 5 chocolate chip cookies to an MP3 player to "that all of the children in Proniño lead a happy and healthy life". (Not even lying, one of the kids wrote that!) If you are interested in checking something off this list, ESPECIALLY the last one, let me know and I'll email you the list once I get it on Thursday.
6) I will be going back to Honduras in January for a week. If you are in the Phoenix area and would like to donate new or gently used boys clothes, shoes, belts and new toiletries and hair gel let me know and I'll bring it down! (Or you could mail it if you live outside the Phoenix area.)
7) Please pray. Pray for these kids. That they would have joy, safety and a future. Pray for this project - that it would help to change the lives of hundreds of kids. And pray for me - that I would stay constantly focused and always learning better and better ways to help these amazing children.

And now for a few photos, just because...

I'm sure Richard would have a better shot if not for the lovely sweater he's wearing.

He INSISTED on carrying my backpack around. He didn't seem to mind that it's the same size as he is.

This guy is definitely high on my prayer list. This is Josue Nahum. He's been in Nueva Esperanza for around 2 years. He had a group of pretty good friends, but they all have either escaped or been transferred to other centers and now I fear that he is pretty depressed. I used to spend a lot of time making him stop picking on other kids, but now when I'm there he almost always is sleeping. I'm glad he's essentially ignoring the smaller kids, but I'm not happy with the alternative. My last day I woke him up to see if he wanted to play soccer with a group of visitors and he just didn't. He told me that he has no interest in doing anything. This is not good at all.

Love this picture of some of the boys in Proniño. Every one of them looks hilarious!

And a gaggle of Nueva Esperanza boys. There are soooo many more....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My friend Edgar

This is Edgar. He is one of the first Nueva kids that I got to know. He has an incredibly flat head and gets made fun of a lot and always says that he's ugly, so I've always tried to hang out with him and boost his self-esteem a bit. About 5 boys have escaped from Nueva recently and with so many kids leaving I was nervous that he would try to leave too, and then two weeks ago, it happened. He escaped with 2 other boys. He used to live in Pronino so I called Kevin (street outreach worker from Pronino) and he suggested I look in a particular gas station in San Pedro because that's where he found him last year, begging for money. That Saturday night I decided to stop at the gas station on my way back to Casa Elias to buy some ice cream and look for Edgar. I parked my truck and started to walk around when immediately I saw a little person walking in the dark between two cars. Edgar. Seeing him walk out of the shadows is a sight that I want to burn into my brain. I just hugged him for a long time. I called Yann and he said to bring him to the house to eat dinner and then we'll figure out what to do with him. We went into the gas station to buy ice cream and I'm sure we looked like quite a pair. A gringa with the boy that had been begging for money all week strolling around looking for ice cream. Ha!
As soon as we got to the house Yann noticed that something was off. He said his eyes looked a little bit messed up. I was just so excited to have found him that I didn't notice a thing. Yann sat him down pretty quickly and asked him about his week. And specifically if he had used any drugs. Yes. Ugh. He had gotten high on Resistol (glue) twice. Glue is a huge problem with street kids here. It's really cheap to get and it takes away any hunger or thirst pangs that the kids have. And it makes you feel happy. What would you want to do when you're hungry, thirsty and unhappy? Make all of those things go away. And the glue does that for them. He had gotten high that day and apparently was still feeling the effects of it.
We ate pizza and played games and then it was time for bed. We decided that we would move two mattresses into the living room and Edgar and I would sleep out there. I had heard from boys in Nueva that Edgar would sometimes hit kids while they're sleeping and we didn't want to put David in any danger. Once we got settled in, Edgar spent the next hour babbling away. He told me more about life with his father before being put in various centers. Some good things like trips to Copan and going to his favorite restaurant, and others like “He hit me a wire. Here is one of the scars. But he's my Dad, so ...” followed by a shrug. He told me about how he survives on the street – sleeping on the ground behind a bank, which gas station guards were nice and which were violent, that the older kid I found him with did a lot of drugs but protected him, that an American lady gave him 50 Lempiras. But mainly he just kept rubbing his arms and legs and saying “I'm so clean!” And “I'm so happy!” (In both English and Spanish.) And “I'm wearing boxers!” (Underwear is definitely a luxury here.)
The next morning was probably one of the best I've had here. We woke up and watched cartoons and ate pancakes.

He helped wash a bed.

