Arabel looks like a typical three-year-old.
She loves pink and wearing long dresses. She asks questions all day long. But behind those dark brown eyes hides a painful story.
We found her at the age of one, abandoned by her father, and in the care of her very sick mother. The plan was to take her in for three months while her mother received treatment for tuberculosis.
Unfortunately, physical pain often masks deeper emotional issues.
After her treatment, the mother regained custody of Arabel. Soon the tuberculosis returned along with depression, and Mom left Arabel at a nearby orphanage.
In this part of the world, orphanages are often seen as the logical course of action when poverty or lack of support bring a parent to the edge of what they can handle. Worse, these institutions are often marketed as the most loving choice a parent can make.
Thankfully, our community team knows about the lifelong, negative effects of parental abandonment on a child. We were able to quickly reunite Arabel with her mom, and take care of them together.
Eventually, despite our best efforts, Mom abandoned Arabel at our shelter. We later found out that she had died, and have been unable to find any living relatives.
Victoria is one of our staff who was working at the shelter that first day we met Arabel. Her husband, John Stephen, is our Community Team leader. Once it became clear that Arabel was facing foster care, these two had a big decision to make. How could they leave this child to an uncertain future after having become so attached to her? And yet, as a newly married couple, having a child so quickly hadn’t been part of their plans. After many conversations John and Victoria both felt that it was right. “Things were completely changed, all of my worries, uncertainties, and insecurities were gone after we simply said yes.’
We’re so excited for them as they start 2017 together officially as a family! Click here to find out more about our Keeping Children in Families program.