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20 Years of Hope: Ian

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Little Ian came into our care under difficult circumstances. He was born in Uganda in the spring of 2015, and sadly, his mother left when he was just four months old. Ian continued living with his father in a rented home, but around the time of his first birthday, Ian’s father disappeared from his life.

Ugandan boy in a red shirt

The landlady found Ian all alone in the home and took care of him for a short time. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the resources to continue for long, so she contacted the local police about Ian’s abandonment. Ian’s father was found a few months later, but he was ill, unemployed, and unable to care for his son. Thankfully, we were able to take Ian into our former healing home while social workers sought ways to reunite the little family.

Ian spent the next several months in the healing home, learning the skills of any typically active toddler. During that time, he grew to be on target with his physical and emotional development. Walking, socializing, and potty training were on his toddler agenda, along with learning to speak in short sentences in both English and his native Luganda languages. Ian was one smart little cookie!

Boy in black and red zippered sweater standing in front of an iron gate

Our successful foster care model in China confirmed to us that life in a family setting would be the very best thing for children like Ian. LWB realized that we could help more vulnerable children if there was a safe place to move them to the next logical phase of their lives. Enter LWB Foster Care, with Ian being our very first placement in Uganda!

During Ian’s time in our healing home, he had a frequent visitor: the landlady who found him all on his own as an infant. We asked if she would be willing to be his foster mom with support from LWB — and she agreed!

Ian was naturally a little unsure at first, not knowing what to make of this different lifestyle, but he soon settled right in and grew to love his foster mother and foster siblings.

Ugandan woman with arm around boy

Ian’s new playmates were the grandchildren of Ian’s foster mother, and they truly doted on their new little brother. It wasn’t long before that sparkling smile and a little hint of mischief had returned to Ian’s handsome face.

Boy and girl hugging holding a bottle

Ian spent the next few years with this family, growing into a happy, respectful young lad. His foster mother described him as a free spirit who loved to have a good time. She told us he was fun to be around and always made her laugh. Besides lifting everyone’s spirits with his antics and good humor, Ian was very helpful with household chores like sweeping and washing dishes. He helped with a positive attitude, never grumbling or needing a reminder about doing his share.

Boy in orange shirt making silly face with his foster mom

Then the unthinkable happened: Ian’s beloved foster mother passed away. It was time once again to reach out to Ian’s biological father to see if he was able to care for his son.

Ugandan boy in a basketball shirt

As passionate as we are about foster care, we realize that it is a temporary solution. We never stop our efforts to bring a child into the arms of a permanent family.

We are very pleased to report that reunification efforts were finally successful, although not quite in the way we had expected. Ian’s father still suffers from poor health and is not involved in Ian’s life, but Ian’s uncle (his father’s brother) has stepped forward to provide a safe and loving home for this resilient boy. Ian will be turning eight years old very soon, and he is doing very well. He has gained both height and weight in the past year and has settled nicely into his new, permanent family.

Ugandan boy in red school unifiorm

Ian’s uncle reports that his nephew is thriving in school and earning excellent grades. Each morning, Ian wakes with enthusiasm for the day ahead. When he returns home, he gets right to his homework and runs out to play only after his studies are done. His uncle tells us that Ian has made great progress and that he is very proud of “our little boy.” What a joy it is to hear those three words!

Boy smiling in school uniform

Ian’s uncle works as a farmer, and his new family lives very modestly. They are not able to provide for Ian’s schooling, so LWB provides an education sponsorship which has truly been a blessing. Education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty for Ian and so many other children like him, and we are incredibly grateful to our supporters for giving Ian this chance to grow into a productive, independent adult. This opportunity is a life-changing gift!

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