My name is Julio. I am from Guatemala. Until I was 5 I lived with my Mother, an older brother Santiago and two older sisters Karen and Sylvia. My father was killed by thieves while working in the city. We lived in a small block home with two rooms and a tin roof. There was no running water and just enough electricity for a couple lights. We shared a bathroom with several other families. Our cooking was done on a wood fire.
When I turned 5 my mother began having me sell trinkets near the park. I sold beads, bracelets and pens. My mother and sisters also sold items and they kept an eye on me from across the park. My brother had a construction job. None of my siblings or me went to school because we needed to work to buy food.
After my father died we became so poor that my mother had to send me to an aunt’s family to live. I didn’t want to leave my family. I was happy there. I didn’t care that we were poor. On the day that I had to move, I cried all day. Life at my aunt’s was ok but I wanted to go back to my family. After a year, my aunt could not take care of me either. I was sent to live with an old woman and her husband for a short time but I was so sad they told me to leave. I was now six and did not have a home or family to go to. I don’t know if my mom knew where I was or not. I lived on the streets and begged for money to eat. I was hungry, scared, and was getting sick from dealing with the elements every day. Gangs were trying to get me to join.
The police picked me up after several weeks while I was sleeping on a park bench and took me to a children’s home. When I got there, the workers scrubbed me from head to toe. They treated me for lice and checked me for injuries. They fed me and gave me clothes and put me in a room with 9 other boys about my same age. I don’t know why I was put in this place. Did I do something wrong? Didn’t my mom want me? Where are my brother and sisters? Did my aunt tell my mom that I wasn’t there?
By the time I was 7 I had lost my father, my family had abandoned me, my aunt’s family had abandoned me, the old woman and man had abandoned be. I had lived out on the streets, begged for food and now was alone in a strange place with a bunch of other kids that I didn’t know.
*This is part one of a fictional story of what many children go through in an adoption. Some of the story was built from stories that our son Isaiah told us but his story is very similar to many other abandoned children.