Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Chance to Dream

Growing up in an orphanage, an orphan's birthday can come and go completely unnoticed by their biological family, their caregivers and the child.  In my 5.5 years living and working in orphanages here in Monterrey, I continue to be shocked at the number of kids who have no idea how old they are, let alone when their birthdate is. You ask them, "Hey Juan, how old are you?" and they simply respond, "I don't know."  Blows my mind every time....

A child's birthday is the day the their family and loved ones celebrate them.  Orphanage life supports all group everything - group clothes, group toys, shared soccer balls, shared shoes... everything is done in large numbers.  So the concept of stopping everything to celebrate ONE child doesn't happen all too often. But the 10 boys who live with me are practically family to me so you better believe we go all out on the calendar date of their birthday.  It's THEIR day.  The weeks leading up to their birthday - or in the case of some of my boys - the MONTHS leading up to their birthday we plan and dream and discuss what they want to do and to eat for their birthday.  Many of them change their mind 100 times before they decide on their personal birthday menu and who they are going to invite to their party.  I love the look of joy on their faces as they dream about what their party will be like.

Last year, one of my boys turned 12 and had the FIRST EVER birthday party of his entire life.  This year he turned 13 and had an awesome party with his brothers.

This year a new boy turned 11 and had his first birthday party with his 4 siblings.  He was very particular about his cake and about the flavor of the ice cream.  We bought so much food for his birthday, that we ended up celebrating his birthday 3 different times with sufficient pizza, ice cream and cake for 16 kids - 3 different times.  That's a lot of food. 

All Gustavo wanted was a Dairy Queen ice cream cake and a trip to the Back2Back property pool... easy.

Happy Birthday beautiful boys!

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