The total is now at 19! We had been waiting for another little boy named Matias to arrive. He lived with the five siblings in House 3 before they were placed in children's homes. He followed them in some of their children's homes, but was left behind in one of the homes when they were transferred. They all call him their little brother and asked if he would be able to come. When the houseparents agreed to taking on one more child, we contacted Nilda, a child advocate, who was responsible for bringing the five siblings in House 3 here, the paperwork was fixed and Matias was able to be transferred here. House 3 now has 11 children. When he arrived on Tuesday we learned that his birthday was the following day!
On Tuesday Shaun went with the house parent in House 3 to find the home of Miguel Angel. He arrived here in January from another children's home with zero paperwork. We didn't have an official name, birthdate, or anything! He was an considered abandoned child when taken into Paraguay's child services. Miguel Angel remembers where he is from and occasionally cries to go back home. We decided that the best thing would be to take him back to his town so that we could find his family and discover a little about his past. Shaun said that the trip was very difficult and that he understands even more the need for homes like ours. The conversations were in Guarani entirely, so Shaun could only read the body language during their hour visit. Miguel Angel's mother is very young and has six other children. She had no idea where Miguel Angel was, nor did any of the other family members. I have given this story to explain that the family gave us Miguel Angel's birth certificate and we were finally able to know how old he was and what his legal name was. His birthday passed in April and he turned 10. Since we were about to celebrate Matias and Thalia's (she turns 11 today) birthdays, we decided to have a big party and celebrate for Miguel Angel as well.
I will share a little about the three children that celebrated their birthdays:
Miguel Angel turned 10 in April. He is in the first grade for now (although we may try to change that now that we know he had already completed second grade before coming here). He scored perfect on my English exam that was this past week. He is very smart and normally extremely happy. Please pray especially for him as he is having a hard time right now adjusting to his family becoming a part of his life again. He was living on the streets before coming here and he desperately needs the Lord's help to heal him emotionally from the life that he lived before. Pray that he would feel loved and that he would be at peace living here.
Matias turned 7 years old and is in the first grade. He just arrived so I don't know him very well yet, but I have heard from his house parents that he may be quite a little handful. He is very energetic and already seems completely at home. He is very affectionate and already has a long list of things that he would like for me to buy him! :)
Thalia turned 11. She is a special little girl. She is in the first grade. Her favorite activities are singing and dancing and she is almost always either singing or dancing, or combining the two. She is very pleasant and a very good worker when it comes time for chores. The changes that have occurred with her since she arrived are amazing. She is becoming a lovely young lady.
Tuesday was a busy day! We also received a package from some missionaries that live in Ciudad del Este, Jamie and Marion (click to see their website). The package was STUFFED with scarves and hats for the community, prints of paintings Jamie created, hand-knitted teddy bears sent from a group of ladies in the UK, and a few exciting gifts for Abi. The children were so thrilled with their packages and have been sleeping with their little hand-knitted bears. Even the oldest boys showed me how they had their bears tucked in! Thanks so much to Jamie and Marion for these wonderful gifts!