Isabel always comes with a strong character. She leads. She is not afraid to try, to learn, to experience. She got the highest marks in school, reads a lot of books, and is very smart. She can easily create something to do to hold the group together. When, for example, her house parent is busy, there she is holding classes with the other children, or doing fun games with them.
In the evenings, she is there at the dining hall, to put the plates and glasses back, tagging along little sister Sam and another child. I noticed them doing this, so organized, doing exactly where to place what, and also singing while doing it.
Her house parent said she had to make good timing with Isabel, because she can also be hurtful. She could bad mouth one when she dislikes what one is doing or not doing. Even throwing bad words to her house parent. She could be very mean and unkind.
But knowing only the background of Isabel that we could understand her. She was the child who was always left behind. She recalled that her mother left them behind to the care of an aunt who was not very nice to her and sister Sam. Her mother did not know how long she had cried for that, and how many times she cried running after her. She had always wanted to be with her mother, but she said she had to go away for work.
That was a painful memory that would always stay with Isabel. There were many times in the past that Isabel would throw tantrums: she would cry so hard, slamming and kicking doors and bad mouthing anyone.
Years past, and now she is with Batang Pinangga for over six years. She is now eleven years old, happy and growing up. She said many times she could not control how she feels, out of the blue the sadness and anger just surfaced. The growing years of Isabel and little sister Sam. From 2012 till present.
We had a program that a child says and tells something to someone they cared about through a card with drawing on it, and tell it in front of the BP family to hear. Isabel was preparing herself, nervous but ready. She approached her housemother, and said, “I thank you Mama for being nice and caring for all of us, and understanding me, I am very sorry for the bad words I said to you”, and her house mother hugged her and she broke into tears. Then next she gave a bracelet to her little sister Sam, and said, “Sam, I am happy that you are my little sister, and even though I am mean to you sometimes, but I love you very much Sam”. All of us who witnessed that special moment were teary-eyed, too.
Her mother came visiting them, and she is glad she does it. Many times she is not sure if her mother comes as she had promised. She noticed that some children are returning home to their birth families, and she asked if she would be leaving soon, too. And we told her so long as you are happy in Batang Pinangga, you will be part of making that decision. But whatever you chooses, you will remain part of the bigger BP family. She smiles, and strongly said, “I will not go home yet, I will stay right here in BP, and finish school”.
We agree on that.