Alone No More: Beginning Foster Care in Cambodia
Without a doubt, LWB is passionate about foster care. Over the last twelve years, we have tried to place as many orphaned children as possible into home care in China. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported this life-changing project. When we began our work in Cambodia earlier this year, we knew we wanted foster care to be a part of our projects, but we knew that the orphan situation there was much different than the one we know in China. The majority of children in Cambodia who have been surrendered to orphanages actually have known relatives, and so we wanted to make sure we didn’t begin a project that would raise ethical concerns.
The region in which we are working in Cambodia actually doesn’t have a government orphanage. The majority of children abandoned in this area end up being moved many hours away to the capitol of Phnom Penh.
The border region where we are now helping suffers from great poverty and little access to medical care, and so we have already learned that many children are becoming orphaned due to the death of their parents. In addition, some children are declared orphaned after their parents take them into Thailand to find work, but then abandon them there and move on.
When Cambodian children are found in Thailand all on their own, the police send them back across the border into Cambodia. Then their only hope is for an NGO to become involved to find an orphanage to take them in. Otherwise, many end up living on the street.
At the moment, we have decided that we will only take children into foster care in Cambodia who are designated as true orphans, meaning both of their parents have died or authorities have stated their parents have abandoned them and moved out of country, with no known relatives. Since beginning this project six weeks ago, we now have three children placed into foster homes with a fourth in progress, and we know this program will expand quickly.
First we want you to meet Sampson. In his two short years of life, he has lived through more sorrow than any toddler should have to experience. His father died when he was just a baby, leaving him and his mother without shelter and very little food. He and his mother both became weak and malnourished, and sadly his mother passed away from illness just after Sampson’s second birthday.
When we learned about Sampson, we felt that he would be a perfect candidate for foster care. He had no known extended family, and his mom’s last plea before she died was for someone to take care of her baby boy.
Sampson is still grieving the loss of his mama and was placed with a caring foster mom and a doting grandmother who has plenty of time for cuddles. His new foster family will be there to give him love, nurturing, and guidance as he grows.
We are already seeing the light come back into Sampson’s eyes.
Seeing his newfound smile makes our hearts sing!
Siblings Audrey and Tom have also been added to our Cambodia foster care program following the death of their remaining parent (their father) this fall. They were living on their own in very sad circumstances when we became involved, and we are so happy authorities allowed us to help.
A gentle and caring little girl, eight-year-old Audrey enjoys helping those around her. She is now going to school for the very first time and she has many friends. According to our manager, everyone likes her and she is a popular playmate. She is said to be “absolutely happy” with her new foster family!
Just one year younger, Audrey’s brother Tom is also good at making friends. He’s said to be a hard worker at school where he is learning to read and write Khmer, the language of Cambodia.
Tom is quiet and serious, but we hope that we he feels more comfortable he will show us more of his personality.
These three children are alone no more! However, all three kids need sponsors to help support their foster care placements so they can continue to find the emotional and physical healing that they need and deserve.
Can you help us change the lives of these three children?