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Second Chances: Foster Care and Reunification in Cambodia

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In December of 2020, we learned of a large sibling group in a poor, rural region of Cambodia in need of a second chance. The mother had left the children completely on their own in order to go searching for work. When our team came across them during an emergency food distribution during the pandemic, they had run out of rice and supplies.

Five siblings in need of second chances: foster care and reunification

Knowing we couldn’t leave these children alone to fend for themselves, we worked to bring them into our emergency foster care program in the region. We were fortunate to find a foster family that was able to take in the entire sibling group, and we welcomed Ellen, Gemma, Koen, and Mercy into our Foster Care and Education programs.

Four siblings sitting in a field

The foster care placement was a success, and the children soon began school for the first time. Little Mercy, the baby of the family, especially loved spending her days in our Early Childhood Development Center.

Little girl with pigtails with doll in preschool

Waiting for Reunification

Over the last few years, the children have had a caring and safe place to stay while birth family searching continued by our staff. A great deal of work goes on behind the scenes of our foster care programs to determine whether safe reunification is possible with either birth parents or extended family. For every child in our care, permanency is always a top goal.

Two sisters in dresses in Cambodia

While reunification efforts were underway, we made sure the children had access to great nutrition, quality education, and the medical care they needed to thrive. When we first met the children, we noticed that Koen had a large scar on his chest, which appeared to be from a previous heart surgery. Not knowing what procedure had been performed, we sent Koen to a heart hospital in Vietnam for a full evaluation. Thankfully, doctors there confirmed that he had a healthy heart and no further treatment would be needed.

A brother helps his sister ride a bike

Over the past few years, we have been blessed to watch these wonderful children find comfort in their foster home among caring adults. In Cambodia, it is common for shelters to separate brothers and sisters into different facilities, so we are grateful that they could stay together as siblings. LWB always advocates for sibling groups to be placed together, and thankfully we can make sure that happens with our family-based care model.

Two sisters in Cambodia

Reunification At Last

And now — the best news of all! This past month, the children’s grandmother and mom were located, and Cambodian government officials did formal home assessments. We are happy to report that the family has now been safely reunified, and the children are happy to be back home.

four siblings in colorful clothing standing outside

We wish Ellen, Gemma, Koen, and Mercy all the happiness in the world and send our deepest thanks to our supporters for giving this beautiful family a second chance.

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