From the Dumpsite to Pennsylvania

Going to the local dumpsite to try and earn a living by finding saleable items is a desperate move for a young teenager. But hunger, despair, and the responsibility of caring for younger siblings can cause a young person to do what he would otherwise not dream of doing. Such was the case for Jonathan.

When both of their parents died within nine months, Jonathan and his three younger siblings were dispersed between relatives, none of whom really wanted them or could provide for their basic needs. Being unwanted is a very difficult thing for a young person. But being hungry and unwanted is worse. Jonathan watched his younger siblings become sick and malnourished. He had to drop out of school because there was no money for supplies, and trying to learn on an empty stomach is just about impossible. So Jonathan started going through garbage at the local dump, looking for plastic bottles or any scraps of metal that he could sell to purchase food for his family. But the dump can be a dangerous place, where infections and disease are very real risks of the trade.

Jonathan and his siblings would often go to a nearby church for shelter. The pastor and his wife were kind to them and the congregation would sometimes provide them with food. They enjoyed going to Sunday School. It was the only safe haven that they knew. The pastor’s wife is the sister of one of the CSC house mothers, so she called us and referred these four children. She and her husband have several children of their own and they could not continue to provide food and shelter for these kids. It was a difficult decision for the staff to make, considering that Jonathan was already 16 years old, and the prospects of finding an adoptive family for all four seemed pretty remote. But they decided to take them in, trusting God for their future.

The first weeks were spent in trying to get the kids well. Jonathan was very sick upon admission and had to spend some time in the hospital. The youngest child, Jesse, was also very sick and needed medical attention. Eventually they were able to join the other children at the Shelter and begin school. Jonathan was aware that the younger children might be placed for adoption without him, because of his age. He went to live in the CSC Teen Home while his younger siblings moved into the Cherne Home.

Jonathan was thrilled to be in a situation where he and his siblings were safe, well fed and where they had a chance to go to school. He was able to concentrate on his studies as he prepared for high school. CSC’s intervention in their lives had produced happiness, health and a sense that things might be okay for this family. But the future was still uncertain for Jonathan.

The children made good progress at CSC. The staff prayed for them and that God would make a way for them to have a family through adoption. Later that year they heard that there might be a family interested! They are a large family with lots of adopted children and a wonderful faith in God. But because of the number of children they already had, it was not certain that the Philippine government would approve them. Paul Healy went to Manila to talk to the Adoption Board and everyone continued to pray. A couple months later the staff was informed that the couple had been approved, and that Jonathan would be included. It was a miracle of God’s love and grace.

When it came time to tell the children of the news, they were brought to the school library to meet with the staff. When the news was broken Jonathan began to cry, thinking that he would not be included. That was cleared up quickly and then the floodgates really opened. God had worked in a way that seemed impossible! They were going to have another chance at a family. They were wanted!