I Was Lost, But Now I Am Found



Sometimes the smallest of things can just send my spirit soaring. Like this light bulb shining in the bathroom at our main campus in Thozin. Even in the middle of the day, it's a dark room. How wonderful it is to SEE when visiting the restroom.



We don't have turf on the soccer field yet. I still don't know how we can possibly plant grass and expect it to grow, since it will likely be impossible to keep people off the field. See what happens to the ball when the field is still damp from a light rain?


We had such a great time this week with the team from Bless Back Worldwide. We held Health Days - one for men and one for women. It was so wonderful to see older men being helped into the yard by family members, looking to encourage their good health.

The team did, of course, work in the clinic, as well. I loved watching Dr. Carmen working with our own Dr. Yvens. What a great team!

The dental clinic was hopping this week, too, with Dr. Chris and Lisa taking care of so many.

Our students enjoyed the special activities (story time and art projects) with their new friends.

The team brought chocolate chips and kept our culinary teachers and students hopping all week. Each day they indulged in yummy chocolate chip muffins.

Wednesday was pizza night!

After a long week of hard work, the team enjoyed a couple of hours at a local beach.

In the meantime, Jeff has been working hard on the garden. He's planted lots of bananas and plantains and now is putting in some beans. We like to work the land and eat of its fruits!


I shared this picture with you last week as a little hint of what's been happening in my life. For those who are unaware, I was adopted as a small child and have never known my biological family.


My friend, Chel, gave me a special gift before the holidays: An Ancestry kit. Since she spent money on it, I decided I really should do something with it. The thought was that I would find out what part of the world I am from. I did indeed find out my ethnicity, plus some! And even that was not at all what I was expecting.

Before I even knew the results were in, I received a message from someone claiming that we were a first cousin match. When I finally figured out how to use the website, I discovered I had three first cousin matches. One of those matches led me to my biological mother's family. She had died many years ago, but I've already connected with her sister (my aunt), and 5 of my 6 siblings on that side. I was the last of her children to be located.



I have a memory of one of my adoptive brothers showing me a photograph of myself with writing on the back. I didn't know how to read, but he read to me, "Renee Lee Cohen." Consequently, I've always thought I came from a family named Cohen. No one seems to remember that story or the photograph. My adoptive mother told me it was just something I'd imagined. Perhaps, but I let that imagination linger. After over half a century, I now know that indeed, all of my siblings share the name Cohen.


I had the absolute joy of having a video chat with my mother's sister last week. I told her the story of the photo and the name on the back. She dipped her head as a little smile formed. She looked back at me and said, "That's my middle name. Lee." I was soooooo excited to share a name with my aunt!


We talked about my middle name a bit and how my middle and last names had been changed after the adoption. I then asked her if my biological mother had actually named me, Renee. She said, "No. She didn't name you." (PAUSE!) "I did." After 55 years, I was suddenly talking with the woman who'd named me, Renee Lee Cohen! I also learned that my mother and I lived with my aunt when I was born, so she actually knew me as an infant. Wow!!!


In just a week's time, I have enough stories that are new to me, that I could already write an entire book. I'll stop here, but I wanted you to be able to share in my joy. I was lost to my family - I wasn't even interested in looking for them - but now I am found. And I am overjoyed!

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