I can’t describe with words how perfect it feels to be back with our boys. The day I arrived at our home, I was able to sneak quietly into our common area where our 46 boys sat in front of the AC studying. A few noticed me and began to shout, “Courtney Didi!” Then the whole room erupted with claps, yeahs and yays! I gave them lots of hugs and kisses from you all ☺
One of the sweetest moments was with Himanshu, an 8-year-old boy who arrived in the home with his 5-year-old brother Harish only a few days before I left. Himanshu ran up and shoved his way through the other little ones to get to me. “Courtney didi!” he said with a big smile and wrapped his arms around me. “I remembered your name. Did you remember my name didi?” What could be more special?! “Yes Himanshu! Where is Harish?!” Then Harish, the jolly bouncy little guy ran over to me and gave me a big hug too.
Just to give you their background, Himanshu and Harish were abandoned by their mother a few years ago. Their father is an alcoholic so their grandmother was taking care of them and their two sisters. The grandmother is really old and poor so she could not provide their basic needs or education. The government stepped in to help, and we were able to take Himanshu and Harish into our Home. The day they arrived these two boys appreciated everything! The food, the plates, the mats, the beds, the games, the friends, the caring staff, and everything else. They really were never sad. Coming from where they were, I am sure this home is heaven for them. We were even able to get them enrolled in school with our other boys. I was here on THursday for their first day. I wish you could have seen their actions as they dressed in their uniforms and put on their school bags-it was pure bliss. Harish could not stop laughing! “Look Didi, this is my uniform! This is MY bag, MY water bottle! NEW!” He was so excited and jumping up and down. I managed to capture their big smiles (Above). I praise God for bringing these little ones here 🙂
Anyway, back to the night I arrived. That night I was sitting at dinner with the boys and I saw something so strange. I watched as our boys quietly lined up for dinner with their plates, quietly got their food, and quietly sat and ate. I was so confused. What happened to my boys? Then Nishar, a boisterous 12 year old, let out a loud chuckle and in his best English said, “Didi, all boys not talking.” I replied in my best Hindi saying, “Yes I know. Our boys are very good, am I right?!” Then with another chuckle he replied, “No didi! Only today. All boys is acting because you came again.” This made all the boys and staff members laugh and the noise level started to rise (and I think it has continued rising since then!). Well thank God!
The kids loved their gift bags from USA. Each one got a bag filled with chocolate, candy, USA stickers, pencils, a rubber bracelet with symbols representing the life, death, resurrection and second coming of Jesus (which were a huge hit!), and pistachios (which were also a favorite!). The cutest part was when the smaller boys would come up to me and show me everything in their bag with excitement, “Look! And look at this too! This one is mine! This is mine too!” I love how they appreciate the small things with so much enthusiasm and innocence. I want to be more like them!
I moved down to the first floor with our youngest group of boys (4-9 years). Earlier I had been living on the second floor with our 10-12 year olds. It was bitter-sweet moving to the first floor. My 10-12 year olds were not happy about it! I am making sure to spend a lot of time with them and I visit them every night to tuck them in. And it has been a blast moving in with the smaller boys. The temperatures are soaring nowadays and it’s really difficult to sleep at night. So the boys and I camp out in the common room in front of the AC. It’s been rough on my back and sleep patterns, but at this point I’m so excited to be back it doesn’t even matter! I happened to bring some glow-in-the-dark stars to put on the walls and they were ecstatic to say the least. Each one of us put up a star for ourselves, including the sisters and me who are caring for these young ones we are 17 in one room. The kids were all Oooohs and Aaaaahs when the lights went off for bed. Again, it’s the small things!!
I was especially excited to see Surrender. He came out of the room with a big smile! He looks great! Strong, healthy, and more adapted to the home. He even gets his own plate, lines up, gets his food and sits down to eat without anyone’s help! And he is now able to take a bath on his own. He still gets down once in a while and it’s hard to get him to cheer up when he is like that. I wonder what he is thinking, if he is remembering the pain of his past, missing someone, or just not feeling well.
Today he was in a funk, he didn’t really want to mingle with the others. When all the boys were playing on the terrace, he just sat next to me with his head down. Then when all the boys went downstairs he wasn’t willing to go…he just stood there and stared out over the terrace into the distance. I stayed up to wash my clothes. As I was washing my things, I called Surrender over to help me. He looked up and slowly made his way over. Then he sat down next to me and watched me intently as I washed. So I took his hands putting them in the buckets and tried to show him how to wash the clothes himself. He wasn’t as excited about that ha!! So I talked to him as he sat there until I finished and then we both went downstairs to join the other kids. I just want him to know that we love him and that he doesn’t have to worry or fear. I long for the day that he can clearly communicate with us…I really believe that day is not too far from now ☺
In addition to all the excitement about being back with our boys, I also am planning to move a couple doors down to our new Girls Home! If everything works out, next week we will be opening the doors of our new rented house to some underprivileged and abandoned girls. I will be helping to start this home along with three other sisters. It’s all very exciting and nerve-racking. And it won’t be easy to sleep away from the Boys Home since I know the boys wont be happy with it and my heart is not completely settled with that fact yet! But all is in God’s hands and I am sure He will give us the strength, joy and ability to continue to build our relationships in this way so that we can open up our family to some more needy children.