I taught him how to play some games on the computer. I just kept thinking - I can't believe that last night he would've been sleeping on the street. No child should ever have to do that.
Then the time came for us to figure out what in the world to do with him. He had a history with Proniño so I could try to take him there, but they are more or less full so I wasn't sure if they would take him. Yann suggested we go check out a center called Sampedrana. He usually talks pretty badly about this center so I was skeptical from the beginning. It is a Honduran organization that gets so much money donated to them every year and yet very little of the money actually reaches the center, BUT the director has a VERY nice car. So frustrating. But it's a place to sleep, they get three meals a day and they are allowed to leave the center during the day, which is better than the street. So, I went with Yann to check it out. It was terrible. Absolutely terrible. So dark and depressing. I ended up having to go sit in the car and wait for Yann. I just kept hearing his little voice “Jenny, I'm so happy!” and then I'd think of bringing him here and my eyes would well up with tears. I more or less cried the whole way back, then tried to pull it together when we arrived. Edgar knew where we went so he immediately pulled me aside to ask how it was. I tried very hard to explain it to him in a way that focuses on the facts, not the turmoil of emotions I was feeling. I didn't get very far when Edgar interrupted me and said “Jenny, your eyes. They're wet.” Oh my goodness. His tenderness was like a punch in the stomach. I hugged him, then went to the bathroom to have a serious talk with myself to pull it together! Next, we ate lunch and Yann was explaining to some visitors what was going on and that we were trying to figure out what to do with him, which for some reason made me all emotional and AGAIN he said “Jenny, your eyes again?” Ay, yay, yay.
It got the point that I couldn't put it off anymore, we had to go Proniño to see if they would accept him. But first we had to get him some clothes. (His dirty nasty ones were still wet.) So we went to a department store. He was wearing my sandals and a pair of my shorts that I had made 'tighter' by cinching it with clothespins. I'm sure we looked totally normal... He quickly picked out an outfit, but the best part with the escalator. It was his first time on an escalator and as we got close to the top he squeezed my hand sooo tight and then jumped to solid ground dragging me behind him.
Then it was time. We headed over to Proniño. What were they going to do? They are really hurting financially and I want to HELP this organization with their financial troubles, not make it worse by bringing another kid. And yet, what could I do? I couldn't drive him back to the gas station and wish him luck. So, there I was, about to make waves (which I hate more than most things). We arrived and the Director happened to be there. (It was a Sunday evening.) I was prepared with a speech and all the reasons why they had to take him. I greeted Reginaldo and simply said “I found him begging at a gas station in San Pedro last night.” and Reginaldo immediately welcomed him and asked him about his time on the street and told him that if he was going to live in Proniño again then he has to change his behaviour (I guess he was really out of control last time.) Now I was about to cry from relief. This is one of the many reasons why I love Proniño so much. Yes, it wasn't ideal to add another child, but they aren't going to send the child back to the street. So now, two weeks later, Edgar is adjusting to life in Proniño. As he's getting comfortable I'm definitely seeing the rotten Edgar more than before, but I believe in him and I tell him that every time I see him. And he now has hope. Hope for an education. And now he can do more than just survive.
I was talking to him today and mentioned that I hadn't eaten lunch yet (it was 3 o'clock). He gasped and said “Poor Jenny! You haven't eaten yet?” I hugged him as I thought about how not long ago he had gone days without eating and how now I know that he had lunch and I know that he will have dinner and then after that he's going to go to his own bed and sleep. And I am so, so grateful.

At Pronino!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Story of David

I have another post! ... That's on the other blog... You're just one click away!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big changes and so quickly!!!

Sean left Honduras this morning. Yeah, I know, kind of sudden, huh? Wow, have the last two weeks been a whirlwind! The reason why we went back to the States recently was because Sean had an interview with the Mesa Fire Department. Two days after the interview he found out that he had made it on to the next round (Yay!!!) and that the next round starts on October 2nd (What?!?!) The next round is an internship for 4 consecutive Saturdays. We fairly quickly realized that he can't pass up this opportunity, so he has to leave, and I'm doing too much for the organization to leave without much notice (and I'm having a hard enough time thinking about leaving these kids in November much less NOW), so I have to stay. I can safely say that never in our wildest dreams did we think that we would be spending the last month and a half of this experience apart from each other. =(

And for anyone who is worried about me being alone...
a) We just finished moving me to one of the apartments behind our office that is surrounded by a fence topped with barbed wire and we have a watchman with a gun.
b) I am going to be driving to San Pedro by myself sometimes, but I'm going to be staying with some friends for a few days a week so it will actually lessen the number of times that I'm driving by myself.
c) Our car windows are very tinted and I only drive on main roads during the day with all doors locked. =)

Please be praying that Sean will continue to be moving on to the next round until he is a full-fledged fireman!

We've been talking for quite a while about bringing Chamaco to Nueva Esperanza to meet all the kids. (Especially since I showed a bunch of the boys videos that we have of him and they got really excited about a dog.) We knew it was probably going to be pretty chaotic so we decided to bring him on Monday so Sean and I could be together and help each to keep him protected. It was a really wonderful day! The pictures might be overkill but I think they're so funny!

Richar romping around with Maco.
He's great with kids. He doesn't bite. I promise!
Now we're at Nueva and the fun begins! They were pretty impressed that they could put their hands in his mouth and nothing happens.
Give up Chamaco. It's futile to try and escape!
Please pay special attention to Noel, with his hand in Chamaco's mouth and the delighted look on his face and the kid in the background holding on to Chamaco's tail.
They really wanted him to look at the camera.
Blurry, but funny nonetheless. I imagine Maco thinking something along the lines of "Is this ever going to stop??"

