This week’s ROOM contributor is Johana Doblado. Johana is currently serving as our Scarlet Project director. Her role is vital to ROOM’s mission in Honduras and we are so grateful to have her on our staff. Her heart, her love for the Lord, her dedication, and her intelligence are some of the many reasons we adore her. Read her first blog ever to see for yourself just how wonderful she is!
This is my first time ever writing a blog, and as I sit here waiting to feel inspiration on a topic (and trying not to feel self-conscious) I go through every face in our Scarlet Project…every single little face that has captured and thereafter stolen my heart, and I realize that I don’t need specific inspiration from one of those little faces because all of them as a whole are my daily inspiration.
It has been almost a year-and-a-half since my life completely changed. It changed with a little girl with big eyes sitting on the floor with a tiny body but huge personality. My first heart-stopping moment came with Estrella; here was a little girl that seemed to have so much to say and so many places to go, yet she couldn’t talk and she couldn’t walk. Shortly after that, I met Brigitte a sweet girl with so much wrong with her teeny tiny body, yet she was a fighter, and she still is. She beats the odds every day of her life. Then we have our Jesus Enmanuel. Here is a little man that has fought to live and is still going strong and wowing us every day with his determination to thrive. There are so many other names that come to mind: Alex, Eda, Andres, Camila, Anthony, Deysi…You might know some of them by name or you might have already met some of them on a mission trip down to San Pedro Sula. Let me tell you, they are all heart-stoppers. This is our Scarlet Project, each name, each face and each life makes up this incredible project that I am blessed to be a part of.
As I sat in front of the computer thinking of who I would talk about, I realized that I can’t just talk about one of them but instead I have to talk about the project that gave each and every one of them a chance of belonging. Our Scarlet Project came as an answer to a need seen in Nueva Esperanza (the public orphanage that has since been shut down). Nueva held line after line of cribs back-to-back with two or three babies to a crib. These babies were left there abandoned in a tiny bed months and months on end, in some cases years. Most of them already knowing how to self-soothe because in the few months of life that they had lived, they already knew that their cry would not always be answered. This reality started our Scarlet Project, and with it came a chance to reach out and touch the lives of so many.
When I was first approached to join the ROOM team as the Scarlet Project Director, I was blown away that foster care in Honduras existed. I didn’t know that it was a reality. And even though it WAS in fact a reality, it was often a harsh reality because we had to fight tooth and nail for every single child that we were able to bring out of Nueva Esperanza. One of the things learned early on is that we don’t get to be weak, not when it comes to these kids, these babies that have no other voice than ours fighting for their future. It has been such a humbling experience because many people say: “these children are so blessed by you or to have you.” This isn’t so. It is the other way around, THEY are the true blessing, THEY are the true heart of who ROOM is. They are the reason we are strong, they are the reason we wake up and fight each battle with passion and determination.
The Scarlet Project is in charge of finding, processing and monitoring all of our foster families. One of our biggest prayers is for the need of more foster families to come forth to open their homes, lives and hearts to these beautiful little babies that have nowhere to go. This project helps give children, mostly babies, a chance to be a part of a loving, Christian home. They are given a chance to be a son or a daughter, a brother or sister…a chance to belong. This is my biggest desire for every child in my home country Honduras.
The other side of the Scarlet Project is emergency medical care that is provided as needed, and let me tell you, it is MUCH needed. Through this project many, many of our kids have had life-saving medical attention that they would not have had any other way. When I think of the Scarlet Project, I do not think of operations done or numbers accomplished but by a list of firsts: first smile seen on a child’s face after weeks on end of just seeing a sullen expression, first steps after years of sitting on floors without even crawling, first sips out of a straw after months of screaming at the mere sight of them. And one of my absolute favorite firsts: the first time that foster parents (many of whom are in process of adopting) get to see and hold their child. This is a first that never gets old, it takes my breath away every time. This is my vision of who we are, this is the vision I hope you will cherish along with me.
It has been an expanding year for ROOM, a year of transitions, a year of growth and mostly a year of learning. Many things have changed in our organization this past year, but what has been steady and will continue to be steady is our commitment to each and every child that God entrusts us with. One of the most astonishing aspects of our project is the fact that the Lord is in complete control of everything. I might be the director of it but the Lord is the owner and He shows me every single day that each child that we have the privilege of holding close is and always has been HIS. The Scarlet Project is an ever-changing endeavor that each and every one of you reading this blog is a part of. Each person that gives to the Scarlet project is in the trenches with us, each person that prays for us is a warrior that stands with us to fight for the lives of these most precious children. Thank you for making our journey your own!
I would like to add an additonal note about Johana’s work and contribution to Honduras as a whole. Please pray for her as she has a platform with the local government agencies and has had a pivotal voice in contributing to the changing landscape of Honduran laws regarding child welfare. We are so proud of you, Jo! If you want to support the Scarlet Project or any of ROOMs programs please visit our website for information on how you can join the cause worth fighting for. Reach Out Orphanage Ministries