Today is day three of trying to get some foster children assigned to my missionary friends. IHNFA called me four days ago and asked for some help finding a good foster home for an 11 month old.
I could hardly drag myself out of bed this morning, I was up until after 1:30 am working on book work last night, after a long day at IHNFA and I was so tired, but I finally did dragggggggg myself out of bed albeit, 10 minutes before I knew I MUST leave the house in order to get be on time for my scheduled appointment at Denny’s with my gringo friends.
I found 500 lempira ($25) and added it to my purse; I just set it inside my purse, not in my billfold. After all I was in a hurry, I sent Jose to add gas to my car with a different 500 lempira bill, and while he was gone, I took a shower, brushed my teeth, brushed my hair, threw on some clothes all in 10 minutes and walked out the door as he was arriving back at the house. I arrived at Denny’s before everyone else, but still later than agreed upon. Whew, they started off with a typical late Honduran day.
We (Melissa the missionary and I) had a scheduled appointment at IHNFA (Honduran children’s services) at 9:00 am but when I asked if it was “Honduran time” or “gringo time” I was told “Honduran time”, so we ate at Denny's talked with old friends, met new friends, called and were told they were ready to see us and then headed out to IHNFA at 10:30ish, Honduran speak for 9:00 am. It was no surprise to me that when we arrived they were not in the office, even though they told us they were waiting for us on the telephone.
The missionary’s husband has spent the last 3 days “buying a car”. So we left him with the man selling the car, an attorney and the attorney’s brother and the Denny’s bill. I gave him 100 lempira for my part of the breakfast and 20 lempira I laid on the table for a tip. Melissa and I left and headed out for our day of adventure.
First we met with two of the mothers of two of the children who are “at risk” and need the “temporary shelter” of a foster home. Mother #1 was raised for 17 years in the IHNFA home and at 18 years old was sent out to live on the streets, with no family and no home and the only place she had ever known as a home was IHNFA Los Casitas. One month later she was pregnant. Mother #2 also had lived in Los Casitas, but I am not sure for how long. She is still 18 and has her baby also.
Both of the mothers are 18 years young, there are no fathers in the picture. Mother #2 had a relationship with a common street thief and he was unceremoniously killed not long after the mother found out that she was pregnant. Both mothers were very loving towards their babies and both wanted what they think is best for their babies, however the best thing is NOT for the children to be living on the streets of the most dangerous country in the world. We introduced them both to the missionary nurse who is willing to raise the children, on a farm in the country. At first both were adamant that they wanted their children NOT to go with anyone else to live. Mother #1 walked out of the room and left. Mother #2 stayed and talked and asked for money.
But while this all this was going on, Mother #3 came in with a 3 month old beautiful little boy. Mom #3 is a “crack cocaine” mom who was nursing her baby and “taking good care of him”. He surely is beautiful, looks healthy and fat, but a crack mom? If she really is a crack mom, how is he so healthy looking? She cried because they were going to take the baby away. It was pitiful. They ask mom #3 for the baby’s birth certificate but she has never registered him. So he exists but doesn’t exist on paper. I have no idea how the social worker and the attorney make these kinds of decisions all day every day. It is discovered from reports that mom #3 and her husband leave the baby where ever and wander the streets at night drunk and high. Many neighbors have reported them and thus she was picked up.
Mother #3 was barely out the door when through the window we hear howling (the kid) and screaming (the mom). The social worker stands up and looks out the window just in time to see Mom #4 with kid #4a and kid #4b.
While the screaming and howling is going on outside the building, we find out that Mom #2 had already given her baby to another woman. That woman went to the Registry of Persons and that woman lied saying the child was hers and got a birth certificate on the child. That happens a lot here, more than I care to think about. Meanwhile that other woman, who is there fighting for the baby and saying how she can take good care of her, the woman whom the Mom #2 had given her baby to, who had illegally gone in and applied for the birth certificate for the little girl, saying she was her mom, walks back into the attorney’s office and asks me for money. “Please, I do not have money for a bus!” So she is here fighting for the baby because she can give her a “good home” and take “god care of her” but she doesn’t have $1 for a bus ride across town. While she is still standing there “convincing” me that I need to give her money, Mom #4 is coming in the door, her son is the screaming kid which we have been hearing outside the window. Mom #4 has in tow, kid #4a her son and kid #4b is a beautiful little girl with wide eyes who never made a sound the whole time she was there.
