Thiri recalls working seven days a week, sun up to sun down, for the equivalent of 10 cents a day. In Burma, ethnic and religious minorities often are targeted for forced labor. Two years later the 13-year-old became part of a large influx of unaccompanied refugee minors from the country also called Myanmar. Thiri was amongst those forced to flee, leaving behind her father, mother, and four younger siblings.
Jorge rarely talks about his native land, Honduras. His mother disappeared when he was an infant and his father was murdered. Orphaned at the age of seven, the 16-year-old grew up in survival mode on the streets of San Pedro Sula. When Jorge’s older brother was hunted down and shot for refusing to join a gang, Jorge knew that he would be next — if he didn’t leave his life in Honduras.
Thiri and Jorge* are just two of the children who have been resettled in the Seattle area through the Refugee and Immigrant Children’s Program of Lutheran Community Services Northwest since 1980. This program is one of only eighteen in the United States that helps children like Thiri and Jorge, who have no adults able to care for them, to find a loving home with a foster family. The children come to the United States without families as ‘unaccompanied minor’ refugees or asylum seekers. They have left behind war, persecution or instability that separated them from their families. Lutheran Community Services matches children with licensed foster families who are willing to open their hearts and homes to a child who has faced seemingly insurmountable odds – and has persevered. The children, mostly teenagers, come from all over the world with recent arrivals including those from Eritrea, Burma, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, among others. Children and families receive ongoing wraparound support, training, and resources to help them to thrive together.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent to a refugee or immigrant child and live in King or Snohomish County contact Stephanie Lennon, Foster Home Recruiter, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Info Nights are held on the second Monday of every month from 6-8pm. If you are interested in other volunteer opportunities please contact Amy Wagner, email@example.com. For more information on the Refugee & Immigrant Children’s Program please visit www.refugeechildren.net and like them on Facebook!
*Some names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality
Share this Post