At Ekisa, all of our work comes back to the family. We know that a family is the best place for a child to grow up. At our Transitional Home, we work to move children into whatever kind of family best fits their needs. For some, this means reintegration with a biological family member. For others, we are able to identify a domestic foster or adoptive family. Finally, some children find their home in international adoptive homes, eventually moving to the U.S. or U.K. with their families. Determining what is best for each child is a process that requires time, effort, and many prayers. However, the feeling of moving a child out of our home and into a forever home is always the same: abundantly joyful and worth celebrating.
In the past year, we have been lucky to see three beautiful girls find their homes in each of these ways. Their stories are unique to them, neither is quite alike, but each is an example of what Ekisa is hoping to do for every child in our home.
Our first child to move home was Shiloh,* who lived in Ekisa for nearly nine years. While she was abundantly loved as the ‘princess’ of our home, many caretakers and volunteers prayed for years that she would find a loving adoptive home, as years of tracing failed to identify her biological family. Then, during the pandemic, she moved out temporarily to a staff member’s home. Through that staff member, another missionary was able to meet and get to know Shiloh. After Shiloh returned to Ekisa, God continued to work in the mother’s heart, asking her what it might look like to commit her life to this child. After many conversations and honest prayers, she took a leap of faith and brought Shiloh home in June of 2021.
In her first year home, Shiloh has blossomed. She is happier and more engaged, she has grown in strength and communication. Her seizures have reduced and she has grown taller. She has a clear attachment to her mom and loves being in her own home. She is overwhelmingly loved, and forever cared for. We cannot wait to see what her future holds.
Our second child, Zoey,* spent time in two temporary foster homes during the Covid pandemic in 2020 before moving into Ekisa’s Transitional Home. In the spring of 2021, Zoey had a stroke. The damage from the stroke took away many of the skills and development progress she had made during her first few years of life. Before her stroke, a Ugandan family had been considering Zoey for foster care. After praying through the new circumstances, they still chose to move forward and brought her home in June of 2021. Within days, she gained a loving mother, father, big brother, little brother, and extended family. She has made quick progress as she re-learns how to sit, crawl, talk, and eat independently. Every day, Zoey is laughing more, and to listen to her father talk about her is to witness unconditional love. Even in the uncertainty of her case, her foster parents have chosen to love her without reserve, sacrificing their time, money, and space to give her all the care she needs, for however long that may be. In her home, she is able to grow alongside people who look and sound like her. She experiences the culture she was born into, and learns the traditions and customs meant for her. Domestic care offers so many benefits, and we have loved to see Zoey thrive in her new family.
Finally, there is Flora.* Flora entered our care in May when her mother, young and single, left Flora at the police station. Her mother was experiencing a mental health crisis and felt as if she had no other option. Our social work team was able to track her down and bring her back. She had independently cared for her daughter with disabilities for nearly ten years, her love for her was clear and abundant, but she was struggling. Together with another organization and the authorities, it was arranged for Flora’s mother to spend several weeks in a mental health facility, receiving the help she needed. During this time, we cared for Flora at Ekisa’s Transitional Home.
When her mother returned, Flora was overjoyed—calling everyone in the home to ‘come see!’ that her mother was back. Over the next few weeks, our social work team worked with our partner to find Flora and her mom a new home close to Ekisa. Flora was moved out of Ekisa and back to her mother. She continued to attend school while we assisted her mother in starting a small business and maintaining her mental health. Together, both mother and daughter are thriving, reunited, and sustained not only by their love, but by our continued support and encouragement.
Shiloh, Zoey, and Flora are three beautiful and brilliant girls. Ekisa is so lucky to have known and cared for them in our home, but we are even more lucky to have seen them leave. Every day, we pray for more children to move out into whatever home is best for them, into a family committed to loving them forever. We know that, as much as we try, our home can never replace or fulfill the love of a mother or father. Our children were created for family and we hope that like Shiloh, Zoey, and Flora, all of them will soon find it.
Shiloh and her adoptive mom
Zoey and her foster dad
Flora and her mom