A couple weeks ago, I arrived at Del Norte and was greeted by three new faces. They belonged to three new children that had come to the home only days before, and they carried fear and confusion. I remember watching Vicky’s big eyes take it all in at lunch that day, her gaze flipping from child to child as this one had a meltdown and the other one goofed off with his friends at the table.
Only days before, these 3-year-old twins and their 4-year old sister said goodbye to grandma and grandpa, left what they knew and came to live in the children’s home. Because they said goodbye, I got to greet these sweet little ones.
That night, I sat with a visiting group as we shared our picture of the day, and without thinking twice, I shared with them the mental image of the 3 siblings who I had met that day. “It never gets easier to see a child dropped off in a children’s home”, I told them. Whether it is ultimately better for them or not, the separation they are experiencing on top of the sensory overload of entering an institution with 30 other children is beyond my comprehension, and watching them go through that, even from the outside, made my heart ache.
The fear and confusion ultimately gave way to tears for Vicky’s twin brother Sebastian. This strange blond girl picked him up and tried everything she knew to comfort him- singing, talking, rubbing his back. I think I confused him more than ever. Then, the most beautiful moment came when I finally lifted him up into a swing and began to push him, talking to him all the while. It wasn’t long before his tears stopped and his pursed lips broke into a smile. Soon, that smile released a giggle, a sweet sound of hope in the midst of his goodbye.