08 Jan Siblings Update : The Najera’s
By Arwen McGilvra & MJ Zelya –
The Najera siblings came to Dorie’s Promise in February 2010— completely neglected, dirty, with sad little faces.
Ingrid protected her brother Abraham as if he were her son. She held him in her arms and did not want to be separated from him. “My mom says that I have to take care of them,” she said, although she was only 10 at the time. At that age, kids are natural dreamers, full of joy … and the only responsibilities they should have are studying, chores at home, and showing respect to their parents. They should not have to raise baby brothers and sisters.
When they came to live with us, the Najeras were malnourished and had lots of cavities in their teeth. Their mom had cut Ingrid’s hair like a boy’s, and the first thing Ingrid said is that she wanted to have her hair long — she didn’t want to look like a boy anymore.
It’s was heartbreaking to see how badly treated these children had been. They’d never attended school and were living in extreme poverty and abusive conditions.
One year after the four youngest came to Dorie’s Promise, we learned that they had an older sister. Mirna was moved from a government shelter to our home because she pleaded with the judge to be with her siblings. The judge granted a special exception for us to receive Mirna because she was out of the age range of the population we had at Dorie’s Promise. We were so excited to reunite these five siblings! What a blessing for them to be together again and to ALL receive the love and support they needed.
After a year of living in our home and receiving medical and psychological care, as well as love from our staff, we could see the difference between Mirna and Ingrid. Ingrid looked happier, laughed more, and felt safe. She told Mirna that Dorie’s Promise is a beautiful place where they can be protected and happy and have five meals a day, their own toys, and a nice room with a bed. All of our staff was touched to hear that. The Najera siblings found a nice place where they are treated as they deserve and have what they need.
The Siblings Today
Mirna is great. She has found her place here with us and is enjoying being a part of this big family. Since her education had been neglected before coming to Dorie’s Promise, she struggled with schooling. Recently, though, we’ve changed tactics, so she has been going to beauty school. There she is learning everything from hair styling to nails and makeup, and it has been a big rush for her. It’s good to see her find and apply her passions. In fact, all the special moms have been objects of her experimentation — there is hardly a person who she has not given a beauty treatment to as part of her studies.
“I feel incredible, and since I have this opportunity, I have been doing my best to take advantage of it and learn everything I can, so that later in life I have something for my siblings and I to depend on,” says Mirna.
It has really been a joy to see her develop and know she makes a big effort to achieve her goals.
Like her older sister Mirna, Ingrid did not receive any prior education, and it has created problems for her in school. It’s been especially apparent in her math classes. She needed a special tutor to try to catch up to her classmates. Despite all of that, she has applied herself to her studies and has managed to pass third grade and will be starting fourth grade next year.
She says, “I know that is going to be hard, and I know that I will have to study a lot more than my classmates in order to really catch on, but I am really grateful that I at last have the opportunity to study.”
Ana has been doing extraordinarily. She started first grade this year, and she quickly became one of the top students in her class. She did well and will start second grade next year. She is excited about all the new stuff she has learned, and Beverly Humes, her teacher, says, “She loves to do her homework — she learned a lot during this year, and she is one of the most studious girls I have ever seen.” It’s incredible to see that even though she didn’t have a preschool education like every student in her school, she didn’t have much trouble adapting.
Maria started going to school this year and has become one of the most loved students to her teachers. She has shown good development, and next year she will be in “Preparatoria,” preschool, where she will learn to read, and that makes her very excited. She is looking forward to it so she can read stories to her brother Abraham. Overall, she is doing great.
It’s hard to believe the change in Abraham since he came to live with us. He was such a shy little baby who hardly smiled, but his transformation since then is incredible. He is outgoing, laughs a lot, and has become a joyous little boy. He is getting ready to enter another phase in his life — he is very excited about starting school in January. Everything you hear from him is “school” this, “school” that. He is going to be a part of the “big boys” going to school. It makes us all very happy to see how he has blossomed.