heart breaking, tragic, with conflicting details, many unknowns and doubts...or all of the above. Here's another.
Diego’s family came in from the countryside to work in the city. They lived on one of the “hills” in Cochabamba that is dotted with tiny houses and immersed in poverty. Struggles to survive, alcoholism, violent fights and long working hours put the family at much risk. Eventually Diego’s mother couldn’t take it anymore and began telling the neighbors that she would give away her youngest child, then 2, because he was very disobedient and she didn’t love him anyway. There was no father to protest, or at least the man his mother was living with did not claim Diego as his own son.
The mother found her way to child protection offices where she made known her decision. Reading the answers she gave during an interview are heartbreaking: No, I don’t feel anything for him. No, I won’t miss him or come back for him. After a day of testing her resolve but no change in attitude, we were called and asked to take Diego in. He arrived around dark and sobbed at the gate for his mother. She left town immediately, leaving no information and not returning since according to neighbors of their former shack.
Upon arrived to Casa de Amor, Diego spoke and understood Aymara, a native dialect in Bolivia and one of the three official languages. He had to learn Spanish, which he did very quickly without looking back! He was our biggest talker ever in the Baby Home. He was also an extremely outgoing, active little boy whose favorite activities were going out in my car, talking about my car, carrying on a conversation with anyone who would listen (or not!), playing and talking to the other kids, bursting into spontaneous renditions of Happy Birthday (just as likely to be in English as Spanish), and leading the kids in prayer before meal or snack time. He was a ham for the camera and loved seeing his picture afterwards. Diego also had a genuine love for the babies and always watched out for them.
I say was because Diego now has the incomparable blessing of a NEW stable family!! In fact, tomorrow Diego flies to Spain to begin his new life with his doting parents! I will take a few from the Baby Home to see him off. It will be so hard to see him for the last time! Well until I make it on my round-the-world tour…. We were so blessed by Diego’s presence in our home and his absence is felt.
Pictures, top to bottom:
1) Mr. Photogenic! The photographer who came in January fell in love with him, as just about everyone does (he fell and got that scar on his forehead the same day we found out he was assigned parents, in Sept. 2008)
2) First picture at Casa de Amor
3) As a wise man, Christmas manger scene photo shoot
4) Taking in the big news, Feb. 2009: parents are on the way!!!
5) Always ready for a good time!
*name has been changed