March 29, 2018
A month ago we opened our newest Forever Home. Called Sinethemba (Zulu word meaning “we have hope”), this Forever Home will eventually welcome six children who have been orphaned and/or abandoned in Cape Town. Close to great schools, clinics, and therapies, this home sits on a quiet street that will allow our children space to heal, grow, and play. Whenever we open a new Forever Home, our goal is the same… to rescue children and create a family. This idea of family is the opposite of an institutional model of care and stems on the belief that each child is unique and deserves individualized care. There is no “one size fits all” approach to raising healthy children. Instead, each child requires care that is tailored to his or her specific needs. We want to invite you into this new home on a virtual tour, so that you can get a sense of what we mean when we say family care.
The moment we acquired the new house, our team was ready to move in. For weeks they had collected furniture and thoughtful items that would communicate love, belonging, and care. Because this is our 31st Forever Home, our team is well-seasoned in thinking through the needs of the children who will arrive, and the house quickly transitioned to a child-friendly home, ready to welcome our first babies.
When we open a new home, we already have House Parents who have been vetted as Assistant House Parents in other Acres of Love Forever Homes. They are well trained and understand what it means to offer unconditional love and care to children who have experienced trauma and/or loss. And to prepare for these children, we’ve taken great care in outfitting our bedrooms with warm beds and soft bedding.
Because this home will welcome little ones, we’ve also prepared cots for infants.
If you walk into any Acres of Love Forever Home, you’ll notice a big dining table. We are passionate about making healthy meals from scratch for our children, but we are also passionate about creating a space for family meals to take place. We want to center our homes around family time, so that our children can learn the rhythms of healthy family life. This is a big deal to children who haven’t always known the love and care of family.
In addition, we want to make sure that there are plenty of spaces to play. Just outside the bedrooms in our Sinethemba Forever Home is a wonderful space filled with soft places to snuggle, read books, play, and explore.
Just off the kitchen is a beautiful sun-room to offer another place to play, so our kids can stay close to mommy while meals are prepared. Outfitted with child-sized tables, our kids will be able to color, create, and enjoy snack times as soon as they are big enough to climb onto the chairs.
In light of recent water restrictions in Cape Town, the home was already fitted with gray water systems and rain barrels to help us conserve water responsibly. The yard includes a large lawn, a pool for summer days (complete with child-safety fencing), and a space for braais. From the moment you walk in the door, you feel a sense of peace and calm.
The walls are decorated with beautiful South African baskets and art, and the bedroom walls are filled with words of truth.
We’re excited to share that this home has already welcomed twin siblings. Due to their special needs they will have a few weeks to settle in with around-the-clock care from their House Mommy and House Parent Assistant before we welcome the rest of their future siblings. We’ve engaged therapies to help feed our little girl with a cleft palate, and we’re busy assessing each and every need so that they can both thrive.
Thank you for helping us make this house a HOME and partnering with us to change the world for each child in our care.