I have occasionally displayed before and after photos of some of the children, but I do not like to do that. I would rather celebrate who they are becoming than the awful circumstances of their past. Because our kids look so good, visitors often ask things like “are you sure these children are vulnerable?” We get so used to seeing how well the kids are doing everyday that even we forget how far they have come.
Sometimes there are striking reminders of just how amazing our results are. One example of this came from Judy’s husband, Vin. They were married in November and Vin had been around the kids for about a year and knows them all quite well. One day we visited the home from where two of our little ones come. It is a shack with broken cement floors, almost no furniture, no furniture at all for food preparation or storage, no food, and rags in some corners as the only evidence of bedding. Of course there is no running water, no indoor plumbing, and no electricity. Judy and I had been there before, but Vin was taking all this in for the first time. That night at dinner, Judy was telling us about another place where she found two of our girls. Their mother had died, and their father had recently been killed by an uncle using a machete, in front of some of the kids. The two oldest kids, around age 20, were trying to support the family of seven working menial jobs that paid maybe $2 a day. Judy related that when she met those children and heard this story, she had to leave for a while and cry and compose herself, and then went back to sort out the situation. She brought in two of the girls who are now absolutely thriving and delightful, and the source of tremendous joy in this HH family. As Judy concluded this story, Vin had his head on the table in his folded arms, distraught. He later explained that seeing what he had seen that day, and hearing those details, was overwhelming. He said he had never seen such abject poverty and living conditions. Vin has lived in that area his entire life. Judy said simply: “Welcome to our world.” The fact that, knowing the kids well as they appear now, Vin could not imagine the circumstances in which we found them, speaks volumes about their progress.