24 Jun Faces of Children of Hope: Baby Elaine & Jonathan
In these past ten months, we’ve been tremendously blessed with the addition of six new beautiful newborns in our Kikuyu home. Throughout the years, we’ve typically had kids from different ages join our family but this time around, it was our blessing that Natasha, Jesse, Elaine, Joshua, Jonathan and Stacey were all coincidentally just a few months old when they were brought into our care. Regardless of their age, every single kid that joins our family is received with an incredible amount of excitement that shakes our home.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Across Kenya, childbirth is seen as a blessing and newborns are welcomed into their homes with songs, dance and other traditional rituals. Our Aunties, Uncles and older children continue practicing these traditions, amongst others to honor our culture and heritage. This month, we want to welcome you into our home and share with you our ‘newborn welcoming traditions’ in addition to some updates from two of our newest family members, Elaine and Jonathan.
Welcome to Our Home
As soon as the Aunties and Uncles are notified that there will be a new baby joining one of our homes, the buzz and preparation begin. Depending on how many of the kids are home from school, word of a new youngling joining us can spread like wildfire. The anticipation kicks in and the countdown begins.
On the set day of arrival, Aunties, Uncles and kids dress up with clean clothes and rehearse a welcome song. It is Kenyan tradition for these songs to praise the Lord and showcase the joy of welcoming a newborn into the family. When the bundle of joy arrives, everyone who is at the home will run to the vehicle with excitement to receive the baby. After a moment of appreciation, the dancing and singing kick off – it is a moment of immense joy. Once the Aunties and Uncles make their way into the cottage with the newborn, some of the older kids will take turns holding their new sibling with a big smile and extreme excitement.
Aunties, Uncles and kids receive newborn babies into the family with open arms, excitement and lots of love.
At two days of age, baby Elaine was abandoned by her mother and found by an elderly woman in a grass field. Upon hearing this story from the Children’s Department, we were entrusted to take her into our care and welcome her into our loving family. Elaine was greeted with great excitement, songs, dances and during the naming ceremony, was named after Elaine, our Chief Operating Officer.
At 11 months, baby Elaine has developed quite the cheeky personality. She is very playful and active, which entices many of the older kids to play with her. Whenever Elijah, Mary or Agnes are playing with Elaine and are talking to her, she will babble back in ‘conversation’ with them. Elaine’s character is most apparent when she sets her sights on something, She will push and make interesting sounds until she gets what she wants.
Baby Jonathan’s welcome by the Kikuyu Aunties and Uncles since majority of the kids were at school when we were blessed with this bundle of joy.
We were blessed with baby Jonathan on July 17, 2018, when he was only one month old. At the time, Jonathan was the first of the baby boys to join our family. Some of the older boys, like Anthony, in particular, grew attached to him fairly quickly and would visit him constantly in his first month in the home, to check on him, cuddle him, and see how he was settling in. Today, Jonathan and Anthony have a special bond and it’s heartwarming to see how much they care about each other as ‘brothers’. Thanks to all of the love, Joshua is growing fast. He loves food and only cries when hungry or uncomfortable – the Aunties really appreciate this!
With every new baby in our Kikuyu home, the Aunties at the Kitalale home wonder when they’ll have the opportunity to care for one of their own.
Bringing new kids into our homes is a celebration of life and new beginnings. This celebration also serves as a reminder that there is still work to be done when it comes to providing a safe, loving home and environment for hundreds of kids in Kenya.
Despite the higher costs of raising a newborn (formula, diapers, medical check-ups and clothing), bringing new life into our homes gives us joy as we continue our mission of caring for orphaned and abandoned children.