Mom #4 was turning her son over to IHNFA because he didn’t want to go to school, wanted to be with his dad who is a “drunk” and was running around with “gang members”. The attorney by this time has gone outside and physically picked up child #4a in his arms and carried him in like a 2 year old with him screaming and kicking all the way. Tears flowing, the attorney sat the 9 year old down in a chair and he continued kicking at the desk and wailing. So now we have hard shoes kicking against metal, mom #4 screaming, kid #4a howling, kid #4b wide eyed and beautiful and the missionary and I, the social worker, the attorney, a male helper and the fake birth certificate, not real mom all in a room the size of a very small postage stamp. Melissa the missionary and I sat there watching the show. I looked over at her and she had tears welling up in her eyes. I am watching the show, thinking, “This kid needs some good discipline and a lot of the Word of God.”
The social worker looks at me and asks what I think; I respond this is a spiritual thing and a discipline thing. She nods her head in agreement. She tells me she is a Christian. I am thankful.
The attorney stops mid-stream and asks if I have found a home for a 9 year old boy who does NOT have AIDS. But his mom and dad are dying of AIDS and his little brother and sister 2 and 3 years old are in an AIDS clinic/home already, they too are dying. He is hoping to get the boy placed where his mom and dad will know that he is safe and sound with a home to grow up in, before they die. According to medical people mom’s death is imminent, so there is a huge hurry and of course they want someone who is willing to allow him to visit mom and dad until they die. And what is left unsaid is that after they die, all the family members who currently do not exist because there is medicine to buy and caskets to buy, will show up to claim the child as soon as mom and dad are in the ground, because he is old enough to work and he is a boy and he can contribute his money to their family. Does anyone want a 9 year old little boy?
Without any regard for the conversation taking place, the “fake mom” for child #2 is still asking for money but she has been shoved out the door by now yet she continues to pop her head in and out of the door. The attorney shoos her head and shoulders out of the room, her feet and legs were already outside. By now there are about 7 other people gathered in the hallway to watch as the show unfolds. The attorney slams his hand down on the desk; the kid quits crying for a second and then starts it up again. I look at the missionary, she looks at me. The attorney sends all the others down the hall, but they only partially comply, moving a few feet down the hall and edging their way back towards us to see what is going to happen. The attorney gets up, crawls over the screaming kid’s legs, who is still kicking the desk, crawls past the other man who is helping to control the kid (lol) and then crawls over my legs and the missionaries legs, passes by mom #4 who is still mad as a wet hen, past beautiful little girl #4b and disappears down the hall, herding all the people standing in the hallway as he goes.
You might be thinking, “Why doesn’t he just shut the door?” The reason is that it is 83 degrees, noon and high sun, roof with no insulation under it, one window, a room the size of a postage stamp about 8 feet by 7 feet, replete with 2 desks, 5 chairs, 6 adults and 2 children and head and shoulders of yet another adult popping in and out. Oh, and I almost forgot body odor and stinky diapers.
The street mom, mom #2 takes advantage of the attorney being busy, remember she is the one who has the 11 month old, whose father was a street thief who was killed, walks back in and asks me for money, which I declined to give to her. She walks out again.
The attorney still is not back. So we chat with the social worker who says her dad wanted her to be a nurse but she wanted to be a social worker.
Another lady who came with mom #1 walks in and asks me for money. She explains that she is a street missionary and lives on donations. I explain to her that I have not cashed a check today. This is my normal way out for the 20 times a day which people ask for money, except for the days which I do cash a check and then I just stay home. She explains that she will have to walk to downtown if I don’t give her money; I explain AGAIN that I have not cashed a check today. She kisses me goodbye, holds my face in both of her hands, and smiles with every other tooth missing, her which probably have been touching dirty diapers are now holding my face, she kisses me again on the cheek and heads off out the door to catch a private cab which is 3 times as expensive as a bus. Go figure! Of course one of the others was excited to tell me about the private taxi; just where I would know that she really didn’t need the money, but I am sure they expected a reward for the information. Meanwhile several people ask Melissa the missionary for money.
The attorney walks back into the room and starts caressing kid #4’s head and talking to him and he calms down. He has been screaming most of this time. The social worker asks him a question and he says that mom is abusive to him. She (the mom) starts screaming at him and he starts making “go to hell” eyes at her. When he furrows his eyebrows, I finally get a good look at him to see that his forehead looks like he has been dragged across asphalt or rocks. Mom #4 continues telling how he refuses to be obedient and he is always in the streets and won’t go to school and he calls her a liar. They give him a pencil and paper and he starts writing like a 2nd grader even though he has said he is a 4th grader. They asked him his name and he tells them one thing, then mom says he is lying and his name is something else. Who should we believe? She is asked if she has a birth certificate for him to prove his name, but she has none.
I look at the missionary and she no longer has tears in her eyes. Thank God, I was thinking that this whole thing might be too hard on her, but we still had not finished our business. How could we with all of these interruptions.
The street mom, Mom #2, who has the 11 month old, whose father was a street thief who was killed, walks back in and asks for money, which I declined to give to her for the 3rd time.