Sean realized that if he walked Chamaco around then at least the kids didn't sit on him quite so much. I was talking to some other kids for a lot of this and ever few minutes a pack of kids would walk by lead by Sean and everyone shouting "Chamaco! Chamaco!"
This one's my favorite. Please note that the same kid (in the white and blue striped shirt is, once again, putting his hand in Chamaco's mouth.)
He was such a good sport!
And here's a picture of us with Richar right before Sean had to say goodbye. So sad. I'm taking him to a psychologist on Monday. We don't actually have an appointment, but we're hoping they can fit him in. I've been talking to his teachers and employees at Pronino a lot about him. They all agree that he has some serious anger problems and they don't know what to do with him. BUT they also ALL talk about what a good kid he is and that he's so smart with lots of potential. It's so encouraging to me that he's at least in a place where everyone can see the good in him regardless of his behavior problems. And his teacher said that he never ever has explosions in class. He just focuses on his work. So it seems to happen only during down time when they don't have much to do. Please keep praying for him! I'm off to Pronino right now. I have a Spiderman puzzle that keep a bunch of them entertained for a least a little while!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Heavy, heavy heart

I've started another blog for my church in Phoenix (Mesa to be exact) - Chrio Communities, that is specifically about Nueva Esperanza, other centers in Honduras and hope. I'm still figuring out how to mesh the two blogs but right now it's just kind of confusing! In the meantime, I have a sad update on Richar on the other blog. Here is the address!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just a quick update

Thanks to a Facebook post from my cousin-in-law Tina I realized that I really need to update Maria Yesenia's status. We're still waiting. =( When I was at the center last Monday, Sean and I met with the Director and social worker to work out something that we could do for her. The Director called the parent and he said that he would come on Tuesday of this week by 8:30am. He lives in Gracias (I believe I said Copan in my last blog) and that's a 9 hour bus ride from San Pedro. But, if she saw the doctor on Tuesday then she most likely could see the cardiologist on Wednesday (the only day of the week he sees these patients.) So, we had everything arranged again. I was going to go get them in the morning, take them to the doctor and then German graciously volunteered to take them back so I didn't have to drive to San Pedro twice in one day. I asked the Director to call me when he arrived and then I would hit the road. We waited, and waited, and waited. He never came. Never called. He still hasn't come and it's Thursday. I understand that it's a long uncomfortable bus ride, but his daughter is so, so sick. I don't understand why he didn't even contact us to tell us what's going on. And what's even worse is that Sean and I are going to the States next week. So that means she'll be waiting for at least another week and a half before she can see the doctor. Honestly, I'm feeling really helpless in this situation. I'm usually pretty good about being able to offer someone assistance and if they don't take it, and it ends up hurting them, I understand that this was their choice. But this is so hard because Maria Yesenia isn't being given a choice. Her choices are being made for her and they are very bad ones. Ugh. Keep praying. Pray that another route would open up for her next week and that someone else will be able to fill in the gap with Sean and I gone.

I really hope that I have better news about this next time!

Quick Richar update as well... Sean and I finally got permission to volunteer and I got to see him last Wednesday. I was so so excited. I had met with the Director of Pronino in the morning and he gave me the ok to start volunteering... on Monday. But it was killing me to wait til Monday so I got permission from the Street Outreach worker to go that day. =) When I arrived no one could find him for a minute and my stomach flip flopped thinking he had run away. Nope, they found him on some steps reading a very outdated encyclopedia in English. Well, ok, not reading, looking at pictures. We then sat for the next hour or so with some of the other boys and I translated parts of the encyclopedias for them. You know, like snakes, astronauts, intestines - gross! Roger (the other kid I wrote about in the last blog) found the page about Phoenix and I said "That's where I live in the States!" He then very persistently begged me to point out my house to him. So cute. But unfortunately I just couldn't quite place it. =)
Then on Monday of this week I went for my first volunteer morning. Sean couldn't come because he's in the midst of two really big projects. =( The plan is for me to teach math, because the theory is that math is the same in every language. The thing that I forgot until Monday morning is that I really struggle with numbers in Spanish. So when I asked Salomon what 7x4 is and he said 28, I definitely told him he was wrong. Hmm, this might be a problem. But in general I'm pretty excited about it. There are only 8 kids in class in the morning and I'll be working with them in groups of 1-4 so I think I can handle that! And again, it was good to spend the morning with Richar. Towards the end of the morning when the kids were getting bored and restless some of them started taunting Richar and he made some moves as though to start a fight, but he quickly calmed down. I told him I was proud of him and he asked me some things about elephants. I think thats his way of saying thank you? Maybe.

