Meet "Jeanette". This little knockout is going to be my daughter!
"Jeanette" is almost 10 years old. She has spent most of her life in an orphanage. I was blessed enough to be able to get in contact with the woman who sponsors her. This mean that this woman sends her necessities that her orphanage cannot always afford. Things like soap, shampoo, toilet paper, toothpaste. And she gets to send her a present for Christmas. She also donates a set amount of money each year that goes toward buying fruit for the kids (a rare treat), books, and to buy birthday cakes for the kids.
Yes you read that right my daughter lives in a place where there sometimes isn't toilet paper for her to use, soap to wash with, and my daughter eats a bland diet that does not give her the proper nutrition she needs to thrive. Break my mommy heart. This generous woman helps to fill in some of those needs. She also exchanges letters with "Jeanette" and gets photos sent to her. She has been so amazing and shared letters written by my little one with me and lots of photos. Such treasures to Josh and I! I have to say from the pictures I've seen it looks like the caretakers in her orphanage really do care about the kids and they look to be very kind.
Second from left
So i will share with you a little bit about her. She loves to dance, sing, draw and do puzzles. Her favorite color is pink. Sounds like your typical little girl right? until the next part. She says she can barely remember having parents. she says she has lived in orphanages (she has lived in at least 2) for many many years.
It sounds as though as much as she wants to be adopted and longs for a family , that she has given up hope of that happening at her age. She has probably spent years watching families come and choose other children. Had to say good bye to friends, and wondered if it would ever be her turn. I have to share some ugly stats with you to help you understand her future without adoption. In her country children age out of the orphanage at 16 they leave with the clothes on their back and maybe a small amount of money. No job skills, not enough education, and no where to go . For the girls the stats show that 70% will be sold into human trafficking where they will become sex slaves, prostitution. 15% will commit suicide within 2 years of aging out. These kids are prime targets for traffickers because they have no family, there is no one to miss them. Outside of the orphanage gates the traffickers wait. They promise jobs as waitresses or working at hotels. They promise honest work and a new life. They are tricked into becoming slaves.
Back to her letters. While "Jeanette" does not know about traffickers yet she understands she doesn't have much chance of a career in the future or pursuing higher education. Do you know what this beautiful little girl full of potential dreams of becoming? She dreams of working in a laundromat. She says clean clothes bring people happiness and she wants to make people happy. Do you know why she feels clean clothes bring so much happiness? Because to her they do . Often times children in the orphanages have to wear the same clothes for days maybe even a week at a time. There aren't enough clothes and there aren't enough caregivers to be washing clothes every time a child wears them. Did you read that? Toilet paper and clean clothes are a luxury to her. Do you see the the picture below, with her hair short. Are you wondering why they would cut off her beautiful hair? Well here is the most likely answer, lice. Now if your little girl came home with lice you would run out to the store to buy treatment and painstakingly spend as long as you had to using the lice comb to remove them. Right now "Jeanette" has no mommy to do that for her. There aren't enough caretakers or time to deal with lice combs and long hair. And they cannot let it spread to all the children. With no money for lice treatments there is little choice but to shave her head.
It's ok though. Hair can be regrown. Her little body can be made healthy and strong with proper nutrition and the right amount of food. And i believe her heart can be made new, the hurts erased by love, both ours and God's. And new beautiful words written in her heart. We can give her the freedom to reach for the stars. to choose a bigger dream if she wants to. Or if she still wants to work at a laundromat that's fine , her family will be here to support her!