Two years ago, Joy was the first child we reunited with her family from Smile Africa Ministries Orphanage. We recently revisited Joy and her family to find out how she is doing. It was all happiness as her aunt, Janet, welcomed us into their home.
“Joy has grown into such a happy and bubbly girl,” Janet beams with pride she tells us how Joy is growing up into a lovely young girl who loves singing and dancing.
As she welcomes us, you can see the bond Joy has with her aunt. She is never a step away from her, holding her hand and occasionally carrying her on her lap. “I am her favorite aunt,” Janet quips with a full-on smile.
Joy’s mother passed on just a month after she was born. Her father, unsure of how to take care of a newborn baby and with no one to help, decided to place Joy at Smile Africa Ministries orphanage. This is where Joy spent the first 2 ½ years of her life.
Although her father and aunt would occasionally visit, Joy did not have a strong relationship with either of them during this time. “When I would visit her at the orphanage, she would not sit with me for more than 5 minutes, she did not know me,” Janet reflects on Joy’s life at the orphanage, “and she was very reserved and shy.”
Now, after 2 years of being home with her family, Joy and Janet are inseparable. “She has found her joy here at home,” Joy’s aunt, proudly says.
“We are inseparable. I love her and she loves me.”
Joy is now 5 years old. “She loves to teach us how to dance and sing after dinner and we dance together as a family. Although some of the moves I admit are hard to grasp.” She laughs.
As we are saying our goodbyes, Joy quickly dashes out to join her friends in a game of hide and seek. “If she were still at the orphanage she would not have made the kind of friends she has here,” Janet says with conviction.
As we leave, we are reminded that a family is still the best place for a child and happy that Joy is safe and loved growing up surrounded by her family.