We're going to Pronino on Saturday to see them one more time before we go to the States for a week, which brings me to my next point of discussion. Both Sean and I will have an extra empty suitcase that we're planning on filling with clothes and toiletries for the boys at Pronino. I'll be in Phila (Ohio) and Sean will be in AZ so if anyone from Arizona or Ohio wants to donate some gently used boys clothes, shoes or toiletries (think pubescent boys without deodorant. They need them some deodorant...) let us know!

Friday, August 27, 2010

He was right outside the gate.

Everything was ready. Today was going to be such a good day. We were going to get a baby the medical attention she desperately needs. German was right outside the gate, talking to the guard. Then we found out that a little piece of paper stating that the government has legal custody doesn't exist. And we had to cancel the appointment.
This is Maria. She is the youngest of a family of 6 six kids currently living in Nueva Esperanza.
When my friends Megan and Debbie were here in July, Megan spent a lot of time with her and quickly noticed that something just wasn't right. Mainly, she was incredibly listless. Had no interest in doing anything.
Megan and Maria

By the second week that Megan was here we were seriously concerned. She had lost a significant amount of weight and could barely hold her head up. When I came back the next week I was happy to hear that she was in the hospital. Perfect! She'll get the help she needs. Two weeks later she was back and looked no better. She was actually worse. So last Friday I decided I really need to do something about this. I went to a malnutrition center in a town near my house to plead her case. They said that as long as she didn't have any other serious illnesses (that they aren't equipped to treat) then she could come. I just needed to get her medical records sent over there. In my mind this was all going to be taken care of by Monday. To make a long story short, I found out that she has bronchitis and may have a heart problem, but she has been waiting for about 2 months to get in to see a specialist. And in the mean time she is getting skinnier and skinnier. The nutrition center said that they wouldn't take her til she's seen a specialist. (Which is frustrating because they have babies dropped off on their doorstep sometimes and they still start to treat them before they have a diagnosis from a specialist. Why is this case different!)

She referred us to a place called Fundacion Bernabe down the road that has a cardiologist. We went and were warmly received by the Doctor. She said that we had to bring the girl to Bernabe today or Monday to have an initial appointment, then they could refer her to a specialist and be seen on Wednesday. Sean and I have a very full day on Monday so it needed to be today. We were ready to drive to San Pedro (about an hour and a half one way), get the child and an IHNFA worker (chaperone), drive them back to Bernabe, be seen by the doctor, and return them both to San Pedro. It was going to be a whirlwind day, but this child NEEDS some medical attention. Then I realized that one of our co-workers, German was in San Pedro. Perfect! We made arrangements for him to pick up Maria and the worker and bring them here and Sean and I would take it from there. Except there was a glitch. Bernabe needs a copy of the paper that says that IHNFA has custody of Maria. But Maria and her siblings aren't in Nueva Esperanza because they've been orphaned, abandoned or abused. They are here because they have a very loving father who unfortunately cannot provide for them financially. So it's essentially like the government is babysitting them for a while. So they don't have legal custody, and the father lives in a town 3 hours away from San Pedro and even though he'd be happy to give consent, we couldn't get to him in time for him to sign anything. We begged and pleaded with Bernabe to just see her today and we promise we'll get the consent form by the time she sees the specialist on Wednesday. Nope. No consent, no appointment.

So we had to tell German to come back. He was literally on the other side of the gate. He was 100 feet from Maria. He had a vehicle to transport her. But he had to turn around. Because of one piece of paper.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


