More Guyanese should become foster, adoptive parents

Dear Editor,

“One hundred years from now, it’ll not matter what kind of car I drove; what kind of money was in my bank account or what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child,” someone wrote.

It’s hard to calculate the impact a foster or adopted-parent has on a child’s life. We don’t hear much about foster care or adoption. Unless you were in foster care or adopted, most people know very little about it.

I was never in foster care or adopted. However, at nine years old, I went to live with a neighbour because my family was in a financial crisis. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Living with Elaine Bovell changed the trajectory of my life. Although Ms Elaine was a single parent with two children living in a      one-room house with one very small bed, no job, no indoor toilet, no money and no food, but plenty of love, she allowed me to live with her.

To this day I don’t understand why she kept me. She had every excuse for not having me live with her. And yet, she gladly accepted me. Countless times I asked her why she did it, but she never had an answer to satisfy me. If I was an amazing, awesome and obedient child, then I could say that was the reason for her accepting me, but I wasn’t. Then why she did it I may never know, but what I do know is that I’m very happy and grateful that she did.

The experience in Ms Elaine’s home definitely led me to become a foster-parent to 50 children and to adopt two children. She taught me to reach out to the homeless, loveless and abandoned in their plight. Foster care and children in orphanages don’t have any idea what it’s like to be in a real home. Many children can spend years, and sometimes their entire childhood in an orphanage.

While most children at home with both parents wake up every day full of life, orphans wake up every day feeling depressed and deserted. They suffer, groan silently and sob through the night. How bitter is their fate! Editor, the there is no greater sacrificial love than bringing a foster child into your home and being a parent to that child.

Although Elaine Bovell didn’t have much materially, she opened her home to me. On the other hand, there so many people who have so many material possessions and rooms in their homes, and yet they are unwilling to open their hearts and homes to help an orphan. Right now, there are countless children in need of a foster or adoptive parent.

Moreover, Elaine Bovell did not only teach me how to be successful, she rescued me from a life of crime, incarceration and a possible violent death. Living in her home, sleeping in her bed, eating from her table and listening to her wise counselling brought about a paradigm shift in my life.  In short, she saved my life.

You may never know what a great impact a person can have in child’s life when he/she becomes a foster or adoptive parent. Those who are living in the diaspora can help also by adopting a child in Guyana. If each person who lives in Guyana and the diaspora can adopt or become foster parents to a child, then all the orphanages will be closed. This would be the greatest gift that we could give to children of the future.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Pantlitz

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