I picked up easy child and husband at the Wash, Difficult Child airport last night at midnight, where they had just returned from Honduras. They cried all the way home on both flights, and cried in the car with-me. Leaving that orphanage was so hard for them. Those kids really have no hope for the future. The stories! Don't read past this is you have thin skin. One of the girls, N, was dropped off at the orphanage at birth. Never met a single family member. A few yrs ago, on Jan. 1, on her 5th birthday, she rec'd a call from her father, saying he was coming to get her. The best birthday gift she could ever want! She was overjoyed to meet him. (Yes, it really was her father.) He took her home and raped her. Continued to sexually abuse her until she fought back so hard, he decided to drug her (with-a needle). She escaped 6 mo's later, and now is under guard at the orphanage. It is like a campus, but the bldgs are cement and cinderblock, with-circular barbed wire over the exterior containing walls, like you see in Nazi movies. The children are rarely allowed to leave, never see movies, never go shopping. Sounds harsh, but it's safer that way. easy child said N was the sweetest girl you'd ever want to meet, offered to help everyone, smiled for everyone, studied for classes ... and went to bed crying every night. The boys are housed in a sep. bldg. One who had only been there a few wks was about 5 yrs old, with-the body of an emaciated toddler. His "caregivers" had tied him to a chair and starved him for most of his life. His SI (sacroiliac) joint was so out of place that it was permanently fused in the center of his body. They asked husband and another MD dr to take Xrays, and for Difficult Child to do chiro adjustments, and they both said no. The boy's leg bones were as thin as your first two fingers together. A chiro adjustment would have broken a bone, and an Xray would not have shown anything--the bone mass was too thin. easy child said she brushed his cheek with-her fingers and he leaned into her and rubbed his head on her like a cat. They didn't think he would live this long and don't know how long he will live. Most of the kids are way smaller than their chronological ages, due to malnutrition. For example, one 14-yr-old came up to the middle of easy child's chest. easy child is almost 5'8". Ea one had a story as horrific as the last. The best were those who were dropped off as babies and never saw their parents again. (And now the orphanage does not allow parents to come back; they learned the hard way). Most kids are hauled off the streets by the police. They are hooked on drugs by the time they're 5. One of the girls was going through withdrawal and constantly had the shakes, and asked for herbal remedies, and all easy child and husband could offer was chamomile tea. Pretty lame. She's been convulsing and having tremors for a yr now. On the second day, 4 girls escaped. They used easy child and husband as decoys. They gave everyone a horrid sob story about something, and then easy child was helping some girls with-a craft project, and husband had his back turned, and they ran down a hallway, out the door, and over the fence and barbed wire. Usually, when kids do that, they break a leg, but I don't think anyone broke anything. The lure of the streets is freedom ... boyfriends, drugs, meals out. The lifespan for boys is 25. easy child met one boy whose name she never learned, but he was tiny and pitiful, with-the body of a 5-yr-old. He played with-her and hugged her and he will be gone if she visits again. There is a halfway house for girls between 12-18, but nothing for the boys. They're on the streets anywhere between 12 and 15, typically, with-no skills. Most of the boys around age 12 were only reading at 1st gr level. easy child wants to go back and help open a halfway house or transitional home with-skills training for the boys. She was planning on majoring in art education and definitely wants to focus on art therapy now. She said the kids came alive and thrived when they did craft projects. One of the craft projects was to make home-made Play-Doh. You know, how we mix soda and flour and water? Mistake. That's the expensive way to make tortillas, and the boys started to eat it, they were so hungry. Heartwrenching. The mission group brought lots of meals for the kids, incl. homemade sloppy Joes one night, and pizza another night. easy child & husband said they all ate unbelievably fast, and you had to organize it rigidly so the kids didn't take more than their share. One day the treat was wafer cookies, and the boys were supposed to stand in line to get one. Of course, they'd cut in line and insist they hadn't gotten any, when you could see the first one sticking out of their pockets. easy child and husband also visited the prison. It was called a detention center. It is cinderblock, the beds are cinderblock, the pads they sleep on are 1/4" thick, no blankets, no heat, no A/C. The toilets back up (no plumbers) so the boys learn to poop in bags and throw it out the window. There is an entire outside area next to the wall that is covered with-piles of half-bagged human excrement. One girl was in prison for lying ... to be with-her twin sister, who was in for drug dealing. The twin wanted to be with-her sibling so much that she discovered a bldg had been burned down and she told the police that she did it. The horrific part is, that she was sentenced to a felony, and her sister only had a misdemeanor, and they ended up in different parts of the prison and never saw one another. All the way home, easy child kept zoning out, and tears would start to stream down her cheeks, and I wasn't sure if I should change the subject. Mostly, she was crying for the 12-yr-old boy she met and had to leave the last day, who hugged her and cried for her and kept calling "Tia!" (Aunt!), "Don't leave me!" as she left, reaching out his arms, and she knew that he would be on the streets in a yr. She's angry at parents who do this--especially the dad of the then-5-yr-old birthday girl--and I think anger is a good thing, because it can be a motivator. I knew it would change her life. I thought it would be on more of a massive poverty level. I didn't know she would get to know each child and spend so much time with them. She said they had about 30 babies, and they would cry and cry and no one would go to them--there was only 1 staff person for the entire baby bldg. So she held and touched as many babies as she could, because she knows that developmentally, if you are not touched, your growth is stunted, both physically and emotionally. easy child and husband brought 150# of luggage I think, and it was filled with-diapers and formula. They had to make sure to give it to the mission workers, because the govn't employees would only change the handicapped babies, and leave the healthy babies wet, so they'd get terrible diaper rashes and infections. The diapers that would have gone on the healthy babies were stolen and taken home by the employees for their own kids. easy child got angry when she saw kids at the Atlanta airport during the layover. "Why do 8-yr-olds need i-phones???!!!!" she yelled when I picked her up in Difficult Child, "When there are kids with nothing!" The girls carry their toothbrushes in their hair, like Japanese women with-chignons, so that they won't be stolen. It's all they have of their own, because all the clothes are shared--even underwear. I tried to explain that you'd have to change the entire political system, the culture, everything. So she's determined to go back every year. I bet she will ... once or twice ... We'll see.