It is with great, great excitement that I write this post. Let me give you a little background info leading up to yesterday. After meeting Richar in May I started researching private homes around Honduras. I heard about one called Pronino that is for street kids and supposedly is pretty good. I planned on contacting them about Richar, but then one day Richar was 'singing' a bunch of Michael Jackson songs to me. (Keep in mind that he doesn't speak English, but was singing to me in 'English' which was more like babbling to the tune of "Billie Jean is not my lover". Priceless.) I asked him where he learned these songs (since there is NO music at NE). He said he learned them when he lived in Pronino. (Excuse me???) I asked if he liked it there and he shrugged his shoulders. So I forgot about it.
Then about a month and a half ago a coworker, Sue, emailed me a link to the website. I spent a few hours reading everything I could about it and got angrier and angrier that he was sent away from there. These kids go to school, have a computer lab and are part of an organization that has a goal to "rehabilitate, educate and reintegrate" these kids and provide education so they can have a future. It's not a family, but it's a definite improvement. So, I emailed them and politely asked why they sent him to Nueva. A month later I received a response saying that he wasn't sent away, but ran away in January. They've been looking for him and would love to have him back if Richard wants to return. Two reactions - If it's a great place, why did he run away? BUT I liked that Kevin (street outreach worker from Pronino) was giving Richar the option to come back. Kevin was also very frank with me - this is a place that works with kids taken off the streets. Although it is a nice place, some of the kids can be pretty rough, they're survivors, and fights aren't uncommon. If you read this blog in May, then you know how Richard responds to getting in a fight so there's a good chance he got in a fight, then bolted in his anger. So, Monday I was excited. Tuesday, I was confused about why he would run and if this truly is a good place for him. Wednesday and Thursday I spent worrying about him running away again. Nueva is not a nice place, but at least I know where he is. The streets? Not an ok option. Friday, I decided that Pronino will give him options in life, IF he can stick with it. And he has to be given that opportunity.
On Thursday I went to Nueva to talk to Richar about if he wants to go back. All the boys were watching a movie (a rare treat) so I was having a hard time getting him to focus on our trivial conversation about where he would live while Toy Story was on. =) But in general, he said that yes, he wants to go back and no he won't run away again. (I hope, I hope, I hope!) So, my plan was to visit Pronino Monday morning, then go back to Nueva to talk to him again (without a TV distracting him) to make sure he still had the same answer.
Ok, now I digress for a minute to tell you about another boy. (This is related to Pronino, I promise.) His name is Roger and I called him mi payaso (my clown). One day in early July I went to Nueva and he wasn't there. I asked where he was and the employees told me he ran away. I asked where to and they said to the street. Gulp. So for the next month, every time we were in San Pedro I was constantly scanning the corners where street kids beg or wash your windows for a little money trying to find him. I was so worried about him. How can a silly kid survive on the street? Last week after I received the email from Pronino about Richar I spent some time looking at their website again. Kevin has a blog and I went to it to look for pictures of any kids that I recognized. This is the story I found: It's a story about 3 brothers in Pronino. One ran away in June of last year and they couldn't find him. They tried one last time at the end of July and found him. Then I saw the picture - the found kid was Roger!! I was so happy he was in a safe place. And this made me even more excited to go to Pronino on Monday.
My understanding of how Pronino works is that when the boys are taken off the streets they spend 3 months to a year in the 'intake' center called Nueva Vida - new life. Many of the boys are addicts so there is a detox process. These kids don't leave the property for school or field trips. When they have proven that they can handle more freedom, the younger boys move to a house called Los Vencedores - the overcomers and the older boys go to Amor y Paz - love and peace. I know there is another center up in the mountains where they learn a trade like welding, electricity, carpentry, etc but I'm not sure what age is in La Montana. So, we arrived at Pronino yesterday morning to find a big field with a handful of buildings. There is a fence, but it's not threatening like the 20 foot concrete walls with barbed wire on top like they have at Nueva. Some of the boys saw us coming and opened the gate for us. Little things started popping out to me. The kids had long hair. (They shave heads at Nueva.) I asked Kevin if everyone shared clothes or if each kid has their own. Each child has their own. We found Roger in Los Vencedores. It was everything I could do to not just immediately grab him up in a huge hug. He recognized that he knew me, but didn't remember my name and or why he knew me, so I thought it would probably be weird for some gringa to squeeze all the air out of him with my hug! I successfully resisted. We continued the tour and Roger tagged along. As we were walking I kept tussling his long hair since I had decided that this wasn't the time or place for bear hugs and had another wonderful realization. His hair was clean! Again, this is not the norm at Nueva.

We got to the classroom in Nueva Vida (intake center) and Kevin cries out "He's here!" I had no idea who he was talking about until the classroom door opened and there was Richar's smiling face! He gave all of us hugs then immediately went back to his seat and kept working on his school work. Kevin talked to him for a minute and Richar said "I'm never ever leaving this place again!" (Oh, I pray that that is true.) We continued on our way so that they could back to class. After a while I asked the question I was the most nervous to hear the answer to: Can we come visit Pronino? Kevin said "Sure!" (Huge sigh of relief) Hmm, but I think it's only on Sundays. . . and only once a month. (Punch in the gut) I quickly tried to explain that we wouldn't be coming just to see Richar. That we would want to be volunteers that would be working with all the boys - seeing Richar would just be bonus. He said, "well, if you can commit to 3 months..." I explained that we do actually have other jobs! He told us to write up a proposal of what we want to do and he'd present it to the director. Pray, pray pray that this works out!

We stayed til Richar was done with class and then talked to him for a few minutes. He was just so happy to be there. And seriously, after 3 days of brushing his teeth (no toothbrushes in Nueva) they are literally whiter. I made him show me his teeth again and exclaimed about how white they are and he dug in his pocket and proudly produced a new toothbrush! AND when he left us to go to lunch he ran to the outside sink and washed his hands first. I know that I'm making a very big deal about some small things but I just love that he's being treated like a human with a future as opposed to an animal in a holding tank. And Pronino has a sponsorship program so we are going to try to find a way to sponsor him at least in part while we're here and then in full when we get home. I know there are going to be many hard days ahead for him, but today I'm just feeling so much joy and hope!

