You know well the story of our little weekend girls who have not been able to attend school because they have never been registered with the Mexican registry. In Mexico the rule is “No birth certificate = No school.” In Canada, that process happens in the hospital when our children are born – it is free and it is easy. It is automatic and I never had to question whether my children would be allowed to attend Kindergarten when that big day arrived. But here, it costs money to get a birth certificate and it means going to a few different offices and filling out reams of paper. So some moms just don’t get it done and that means their children will never receive an education. The children who come from difficult places, who need education the most, cannot access it. This has been the case for Britani and Pricila and Mama Vero has been working for many months to get the papers processed. Unfortunately, mom must be involved in the process and that has not always been easy in this family. But over the past couple of months mama has been living nearby and has been cooperative.
The process has been long and it has been difficult. Surprise, right? Because Britani is now 7, her papers were no longer available at the hospital where she was born. They had been sent up to Tepic – a 2 ½ hour drive through winding mountain roads. Veronica, our Super Hero Orphanage director, made 2 trips there but must now hire a lawyer to start a whole new process because too much time has passed. Since the process was underway, the school allowed Britani to begin classes but only for 2 months. If the papers aren’t here in 2 months she will not be able to continue. Unfortunately, the clock is ticking down and it is not looking good. But it is just a matter of time and perseverance and eventually Britani will be registered and in school permanently.
Yesterday the word came that Pricila’s papers were ready to be signed, fingerprinted, sorted, copied and stapled and this morning we all headed over to the Registration office. Pricila put her tiny little fingerprint in all of the correct boxes, Mama signed the papers, and then Grant and I, as her Padrinas, signed as the witnesses.
That made me think about our roles in these little girls’ lives. We have indeed been witnesses… to so much – their pain, their poverty and their brokenness. Their laughter, their affection and their hugs. We have witnessed their sad faces and their joyful hearts. We have witnessed their pranks as they snuck up on a sleeping Grant and scared him half to death. We have witnessed their messy morning hair when they knock on our door at 5:30 am and their late night pyjama movie parties where they slather their popcorn with ridiculous amounts of hot sauce. Last week I witnessed a single tear from Mareli as she watched the ending of a happy Christmas movie. Oh how we hope that we can continue to witness these precious lives and maybe more importantly, we hope to BE WITNESSES to them … of love, of family and of future hope. Of God’s love for little orphan girls.
But for today, Feliz Navidad Pricila – next month you’re going to Kinder!