Merlinda Reclaims Her Childhood

Merlinda was the oldest of three siblings. They came from a broken home and had been abandoned by their birth parents. Their grandmother sent them out to beg to provide food for the family. They were sickly, scared and hungry.

Eventually the government intervened and placed the three kids in a subsidized foster home. Although they were safer in that home, they were not treated well. They were not allowed to sleep in the house with the “real family,” but were made to stay outside in the playhouse. They would eat out there after the family had finished eating. They were second class citizens, an inconvenience for the foster family that was only interested in the money they were paid to take in kids.

A concerned government worker eventually saw what was happening and referred the three kids to CSC. When the jeep pulled into the CSC compound they were overwhelmed by the grass, the flowers and the beautiful houses. Although they saw the kids going in and out of the houses they wondered where they would be staying. It took Merlinda and her younger siblings quite a while to realize that they were on the “first team” at CSC. They had their own beds in the Cherne Home, and they could eat with the other children. It was almost too much for them to believe.

In the coming weeks and months CSC was able to give Merlinda a gift that helped transform her life. We were able to give her back her childhood! Merlinda hadn’t had one. Even as a young girl she had been responsible for her younger brother and sister. She was charged with bringing home money from begging and with doing housework. Instead of playing with friends, she was standing on a street corner holding her baby sister and asking for money from passing motorists. Instead of going to school she was cleaning the house or worrying about the health of her siblings. At CSC she was able to turn so many worries over to our caregivers. She was able to go to school. She had friends to play with and a beautiful playground where she could run, fly kites and play tag. She learned to play the clarinet and was able to participate in the school Christmas program. She had a chance to learn about a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior that loved her very much. She was a child again!