This past Saturday after our trip to the beach (which will be a blog soon as well) we welcomed Stenia to the All Things New family. Stenia is a 7 year old girl who has lived with a distant relative since she was 2 days old. She has never met her Mom, nobody knows who her Dad is, and she has been living with the same woman since she was born. She is very old and just cannot take care of Stenia anymore.
I (Matt) met Stenia back in May when a friend of ours and pastor at a local church told me about a child who was about to be placed in an orphanage. I met Stenia and the daughter of the woman who Stenia lived with (the woman was too old and sick to travel) at my house and we just talked a little bit. The woman said that Stenia needed another place to live because the woman’s mom was too old and because they live in a small 1 room house with 4 other people. Their plan was to take Stenia to an orphanage regardless if it was All Things New or not.
I asked them to please wait a couple of months until we could figure out what to do next and they agreed. We sent a couple of our people into the area where Stenia lived to find out more about her situation. Each time they went it was clear that Stenia’s living situation was not good and for a variety of reasons that I will not share today she needed to live with us.
When I went to her house and sat down with her caregiver for the first time, I told her that we wanted to help. I asked her if she would keep Stenia with her if we took care of her by providing Stenia with food, schooling and tutors, medical care, and anything else she needed. Her response was no, that she has to put her somewhere else and that she can no longer take care of her no matter what we do. When she said that, it was clear that Stenia would be living at All Things New very soon.
Stenia cannot read or write and she does not know her letters which means she has definitely never been to school. She has moved around a lot because the woman with whom she lives cannot afford to pay rent at her home when each year ends so they move to another area almost annually. When she came into her new home at ATN and saw chalk boards covered in writing, kids playing with toys and eating, and a recently purchased bed and mattress with sheets put on just for her she immediately said, “This is very beautiful.” She walked right in, started playing, and had to be reminded to go and tell her caregiver good bye.
After the first 2 days of her living with us I asked Gina how she was doing. Her response was that she is so comfortable with us that you cannot tell the difference between her, Gladine, Samara, or Tilene because it is like they have all lived there forever. She is very sweet and she is clearly doing her best to please everyone and be nice to everyone right now. There is always this honeymoon period when a new child is afraid to do anything wrong because they do not know that we will love her unconditionally yet. I hope that honeymoon period ends soon so that we can get to know the real Stenia.
Please pray for Stenia. She is 7 years old and she is living in a new place with new people for the first time and it must be terrifying. She is fitting in well, but please pray that she feels like she can be herself and that she knows that she is loved and cared for. Pray for continued wisdom as we care for her and as we seek GOD’s guidance for the direction of All Things New.
If you would like to sponsor Stenia, please click here and let us know!
Our sponsorship program is how we care for our kids on a daily basis, and we would love for you to join us in being Stenia’s first sponsor. You will be able to communicate with her, send her letters and small gifts, and see her grow up into the woman that she was created to be.