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Three years ago, we shared a heartbreaking story with you on our blog. With raw emotion, our staff reflected on what it was like to welcome a toddler into one of our safe homes.
A Post by Dr. Gundelina Velazco, March 2015:
The content in this story may be triggering for survivors of child abuse.
It’s usually evening when we arrive at the Round Home, carrying a child, who has just come from an intervention by authorities. It is a heartbreaking sight to watch the child, especially a very young child, sometimes a toddler, slowly walk down the bush-lined path toward the round shelter. Every child who walks down this path has a chilling story. The walk is actually a graduation march from a brief but tortured life, into safety and love.
I look at the young stranger with mixed emotions. There is the sense of responsibility and compassion for this little human being whose survival and restoration now largely depend on us. There is anger at the depraved adults who took advantage of the child’s vulnerability and derived sick pleasure from the use and abuse of the child’s body and mind. There is the sense of revolt against a system that perpetuates extreme poverty, which forces starving families to peddle their children as a means to obtain food. There is also awe at the child’s ability to survive. I invite the child, “Come, let me give you a hug,” and in my mind, “I want to hug you because I admire you for having survived all the different kinds of pain in your young life, because you are a treasured piece of humanity, and because I’m honored to now be in a position to help you and love you with a love that hopefully could heal the pain and help you to grow and become what you were meant to be.” And at the precious moment of embrace, I cry inside; my heart is breaking again. There is jubilation every time a child is welcomed to the Round Home. There is also sadness about what it means.
EACH DAY IS A REVELATION. THE TODDLER WHO CANNOT YET SPEAK REVEALS IN ACTIONS THE HORRORS THAT SHE HAS GONE THROUGH…
She is afraid to go inside a room. She howls at the sight of a bed. She goes through an ordeal every time a staff tries to bathe or change her. She is in physical and psychological pain all the time. Her diaper is taken off to be changed, and she goes into madness; she pulls her hair and scratches her face and wounds herself all over. A heart wrenching, unbearable sight of a baby. What have they done to you, baby, that you now punish yourself beyond belief? The medical examination says it all and confirms what we already know to be true. You recoil at the thought of what happened.
No words of comfort, reassurance, or affirmation can get through to this child. You cannot say anything that she would understand. You can only love her. You can only talk, live and breathe love for her.
You can also hope. We have done this before. Someday, as other girls have, I know that she will also walk up the bush-lined path once again, this time saying goodbye and restored and empowered to carve out for herself a normal life outside. I know that this once-wounded bird will have healed wings and soar to heights she was meant to reach.
Catch your breath. Now one more story:
A few weeks ago, our President & Co-founder Rob Morris wrote to you about his recent trip to that same safe home…
A Post by Rob Morris, April 2018:
Just recently I was in the Philippines visiting our safe homes. The children were very excited showing me around our farm. One of the younger girls, Yamile, took me by the hand and led us to where the animals were grazing. She was chattering away with a smile from ear to ear, but I couldn’t stop noticing how small the tiny hand was holding mine.
Yamile is 5.
“Be careful you don’t get emotionally involved” is something we hear often in human services. While I understand this cautionary advice, it’s just not who we are. We always feel the heartbreak of the reality of children who have been hurt in unimaginable ways. And at the same time, we experience the joy of those same children giggling uncontrollably while hugging a baby goat.
As a Love146 supporter, this is what you signed up for: being emotionally involved, and then responding by making sure children affected by trafficking have the life they deserve. Hand in hand with children, your gift is a beautiful response. It’s one way you lean in with us, for their safety and freedom.
These two stories are about one child.
At Love146, we’re not looking for a quick-fix. When we take a child into our Survivor Care, we’re here as long as they need us – and that can be a long time for some little ones. We’re here to see the light come back. We can only journey for years alongside children, like Yamile, because of supporters like you. Thank you for moving with us beyond heartbreak, and into determined compassionate action.
To reach our year-end goal we need to raise $100,000 by June 30th, and we are 60% of the way there. Would you give as generously as you can today to help us reach our goal