Sunday, January 24, 2010


 Our Kids--Volume VI

Two months after we'd opened our orphanage we still only had two children living with us and we wondered if we'd goofed somewhere. Then Christmas Eve, little Janet came to be with us and the day after Christmas (also known as Boxing Day) we received two more children. Theresa and Henry. Actually Henry's name was Hope Songolo but when we saw him we felt he deserved a more masculine name. 

We tossed names around and then ended up settling on Henry, which was my first choice. I didn't realize until later that I had been subconsciously affected by reading The Time Traveler's Wife just before this. Have you read this book? Amaaazing!

Anyway, there was a strong contingent that wanted to name Henry Elmo. Can you see why by the picture above? He was pretty funny looking at first.

He had been nursed by his aunt (whose youngest child was seven years old) and so was not exactly malnourished but wasn't chubby and well fed. Because he had been carried around for most of his life in the African style sling he had not had a chance to develop his muscles. At 5 months old he could still not hold his head up well.

  We have banned the use of these slings here at the orphanage unless a child is new and needs it sometimes for comfort or when we walk down to the clinic we will carry a child this way because it's easier. But for our local staff we found that if a child was fussy they would automatically just toss the child onto their back without really finding out what the child truly needed. And of course the children would quiet down because they were used to being comforted that way but they wouldn't be learning or growing properly.

He fattened up quite nicely and became a very handsome little guy. He developed stronger muscles and was soon able to sit up.

His favorite activity of all was to jump in the Johnny Jump-Up. Because our ceilings are really high and we don't have the right type of door frames we suspended the JJU from a rope tied to the rafters and then because the rope wasn't quite long enough we put a table under the JJU and that's what Henry and Janet would jump on. We were always there to watch over them and would giggle as they jumped up and down. Henry especially was really active as he jumped.

The funny thing is that Henry and Janet came to stay with us 2 days apart and we found out that they were born one day apart. They were just like little twins. 

Every day Henry got stronger and stronger. He caught up developmentally quickly and learned to run and jump quite early.

We love it when Henry bursts through the door of our private living room and dances to music we have on. I wish I knew how to upload videos to this thing because watching Henry shake his booty is one of the best things out there.

Henry is very inquisitive and though his language skills are a bit delayed he knows how to communicate with actions and facial expressions. He gets bunches of information across with the use of Da Da by choosing different inflections and tones.

We look forward to seeing what this young man will grow up to be. He has the drive, curiosity and energy to some day make a great leader. Stay tuned!

Other related posts: 


  1. O I absolutely love Henry!

    I love hearing things like the problems with the sling.. I would have never thought.

    Thanks for the B-day wishes!

  2. O' Henry! Heh heh heh! He is adorable! You really filled him out and caught him up fast! They are both, (he and Janet), as cute and sweet looking as can be!

  3. Amy, I just found your blog by "accident" - I don't know if you remember me - I knew you in Japan when we were young teenagers and I met you once or twice in the US after that.
    I found your blog fascinating and I'll be following it from now on and keeping you in my prayers.
    God bless!
    My email is

  4. What a selfless thing you do! I was stopping by to let you know YOU'VE WON THE PROGRESSO SOUP GIVEAWAY ON MY BLOG! Just email me your information, name and address and I will mail your giveaway to you. And thanks for stopping by Me So Hongry on my featured blogger day.

  5. A long lost friend found and a win in a contest! This is a good day!

  6. Love, love LOVE that book, it's one of the very few I've read more than once. Your Henry is adorable. X.

  7. What gorgeous kiddos. Wow. How great that they're growing up together!

  8. What an inspirational story! Thanks for sharing these Superior Snaps. SITS sent me by, and I'm glad they did...

    After the Storm

  9. What a doll Henry is. I loved reading this post and thinking about what miraculous progress Henry has made.


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