In October 2010 I met a little boy for the first time in an "orphanage" in Kampala. He had been there for just under a month and he was the saddest baby I had ever met. I prayed when I got home that God would do a miracle and that they would find his parents, because I just felt that he was missing somebody very, very special.
When I returned to the "orphanage" a week later - he was still there. I was so shocked that his family hadn't come to pick him up, because I was convinced there had been a huge mistake and that they were bound to have found him! I had lots to learn.
Many people think that "orphanages" are full of orphans (double orphans with no other known family), or that they were pit latrine babies (thrown in make shift toliets) or that they had been abused and removed from their families by the authorities. I didn't know that children could end up in "orphanages" because of mistakes, poor processes and lack of record keeping or because of miscarriages of justice.
This photograph was taken the second time I met the little boy. I was heartbroken that he was still there and when I got home I couldn't stop crying. I was really grief stricken witnessing first hand how deeply sad a baby can be. I held my children so much closer that night.
I started visiting the little boy as much as I could, sometimes up to 4 times a week. I started bathing him, feeding him, carrying him, singing to him, just trying to fill the gap of a mother to him. At the same time I was regularly speaking to his social worker about what progress she had made in his case. I just wanted her to feel the urgency I was feeling in trying to trace his family, but she never did.
It seems so strange now looking at the photograph above, because my perspective has changed so much since that photograph was first taken. I fell in love with this little boy over the following 5 months as I became a temporary mother to him and Mark and I even started praying about whether we should adopt him. However everything was about to change.
We would like to share with you a film about what happened next in this little boys story because this is what helped to ignite the work we do now.
Huge thanks to Emanuela Lorenzone who shot and edited this film. What made this shoot even more interesting is that we discovered after we had started filming that Emanuela had actually been internationally adopted herself from Brazil as a young baby, so it became an interesting and life changing journey for us all.
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