It was a little more than four years ago that Carine came to live at the Lar Batista orphanage, she was eight years old. Not unlike many of the girls who come to the Lar, Carine had a family whom she lived with, but because of attempted abuse by her mother’s boyfriend, the courts ordered her to live at the Lar. Even though she was not getting a good public education while staying at the Lar, she was receiving great care. She had three meals a day, new friends, a safe environment off of the violent city streets, and love from the ladies who work there in the orphanage.
I still remember meeting her on my first trip to the Lar. She was eleven years old, very outgoing, full of life and joy. She was usually the one organizing a game for all of us to play, and she loved trying to play my guitar. I was so excited when we finally formed Love Rescues because I knew that she would now be able to receive a great education that would help to keep her from going back to the lifestyle she had been rescued from.
You can imagine my disappointment when I saw the list of girls who would be enrolling into the new school and her name was missing. I immediately began to ask questions and the answers were horrifying me. I found out that the same court that took this eight year old girl out of her home because of an abusive situation had now placed her back into that same environment. Only now, she was not an eight year old child – she was an almost thirteen year old young lady.
On my last trip in March I made it a point to visit Carine in her home. I drove down the narrow streets into a neighborhood that was infested with drugs and violence, until I finally reached my destination . As she came out to greet me her once joyful face was replaced with a halfhearted, forced smile. As we talked I found out that her mom’s boyfriend was still causing trouble. On the weekends he would get drunk and stand outside her window cursing and threatening her. She had been snatched from a place of safety and forced to live in conditions that made her fear for her life. She wanted so badly to return to the Lar, but her mother and the courts said, “No”.
After leaving her house, the next day I went to the Judge’s office and reported what I had seen. As I plead my case to have Carine placed back into the Lar, I was finally told that it was the child’s responsibility to go before the Judge and tell him of her living conditions. Once again, I couldn’t believe how broken this judicial system is to force a child to accuse her mother’s boyfriend. Especially after he has already threatened her.
I went back to Carine’s home and told her of the courts decision. As I left Maceió the next day I prayed and hoped that Carine would make the right decision so that she could move back into the Lar and begin receiving a quality education for the first time in her life.
Not long after I made it back to the States I received news that Carine is now back at the Lar and has enrolled in her new school. While I was in Brazil fighting for this child’s future, I was not alone. Each of you were there fighting with me. Because of your support, Carine has been given a second chance at a new life. That’s why we say we’re bringing love, fighting poverty, together. Thank you for partnering with us.
“When love meets action, lives change.”