Borromeo youth director tries to find orphan loving home
8-year-old Jenny was abandoned by her mother and is
St. Charles Borromeo's youth director, Janeen Rodrigue, needs the parish's help to find a home for an autistic girl living in an orphanage in Piedras Negras, Mexico before her condition worsens.
"Every year I travel to Mexico with my Fountain of Youth Ministry workers and every year we're asked to please find Jenny a home somewhere in the United States by the orphanage director," Rodrigue said. Jenny is an eight-year old child who's lived in the orphanage since she was 2. Rodrigue and the youth kids that travel to Mexico each summer have gotten to know Jenny and believe that with better medical care, Jenny could get much better.
Rodrigue believes that Jenny has been misdiagnosed because she’s very loving and social unlike other children who have the disorder. “She’s a very sweet child and she interacts very well with other children,” That’s why Rodrigue thinks Jenny doesn’t have autism, which is characterized by social impairment.
"She is a beautiful, 8-year-old little girl who is living in poor conditions in Mexico and is receiving limited medical intervention to help her to cope with her disability,” Rodrigue said. “I was told by the director of the orphanage where she lives that she needs people with special skills and better training, like doctors in the United States, to give her the support she needs and maybe she can get that from someone in St. Charles Parish."
Rodrigue and her youth group met Jenny three years ago during the summer. The group travels annually to Piedras Negras to donate clothes, toys, supplies and emotional support to the 90 kids forced to live in one of five different orphanages.
"Our youth group works at the orphanages every summer on rotating trips," Rodrigue said. "We got to see Jenny again this summer, in July, and the youth group and I got the privilege of hearing her speak her first words," she said.
Rodrigue said she handed her something and she looked at her and said, 'gracias' (thank you). "We all started screaming,” Rodrigue said. “We were so happy because in the three years we've gone to Mexico, that was the first time we ever heard Jenny speak one word."
The adoption process is lengthy and won't happen overnight. According to documentation provided by Mexico's social service agency, fees and expenses to adopt Jenny will cost $10,400.
"There's a home study fee of $1,200, an attorney's fee of $2,000 that is to be paid in three installments, $600 is due at the time child is deemed adoptable, another $600 is to be paid at the final adoption decree, and there is an $800 charge when the child is ready to cross the border," Rodrigue said.
Other fees include $2,000 in Mexico attorney's fees, $1,200 for a home study fee that determines whether or not a family is eligible to adopt an orphan, and an additional $1,200 in translation and notary costs, along with $1,000 in immigration fees.
"We hope someone adopts Jenny because she's a beautiful little girl with so much love to give," Rodrigue said. "Many of the orphans are deemed not adoptable even though their mothers are drug addicts and prostitutes and have severely abused and beaten some of these children. Jenny is fortunate that she can be placed in a home."
Anyone interested in helping one or more of the group’s missionaries get to Piedras Negras next summer can send donations to the St. Charles Borromeo Fountain of Youth. Other donations of clothing, toys, etc. can be sent to Sr. Ursula Herrera, 1080 Vista Hermosa, Eagle Pass, TX 78852.
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