Friday, 20 July 2012

When our work is done

For a family in crisis, the Happy House is a bridge over troubled waters.
It provides a safe haven, filled with love and laughter, to ease a child through times of sadness and loss and give family members a chance to find their feet again. If, and when, time comes that they are in  a position to be able to give their child a home with security, family and education, it is right that they should do so.
For our very first Happy House child, Benedict, and for a newborn baby, Joe, the Happy House has provided a security blanket in time of need.
Ben , 2012.

Joseph came to us when his mum died shortly after giving birth to him. She had fallen into a coma during in labour and  passed away without gaining consciousness or having a single a glimpse of her beautiful, newborn son.
Her husband, Julius, who had taken her to hospital with all the joy and anticipation of becoming a father for again, was totally bereft.
With older children support, a job to hold down, and no family nearby, Julius turned to the Happy House for help and Joseph joined our family.
Julius kept in constant touch, although he lived many miles away, phoning for news and making visits when he could and by March last year, a sister in law Esther had offered to give a home to Joe and to take care of the baby boy, allowing his father (above left with Joe and family) to continue to work as a caretaker in Malindi where his eldest child is at secondary school but to see him far more often. Such is the situation in many Kenyan families.
Joe is now 17 months old and thriving, Uncle Billy, volunteer Jessika and some of our children - who looked upon Joe  as a little brother - have been to visit.
Uncle Billy says:"Joe lives with his Aunt Esther, her husband and her children. they live in a humble, rural home where peasant farming is the main lifeline. They have a few goats and chickens."
Volunteer Jessika, Uncle Billy and some of our kids visit Joe and his dad
Joe on the day he left our Happy house family in 2011

Joe sees his dad regularly and is thriving with his own blood relatives, just as it should be. 
"We were so happy to see this handsome little person doing so well," adds Billy
 For all those who were in Joe's sponsor family while he was at the Happy House, and who now sponsor our baby David,  and for those who sponsor Ben we know this blog will have special meaning.
Ben has also returned to his family. Our very first Happy House child he came to us in February 2010. His mother had died a few months earlier and he was a lost and unhappy little soul. His grandmother, in grief herself, was unable to cope with the demands of a troubled four year old.
His family,too,  have always remained in touch and made visits and now they are able to provide Ben with a good and stable upbringing and to educate him, he has returned to them.
It has been a slow transition. He has been going on regular visits, staying over, and was ready and eager to return for good.
Ben with Mama Sue in February 2010
We have seen him grow and flourish. He's confident and happy. As our first child Ben will always have a special place in our history and our hearts, and the Happy House in his.
But Mama Sue has always said the Happy House, which works closely with the local Children's Services Department, is there to help children in need, it is not about splitting families. If circumstances should change, and it is in a child's interests, then a child may return to a home with blood relatives.
This also makes room for another child in far greater need.
The stories of baby Joe  and Ben are  illustrations of this policy in action and while we were sad to see them  go, we know both litte boys are much loved and well looked after.