(I really wanted to take a picture of him yesterday. Especially since he was wearing oversized swimming trunks with the Incredible Hulk on them. They may not have fit, but I'm pretty sure he specfically picked those shorts - the kid's obsessed with superheroes! But I would've had to interrupt lunch and since he's new I don't want to draw any more attention to him than is necessary. So next time I'll have a picture of him - probably still in the Incredible Hulk shorts. And a picture of Roger with so much hair!)

Thank you to everyone who has been praying with me for this wonderful child. But don't stop! Don't stop praying for him or the other kids at Nueva. There is still much to do!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Long time no blog...

I can’t believe that it has actually been months since the last time we’ve posted. Those months literally feel like days. Well, maybe more like weeks. Hmm, and months are a combination of weeks so ok, it’s been months! And boy oh boy have we had some full ones! After my last post I wanted to keep everyone constantly updated on the orphanage, but frankly, I think I got into a bit of a rut. I wanted my next post to be in all caps, RICHAR HAS BEEN MOVED TO A HAPPY AND SAFE HOME AND WE HAVE SINGLEHANDEDLY ENDED ALL SUFFERING IN NUEVA ESPERANZA! When that wasn’t how things were unfolding, I didn’t know what to do. And more than anything I just wanted to BE there. I wanted to be hearing the kids’ stories and breaking up fights and teaching them stepping routines and being a consistent person in their lives. But I have many, many other responsibilities. A month or so ago, Sean had a sit down with me in which he said that he knows how much I want to be there but if I really want to make a difference in the lives of these kids I need to form a plan. Ugh, totally right. So, I’ve spent a lot of time since then thinking about how I really need to start coming up with a plan. And thinking about it. And thinking some more. I guess I should actually call it daydreaming because my thoughts were completely without direction!

The jump start that I needed has finally come – I recently gave a tour to a small Heart to Honduras group and one of the guys, Keith, was greatly moved by his experience there. And thankfully, Keith seems to be more of doer than a thinker! The goal is to have groups of Honduran volunteers visiting the orphanage one day every week to teach VBS, play with and get to know the kids. This will hopefully start in September. I visited yesterday with a Pastor from Choloma, Honduras and he and his wife were shocked by the scarcity of resources and the fact that the kids are kept in their rooms for hours during the day instead of being outside playing. Their response was “When can we start?” It’s so encouraging to see a need and immediately know that they want to be part of meeting it. Please pray for us as we talk to other Pastors about getting their church involved in the center. I want to continue bringing groups of North Americans whenever I can but the reality is that these kids need to have some people consistently coming back and forming relationships with them. And that can only happen with Hondurans!

Some photos of recent happenings:

The 2nd week of July brought 2 amazing blessings. Debby Skidmore and Megan Elliot, girls I graduated with from Malone came here for 2 weeks to work with the kids. I've talked to Debby once since graduation - Megan not at all. Megan and I became Facebook friends in June. She read this blog and sent me a message saying "This may be crazy, but I want to come." A month later I was picking her and Debby up from the airport! Totally amazing. We had such a great time reconnecting and serving together. It's amazing how you can lose touch with people for 5 years, then pick right up where you left off. Such a blessing. Debby and Megan - Thank you so much for coming!!!!

Megan with Richar, Jaison and Domingo. At the beginning of their time here I said that they might be surprised by which group of kids grabs their heart the most. When I first came I wanted to work with babies, only. Then these darn boys totally stole my heart and now everything I want to do for Nueva Esperanza is because I know if I help all the kids, these guys will also be helped. Megan made it pretty clear that she was interested in holding babies and she didn't think the same would happen to her. By the end of her time here, here main focus was also the boys. =) You never know what to expect!

Debby with one of her favorites - Elly. Debby was also amazing to me. There are many, many kids in this center with special needs. (Which are going completely unmet.) There are about 10 kids in the nursery ranging in age from 1 to 15 that are severely handicapped and are unable to do anything on their own. Debby had a really hard time with these kids. Their situation just really affected her deeply. And yet, as soon as she got back to the states she emailed asking for more information about two of the kids because they were so on her heart. I just love that instead of being relieved that she was away, she embraced the fact that this made an impact on her life and she wanted to know their stories.

The three of us at Pulhapanzak falls.

Day of the Indian:
July 23rd was the Day of the Indian here in Honduras. It is a celebration of a man named Lempira (now this is the name of Honduran currency). He fought against Spain (I believe!) for Honduras' independence. Or something like that. I'm awful at history. Especially when I'm getting the history lesson in Spanish. But the point is, all the kids at Nueva were little indians on this day. They had a performance, and all the kids dressed up. It was amazing. Isn't she such a beautiful little indian princess? Thanks to Orphan Helpers for making this day happen!

All the kids that weren't in the performance still had special hats and their faces and chests painted. They were so cute!

10 kids performed a cultural dance. It was all very awkward since they are at an age where they are awkward with boys and awkward with their bodies. Which of course, just made the whole thing endearing. =)

Some of the boys that were part of the dance performance. Keep in mind that most of the boys were at least the a foot shorter than the girls. Oh, to be 12 again! Towering over all the boys!!

