It was almost 9pm and Richard was coming back from running a late night errand. He would always glance down one of the side roads on our street, trying to catch a glimpse of the kids who frequented our home. Usually they were out playing in the street, dirty as could be, without an adult in sight aside from the occasional drunk man passed out on the side of the road.
This time was no different and he spotted little Frankie running towards him. He recognized his little voice shouting, “Estou com fome!!” (I’m hungry!)
He told me this when he got home and my heart broke just a little more for these kids.
That was more than a year ago now, back when starting a children’s home was just a whisper from the Holy Spirit. Back when we were still trying to ignore that voice because we knew starting a home would be hard and our life was hard enough.
As the months passed, we got closer and closer to Frankie and Rosa told us his story.
Frankie was neglected by his biological parents and was essentially raised on the streets for the first four years of his life by his older siblings. He constantly had open sores on his body and head and his teeth were rotten because his diet consisted primarily of Cheetos and candy.
He would have angry outbursts to the point of being violent at times, evidence of a child longing for someone to guide him. He was defensive, always protecting himself.
About six months ago, Rosa took him into her home. His biological mother signed away her guardianship without a second thought.
Before this time, Rosa was already his primary caregiver, though he still slept at home with his biological mother on weeknights. On the weekends, Rosa would let them sleep in her living room because his parents left him and his siblings home alone to fend for themselves. Rosa would make them meals and give them baths and clean clothes. When he first moved in with her, he still had anger issues. He hated baths and school and would eat until he was sick because he was afraid he wouldn’t have his next meal.
Since that time, he has grown into a strong, happy little boy. He is now six years old and loves to play spiderman and help Richard with the banana trees in our back yard. He’s learned to be polite and control his temper for the most part. He is even learning to read with the help of an afterschool program that Rosa has enrolled him in. He has grown significantly and no longer has the skin issues he once had.
Many of you who have traveled down on trips have met Frankie and you remember him because he brings a contagious smile wherever he goes.
Frankie calls Rosa “Auntie” but he knows she’s really his adoptive mom. Someone once asked him if he wanted to go back to his biological mom. He responded, “No!” When they asked why, he replied, “Because Tia (Auntie) Rosa loves me. She takes care of me.”
And it’s true. Rosa has the gift of caring for these kids as her own, much like God loves us as His own.
Because Frankie is not Rosa’s biological child, she does not have access to any financial help from governmental programs. If you would like to help support Rosa through sponsoring Frankie monthly, follow this link.
To make a one-time donation to Grace House, click here.