It is decided that we need to go talk to the judge at the children’s court to see if we can have a little boy who is 2 years old given over into the foster care of the missionary. We get up to go. The hall is once again filled with people, each of which looks us over as we walk out the door.
We go out to the car, but of course someone has parked behind us and we cannot move until they come out of whatever office they are in to move their car. We finally get free to leave and Melissa the missionary looks at me and says, “I don’t pray for you enough. I need to pray harder for you.” I laugh. It is now 1:15 and we head to the courthouse. On the way, I decide to stop and use a clean bathroom for a minute and then decide to leave my car and take a cab because the Kid’s Court is in a bad neighborhood and you have to park several blocks away.
I call about seven taxis and all are busy. Finally I call a friend of one of the taxi drivers whom I know and used to trust, until this afternoon I trusted him anyway. The guy shows up in a 1918 model taxi with no shocks, no air conditioning and the windows rolled down. Melissa the missionary and I get in, my butt hits seat springs and they are not comfortable. I pull my gun out of my purse and place it between my legs for easy access in case I need it. The taxi driver visibly gulps. I call the friend who referred him to me and tell him that it really is not correct that he referred me to a taxi with no windows and no air conditioning, it is not safe in Tegucigalpa and he knows that. He says he knows, but he is his friend and it will never happen again. I am sure it won’t happen again at least until the next time he can’t do a run and refers him again, two taxi telephone numbers off my list. The taxi driver drops us off, I give him the 85 lempira plus a 15 lempira tip and he speeds off.
We go into the courthouse, wait for the papers on the case. Chat to pass the time and then go up stairs to the waiting room to see the judges. My phone rings with a problem about two children siblings who were “rescued” by IHNFA and escaped and now have to be re-rescued. I am told that they want to go to a children’s home where the other two siblings are living. Since the missionary who the children escaped and ran back to wants them in a safe place, she called me to help with the details. The waiting room is about 100 degrees, several moms and dads waiting to see the judges. A case worker from another ministry was with a little girl and her mom with AIDS, and there were many other cases of moms and kids. Two teens walk in escorted by armed police guards, two different teens walk out escorted by armed police guards. Melissa the missionary and I sit and sweat. The place stinks. I call IHNFA and arrange for the children to be turned over to the children’s home on Thursday. By now I am bored and hungry, I pull out a piece of candy for myself. I give some kids in the waiting room some candy. About an hour later we go in to see the judge. He agrees to what we need. We are told to bring in paperwork next week. He also agrees to the rescue of another kid who really needs rescuing. We leave, go downstairs and wait for Jose to pick us up in his car with windows and air-conditioning. I didn’t want to give another unknown taxi driver a heart attack by pulling out my gun and placing it between my legs.
We then went to the Attorney General’s office where we give them the paper with the order to “rescue” the boy at risk. It is basically a capture order but since it is for a child it is called a “rescue order”. They agree that they will rescue him when they can.
Completely worn out we went to TIGO to pick up Melissa the missionary’s two new telephones. On Wednesday we spent more than two hours filling out the paperwork and were supposed to go in and just pick them up. That was a joke! We spent another two hours redoing the paperwork and getting everything tweaked and then off to eat Chinese. We still did not get the telephones which were promised for Thursday afternoon. Now they will be sent by courier sometime next week. I have 100 lempira which says that it won’t happen… but that is the plan.
Chinese food was good and since we had not eaten lunch we were starved. Jose dropped me off at my front door and Melissa the missionary and her husband took off in their newly purchased car. Before Jose could get the car parked, I was asleep, so I am writing this early morning Saturday but posting it late night Friday… The wonders of blogging!
1. The rescue order written and delivered for a teenage boy who will be picked up by the police.
2. An agreement for the placement for a 2 year old boy with Melissa the missionary.
3. The verbal agreement for placement of two children 11 and 13 years old in a private Christian children’s home.
4. An appointment scheduled for the rescue of two little girls ages 2 and 3, sisters to nine others who have all been placed in foster care and mom is pregnant with number twelve and not one of the children have the same father.
5. An appointment scheduled for paperwork for another 9 year old sister of theirs to be signed over for abandonment.
1. The placement of a 9 year old boy whose parents and siblings have AIDS.
2. The placement of a 9 month old girl.
3. The placement of a 3 month old girl.
4. The placement of 3 orphaned little sisters whose parents were killed in a car accident.
5. The receipt of 2 telephones.
6. Delivery and placement of the teenage boy after he is arrested.
7. Follow-up and delivery to the children’s home/orphanage of the 11 and 13 year old siblings.
1. Find the 500 lempira which is missing from my purse.
I need to do a million things tomorrow, but tomorrow is tomorrow.