Keeping Families Together: Reuniting Manuel David with His Siblings at Casita Copán

A blog post by Daysi Ramirez, Acting Executive Director

Of course I knew which child she was talking about when the lawyer called me; I had seen him many times before when he came with his mother to visit his siblings at Casita Copán. When I was Program Director, part of my job was to be part of the supervised family visits with our Casitas children, so I was able to learn in depth the story of Manuel David and Mirna. A week earlier, I found out that he had been separated from his mother when she arrived for her usual weekly visit without him. She did not know where they had taken him, nor had she been able to see him.

At that moment it was easy to imagine what Manuel David was going through: loneliness, confusion, intrigue, helplessness. The call I previously mentioned was one of the attorneys from child protection services asking if I knew the child and if it was possible that he could be admitted to one of our Casitas. I immediately answered yes and thought of his siblings, who have been living with us for a long time now. The most important thing at that moment was for Manuel David to be reunited with his siblings, so we accelerated the process, and a few days later, the child came to live with us. 

And how has he flourished! I am constantly amazed to see what he is becoming, because all of that is a testament to what Casita Copán means: a safe place, delicious, hot and nutritious food every day, the stability of a routine, medical care when needed, and most importantly, the company of his siblings, knowing that they are together in one place. He gets along very well with his older brother, whom he shares a house with alongside two other children. And he can see his older sister every day at the children’s center. We all know how important material things are, but witnessing cases like this, I can know the enormous difference that family makes– biological and the one found in Casita.

Are you wondering about the mother of these children? She constantly comes to my mind too as I write these lines. Mirna comes every week, usually on Mondays, to visit with her children. A couple of weeks ago, she donated L200 for them, and precisely during her visit this week she told me that as soon as she could, she was going to give me more money for their care. I know what a huge sacrifice it is for her to be able to share the little money she earns washing other people’s clothes by hand.

Mirna is the result of a failed system, the product of all the violence you can imagine, mental health problems that prevent her from maintaining a job and a permanent home, and not having any family or state support to improve her condition. I know how much Casita has done for her in the past, but even we have our limits on what we can do. Still, I always think of her. Every time I comment about my vision for a specific program that can more comprehensively and permanently support women, Mirna comes to mind. Through the conversations I have had with her, I can see how smart she is, how much she loves her children, how much she has had to go through, and how even despite that, she can maintain a smile and somehow, hope for the future of her children. But I also appreciate her story, much like thousands of other women in Honduras, and hope that one day we can also make a real difference for them, just as we have done for their children.

Many times we feel helpless when we see cases like this and are not able to solve what does not correspond to us because they are social problems with such deep roots and the facts so hopeless that we might be oriented to believe that we are not doing anything. However, we must not forget that we do a lot; we are doing everything in our power to serve the community of children and mothers of our organization. Casita Copán is a safe haven where children are safe, where they are cared for, where they have everything they need and where they find a home filled with love. All this support that is channeled through our organization is possible through an entire community of people who come together to support us.

It still amazes me how many people are out there who want to make a difference, and they do so by giving us their support. Along this community, we are witnesses as to how children flourish when they have the support they need and when we focus on keeping families together when it is possible, just like the story of Manuel David and his siblings. They now live very peacefully; they have everything they need to live comfortably; they have time to play and have fun; they are in a stimulating environment where they learn something new every day; they are healthy and do well in school, and, most importantly, They are united as a family.

To provide Manuel David with support on his emotional journey and ensure he stays united with his family, kindly consider making a gift to Casita Copan.