And now for Richar
Here he is at the Day of the Indian celebration. I wish I could say that so much has happened since our last blog. But, alas, he's still here. After doing lots of research and contacting privately run centers I hit dead end after dead end. The Director told me that if I find him a family in Honduras to live with she'll try to work it out that he can go there. A foster parent sort of situation. So I talked to a Pastor of a large church here in Honduras thinking that surely a family could take him in. The Pastor's response? Taking a boy of that age (his file says he's 10, he says he's 14) is dangerous. Haven't heard anything since. So for now, I'm trying to go as often as possible and am always looking for opportunities to have one on one conversations with him. He has started asking me to take him to live with us in Lake Yojoa. Which breaks my heart a little bit. Especially because I've actually entertained the thought quite seriously. God has a plan for this child. I really want to be part of making it happen!

I really love this picture because it captures him being a silly child. I want him to have a life filled with this! Not fear.

His past is still a complete mystery to me. I know that some of the details from the last blog are wrong. He wasn't separated from his family when trying to get to the US. He was taken from the home when he was 4 because his parents hit him with a belt. When he was 7 he escaped from a center and tried to get to the US via train. But unsuccessfully. He was 'adopted' by a family in Honduras for 3 years, but he can't remember the name of his adopted father, which seems strange. And then recently he told me that when he was a baby he lived in Nueva Esperanza. So nothing really makes sense. And the Director let me see his file. It consisted of the fact that he was male and that they found him wandering the streets when he should have been with his adoptive family. They weren't even sure of his age.
The good news is that the other kids aren't picking on him nearly as much! I've only seen him get angry one time and that was when someone took his spot at the window. And he simmered down pretty quickly. The boys that were such bullies to him before now just sort of ignore him. It's probably been 2 months since he has had a significant bruise or wound, which sadly, is saying something. AND I've never once seen him take advantage of a weaker child. Which for some reason makes me swell with pride. =) It also gives me hope for him. Somehow he's managing to not play the game. At least when I'm around.

I pray that the next time I blog (3 months from now? Ha! Just kidding!) I will have better news about Richar and about all these kids in general!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A week at the orphanages

In our last post we begged my mother-in-law to come to Honduras and spend a week in San Pedro holding babies in an orphanage. Well, after an incredible and potentially life changing week, Edna and her sister-in-law Deanna left Honduras on Saturday!! Thanks again to you both for coming down here and loving these amazing children.

Before last week, Sean and I had been to the Nueva Esperanza orphanage twice, but only for fairly quick tours. It´s amazing how you start to see the heart of the matter when you spend consecutive days there. The first day and a half we spent nearly all of our time with the babies. There are roughly 25 babies and severly handicapped children in this room. The bottom line is that the workers are taking care of the basic needs of these children and have no time for loving, bonding or cognitive development. We tried to give the kids some much needed one on one attention and cuddle time, along with singing to them and playing games. Potentially my favorite moment was when I was holding a child (probably about 1 year old or a little younger) and I just stared into his eyes and he stared back. He would switch between staring at me and searching my entire face, just taking it all in. Here are some of our favorite pictures.

Sean and Denise. She looks just like a kewpie doll!

I absolutely love this picture. Deanna bought a bunch of baby toys (there were a few stuffed animals, but no toys at the center). This little girl just looked and looked and looked at the new toy. So precious.

This was Sean's cling on all week. She is an adorable little girl, but only smiled a handful of times while we were there. Sean got her to warm up a little, but only after a LOT of loving.

The best part about this picture is the kid in the back. What exactly was going through his mind when we took this picture!

This is Cynthia Gabriella - a.k.a. Princess. If Deanna could adopt, this child would be heading to the States!

Edna and Deanna holding some of the youngest.

This was our all time favorite picture of the week. Edna just gave this little girl's hair a trim. It looks like she's not too sure about her new look. Then we have Cynthia Gabriella in the back with her gigantic eyes thinking Oh, no!!! Am I next???

This is where our time at the orphanage got really hard. I debated on how detailed I should get with this story, but Sean said that I should tell it all, so here goes. This might be hard to read, but I do believe this child deserves for his story to be known. It´s very detailed, but I don´t want to forget a moment of it.

This is Richard.

