It was a dream come true moment

Note: All names have been changed to protect the privacy of the child and family

January 11, 2022

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In December 2019 an eight-year-old boy named Kaleb was found alone by himself in an Adama, Emmanuel church compound. It was not difficult for the church members to recognize whose child he was as the mother regularly attended the church. However, nobody could locate the mother.

Asmare, an administrative worker at the church reported the situation to the police. Kaleb was placed in Nobel Action for Holistic Development (NAHD) Orphanage center while police searched for the biological mother Unfortunately their searching was unsuccessful. He stayed in the orphanage for two years. During his stay he attended tutorial classes, developed his language skills, and showed some progress. Having no clue on Kaleb’s mother’s whereabouts, the orphanage center referred the case to Bethany Ethiopia to help reunify the child. After the case was referred to Bethany, a child assessment was conducted and social workers spent more time with the child to understand Kaleb’s history, how he spent his time, and his relationships with the other kids in the orphanage. They also learned how Kaleb longed to see his mother again after almost two years of not knowing where she was.

Following a thorough assessment, tracing was carried out with the help of Emmanuel church ministers. Through the work of the police, church members, and our Bethany Ethiopia staff, the mother was located. Social workers spoke with Frehiwot, Caleb’s mother for the first time through phone. An appointment between the social workers and Frehiwot was set to meet in person to discuss the process and to carry out further assessment with the mother. Social workers met Frehiwot at Emmanuel Church. She was excited to meet them and seemed open to talking and even took them to her house. Frehiwot shared that she brought her son to the church because she knew he would be taken care of by the church members she trusted, she felt she could no longer provide a safe home and enough food for Kaleb to grow.

As social workers assessed the status of the mother, they learned the area she lived in was not safe. As a result, Bethany and Noble Action social workers searched and helped Frehiwot find a rental house that is relatively safe for her and child Kaleb. After determining Frehiwot is ready to meet with her son and after Kaleb was prepped to see his mother again social workers arranged for the mother and child to meet. Frehiwot shared that she could not believe she would see her son again, it was a dream come true moment for her. She was crying and shaking, and Kaleb on other hand was very happy to see his mother after two years of separation. They hugged and cried. The visits continued for the whole week between mother and son and their attachment and bonding sessions were very positive. Frehiwot visited Kaleb three times a week in the orphanage and spent time together outside the orphanage under supervision. Kaleb used to share what he remembers and what he missed about her, a happy mother was laughing and thanking God.

Frehiwot attended parenting skill trainings, business skill trainings, and started to received food and non-food support to ensure a smooth transition for Kaleb back into the home. Bethany was able to successfully reunify Kaleb with Frehiwot in June 2021. Currently Bethany social workers are working with Frehiwot to ensure she has the materials and items she needs to support and grow her business. This helps ensure she can financially support the needs of Kaleb as she adjusts to him being back in the home buy some materials to support her business. Her goal is to grow her bean and corn business. Thanks to USAID, Bethany can continue to work with children and families in reunifying and reintegrating the child into their biological homes.