The number of children expected to cross the U.S. border alone this year is approaching 80,000, nearly a four-fold increase from 2013 when 24,000 children make the dangerous journey by themselves. They risk their lives by walking through the desert and riding on tops of trains, desperately searching safety and fleeing violence, gangs, abuse, and lack of opportunities. When they get to the United States, like all children, they need security, a home, and a family to help them have hope for their future. Change their lives, and yours, by opening your home and giving them hope. Click here to see how.
John was one of these children that fled to the United States. An orphan, he escaped poverty and abuse in Central America. He made his way to the United States, where he was eventually connected with LIRS. This is his story:
John grew up on the streets in Honduras. At the young age of six, his mother died and he went to live with another family in the community.
His life was difficult and strange in this new place and he had to work hard, giving any earnings to his host family. He received very little in return, often going without shoes.
At the age of 12, he decided to run away and live with his grandmother. While there he saved enough money to come to the U.S.
John was received by Bethany Christian Services when he first arrived in the United States.
“God had a plan for me,” shares John. “For me to have the opportunity to be here – it’s a big gift that God gave me. This country has given me hope and a better life.”
“When I came here, I didn’t have anything. Bethany opened a door for me. I had no money, no house, some but not enough education. Bethany provided me with a house, a school, counselors and a job.”
It was through the outreach by Bethany that John grew in his language and leadership skills. He was the first peer mentor for Bethany. He served as a role model for other kids coming through the immigration foster care system. He even took in an older kid who had some developmental delays to make sure he remained safe and received services when needed.
John met his future wife through the immigration foster care system, as well. Both he and Grace overcame their turbulent pasts and remained positive about their futures. Since their marriage, Grace’s sisters have come to live with them and they now have a three-year-old daughter. They are both active on the youth advisory boards of the program and in their community.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, click here. If you are not ready to become a foster parent just yet, volunteers are always needed to help put on recruitment events, group activities, mentoring for an immigrant child, and connecting LIRS and its partners to churches, organizations and other resources which can bring new foster families! To find out more information about how you can help find foster homes visit http://lirs.org/fostercare/.
Names changed to protect privacy.