His sweet smile and the hell that he lives in has really rocked my world. Whenever I let my mind wander, I always come back to him and to what we experienced last week. Tuesday afternoon was the first day that we did much with the older kids at this orphanage. After lunch we bought some watermelon and wanted to give all the kids a piece. As Edna and Deanna were cutting the melons, Sean and I were in the cafeteria with the boys (ages 5-12). It was incredible chaos. I noticed 2 boys fighting and went to break it up. One of the boys was Richard. He was crying and the boy he was fighting with was laughing. I seperated them and tried to get Richard to talk to me, but he was crying too hard. Other boys kept coming up and were pushing him or taunting him as I tried to talk. So I just became his protector during the watermelon ordeal and made sure the kids stayed away from him more or less. Later in the day, I was talking to two girls when another fight broke out. Again, it was Richard, with another boy. The female employee was standing a few feet away doing absolutely nothing. I asked her why she wasn´t doing anything. She said that she doesn´t want to get hit. I asked if I could do something. She said I´d get hit too, but that I could. I grabbed Richard and pulled him away. He struggled for a while, got away from me and ran outside onto the gravel driveway. He then started throwing rocks at people in the building. At this point 4 of the older boys came strutting down the stairs and across the courtyard. I wish that I could describe the way they looked. The image is burned into my brain. You could tell that this was not the first time they have been called upon to take care of Richard and you could tell they reveled in the power they had been given. Each of them grabbed either an arm or a leg and started dragging Richard upstairs to the boys room as he struggled with all his might. I followed closely to make sure they didn´t pull a limb out of its socket or bash his head on the floor. A crowd of boys was following throwing things at him as well. We got to the boys room and I thought they were just going to lock him in there to calm down. Nope. They were going to force him to calm down. They were shoving him against the wall. Pushing him down and sitting on him. Hitting him. At this time we had about 12 other boys in the room joining in on the fun. I couldn´t take it anymore and asked the worker if we could have all the kids leave. As they were all leaving Sean came into the room with me. The worker left with the kids and locked the three of us into the room. Richard was crying and yelling so hard and loudly and he was tearing the cloth covering of one of the mattresses. I held his hands to try and make him stop. He then took his shirt off and proceeded to shred the shirt into tiny pieces. Sobbing and yelling the whole time. Sean and I just sat next to him as he yelled "I want my mommy!" "I don´t want to be here!" "God help me!" After about 30 minutes the worker brought him dinner, but the rest of the boys filed in as well. We sat near him and made sure that no one took his food as he ate. Then he went off by himself and laid down on a bed. It killed me to leave him that night, knowing that there´s a good chance all of this was going to happen again.

I saw him again on Wednesday. We talked for a while. He had two shots that morning and he definitely seemed calmer. I talked to some of the girls about him the day before and they said that Richard doesn´t have friends because he is crazy and he had the devil living inside him. It absolutely kills me that he is growing up believing this. I definitely think that he has many issues, but I did not see a crazy child. I see a child who is DAILY being abused by his peers and has absolutely no power to stop it. He tries to fight back, but he hasn´t hardened himself enough yet to fight ruthlessly and without emotion. Therefore, he is an easy target for these boys who need to constantly prove that they are tough (in hopes that others won´t mess with them.)

During our conversation on Wednesday I also learned more about his story. (I am hoping to go back again on Thursday this week with a truly bilingual person so I can make sure that I fully understood him.) He was born in Veracruz, Mexico. When he was four, his family decided to illegally travel to the States by riding on the tops of trains. This is dangerous for healthy, athletic, 20 something men, much less a family with small children. Click here for more info about the trains. At some point in the trip, he was seperated from his family. The government couldn´t find his family so he spent time in an orphanage in Mexico. Then he was adopted by a Honduran family. They fell on hard economic times and gave him back to the Honduran government. Can you imagine if this is true?? Can you imagine having a poor, but loving family that you are seperated from, then grow up in this absolute hell??? He gave me the full names of his parents, uncle and brother. If anyone has any idea how to go about searching for this family I could really use some guidance.

And now the question for us is what are we going to do? I saved some of the rocks the boys were throwing at Richard because I do not want to forget and go back to life as usual. Have you ever read Lord of the Flies? This is that book brought to life. And we kept being reminded that these are children! On Wednesday, Sean and I were hanging out with them and they were showing us all of their gang signs. One of them reminded me of glasses, so I turned the gang sign upside down with my fingers and made "glasses" over my eyes. The next moment all these tough, violent boys were ALL making sunglasses as well. One person I´ve talked to about this said we need to get this place shut down. But if we shut it down, they are just going to go to some other overcrowded, underfunded place. Also, Sean and I kind of have free reign in that building. The director trusts us and allows us to come whenever we want. I don´t want to have these doors closed on us so that we don´t even have access to the kids at all. So, we are going to be rallying the troops here. We´ll be trying to gather as much information as possible about adoption options, hiring more staff, training the staff, moving some of the boys (Richard!) and babies to other, less overwhelmed locations. I am open to suggestions, information or expertise that any of you may have. Uncle Larry - how do I track down Richard´s parents? EZ - do you know how to find information about immigration/adoption laws in Honduras? And once again, for anyone that has even an inkling of a desire to come down here, there is a need, and no matter what skills you have, they are needed here. And for everyone else - please pray for these children. Pray until you can´t anymore, then keep going. And pray that this stays at the forefront of Sean´s and my mind. We want to move a mountain here, and it´s really easy for doubts to creep in about whether or not that mountain can really be moved.