Samuel sat quietly as he processed the news. He looked through pictures of his new home, and his eyes grew wide. The moment was finally here, and it was starting to feel real.
About seven months earlier, Samuel had come into our transition home in Santa Rosa, Honduras, where we work with our partner organization Legacy of Hope Foundation to provide family-style care for children awaiting a more permanent solution. Samuel had spent most of his childhood in a poorly-run orphanage, leaving him with many effects of institutional care – including great loss and trauma.
When Samuel was just a small child, a family came to volunteer in the orphanage where he was living. The family met and interacted with many of the children, but they felt an instant connection with Samuel. In this moment, they began to pursue him – to bring him into their family. They began the long journey to make sure Samuel knew he was loved and valued by a forever family…even if he had yet to fully comprehend what those words meant.
After a time, Samuel came to live in our transition home. We are grateful that our Legacy of Hope partners were able to work closely with his adoptive parents to help Samuel begin to build a relationship with his forever family. During those seven months, Samuel created a life-book which helped him connect his past to his present and future. And because of the family-style environment of the transition home, he began to understand what it meant to be in a family.
Samuel slowly let his guard down and learned to trust. He was able to connect with his adoptive parents while waiting for the adoption to be finalized, and he started to understand that he would one day share their last name. Even on the hardest days – like when court dates were changed and there were missing signatures on paperwork – Samuel knew his family loved him and would be there for him.
A few weeks ago, Samuel went to live with his forever family. The night before he left the transition home, he had his favorite meal and made chocolate cupcakes. It was a celebration – a celebration of him, his adoption, and his new family.
Today, The Hope Effect and Legacy of Hope celebrate with Samuel’s adoptive family as they are finally able to hold and cherish this little boy – their son. Today, we celebrate the stories of all the children our transition home has served. Siblings who have been able to stay together after being removed from their family, teen girls who have been able to care for their babies and learn what it means to be a mother, and abandoned babies who have been placed into safe and loving families.
And today, we celebrate you – the incredible, generous people who make this all possible! You are changing the lives of children…children like Samuel, and so many others. We are incredibly thankful for your partnership and support. You are doing great things. You are changing the way the world cares for orphans!
*This post was co-written with our partners at Legacy of Hope.