Adopt-a-Child is an optional activity that is offered to the in-coming short term mission teams. It is usually the highlight for the people that choose to do it! Sometimes it is every team member and sometimes it is every two team members (to economize), that receive the care of a Guatemalan child for the day. We use our Embrace children that are on the wait list, without a sponsor yet, as a way to bless them and to also look for potential sponsors. If a person is already a sponsor, we arrange for them to spend the day with the child that they are sponsoring. This gives a very unique and personal opportunity to really spend some quality time, together with their child, and the chance to really “know their child” and to let the child know them.
The parents bring their children to the ministry center in the morning and are allowed to hang around for awhile to let their children acclimate to being with their “gringo mom or dad for the day”! There is an ice breaking time of playing with bubbles, giving the child a trinket that they brought, playing on the playground equipment and other games that have been set up.
The children usually make a picture frame for their craft time that will be filled with a photo that is taken of them and their team member……something for them to take home as a remembrance of their special day! The children are taken to our ministry clinic store and allowed to pick out clothes, shoes, toys etc.
The children eat their lunch at the center and then we take them to the “hot baths” that are just down the roads, where they have a time to play in the water and just have fun……something they don’t often get a chance to do!
It is hard to put into words the change that takes place during this whole process. You see a child that starts out timid begin to open up and then be a totally changed child by the end of the day. You have team members that were apprehensive on “how they were going to communicate or relate to this child” lose all inhibition and find ways to show love and bond with this child that surpasses any language barriers etc. You see sponsors that are with their child for a second time marvel over how the child jumps right in and is totally open to them from the start…and to take note of how much their child has improved from receiving their Embrace benefits.
Sometimes, sponsors finish off their day by doing a “home visit” with their child and family. When the parent comes to pick them up, they go in a hired pickup to actually see where and how their sponsor family lives! This is a truly enlightening experience and much more impacting than reading on a Family History Sheet (that the sponsors receive), that their family lives in a house of palm branches, mud etc. It is a very special opportunity to see first-hand how the family lives and to see the difference that you are making in their lives, as a sponsor!
For those that are not sponsors, there is no obligation beyond having provided a fun filled day for the child. But many choose to begin an on-going relationship with the child and their family and make the decision to begin monthly sponsorship through the Embrace program.
This is one way that we are able to truly show people involved in Embrace the difference that this program makes in their lives! Below is a video presentation that gives you an idea of how this Adopt-a-Child activity actually plays out: