As a part of the communications team here at Love146, I have the privilege of reading stories of restoration straight from the Round Home. I've been here just four months and already my email is filled with dozens of updates from Director of Asia Aftercare, Dr. Gundelina Velazco, who is as strong a storyteller as she is advocate for the girls in our care.
We wanted to share one story from Dr. Velazco about family reconciliation that was as profound as it was timely:
The girls in the Love146 Round Home in the Philippines are in our care because of what happened in their lives before. Their families were impoverished, or starving, or dysfunctional, or broken, which led to the girls’ susceptibility to abuse and exploitation.
In the survivor care that Love146 does, we go back and see if there is something that could be mended, a closure that could be achieved. Indeed, when the girls first come to the Round Home, many of them plead for help to have a mother located, a father located, because no matter how their parents treated them in the past, they just need to trace their roots and have some closure.
On May 25th, one more story occurred in the saga of family reconciliations – the story of Chile and Michelle.
Chile was just a toddler and Michelle was still in the womb when their father left their family. A few months after Michelle was born, their mother also left them in the care of their grandmother. Their grandmother raised them selling charcoal. They were always in rock-bottom poverty.
Because of their desire to go to school, they became susceptible to traffickers. Subsequently they were rescued and eventually brought to the Round Home. At the Round Home, they frequently thought of their mother and father and wondered where they could be. They are now 18 and 20 years old. Their search also became part of our agenda.
Earlier this month, the whereabouts of their mother became known. They were able to talk to her on the phone. The whereabouts of their father also became known. So we took them to this hallmark meeting of their lives.
The unbearable wait – after 18 years.
Finally, he was there...
It was a tearful reunion as he apologized.
But the girls are okay now. They can afford to forgive.
This is what they needed. They needed closure. They needed to forgive. They needed to find and belong to blood relations.
Therefore, this is also our agenda in aftercare, because their past is part of their lives and unless they can assimilate the past in a positive way in their present, they always have difficulty looking fully to the future.
There’s more to be done with the other girls. The search continues.
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