This is the saddest blog story to date, but I have promised to be real about our life here and sometimes that means sharing the tough stuff too.
One of the things that drew us to move to this area on the Bay of Banderas was our work at the Children’s Shelter Manos de Amor. From the very first visit, we fell in love with the children and with the work that was being done in the shelter. Children who needed a safe place because their own moms and dads and grandmas just couldn’t care for them. For many reasons. For hard reasons. Every little one had a story and we became a part of each one.
We taught them English. We drove them from their little homes in surrounding villages back to the safety of the nest. We held them as they cried and wiped up a LOT of snot with our shirt sleeves. We had them live in our home on weekends – one little one for 6 weeks while she awaited surgery for an illness too terrible to talk about. We organized fundraisers and we painted another layer of bright yellow paint over muddy fingerprints. We sat in a hospital room with one living in silence as he received the cochlear implant that would finally give him sound. We gave our hearts fully to them and felt God’s hand in every minute of it.
Unfortunately, over the past couple of years we have also experienced some disappointing things that have now caused us to step back and away from the home and the organization. Some values that don’t align. Some behaviors that we can’t justify. Some attitudes that are contrary to who we want to be and who we want to work with. Some missing accountabilities and foggy transparency. I am not going to give details here – you can contact me if you want – but as a member of the Steering Committee who worked for almost 2 years to repair some of the breaches, we now realize that it is time to move on. As a committee we were almost fully united in our plea – please hear us or we must leave.
I won’t lie – our hearts are broken. But we also feel peace in knowing that when you do what you believe is right, good things can happen. Even when it hurts. Love always wins and standing up for love, demanding integrity, fighting for kids is always right.
We are definitely not done caring for the ‘least of these’ in our community. We see intriguing doors in front of us and we are so excited to move ahead with passion, expectation, grace, forgiveness, and hope. There will soon be more snot on our sleeves, and we are pumped! Stay tuned…
Our very best in your new endeavor. Because we know you, we know it will be focussed on making life better for others and in keeping with the values that make both of you who you really are. Love you so much.
Thank you! I can’t wait until you come see our crazy life. It was a hard week but we feel great peace and hope going forward! Lots to be done….
Karen, I know how hard this is for you and Grant. Our prayers and best wishes are with you two always. All of our futures are not spelled out for us but I know in my heart that you and Grant will find your happiness helping as many children as you can. Good luck in your new venture and may God bless you always.
Thanks for your support!
Hi Karen and Grant,
I am so sorry to hear that the steering committee has dissolved due to questionable behaviors and lack of transparency, with no forthcoming changes from the director there sadly was no choice. Know that I stand with the committee and hope for new directions with the talented group that had so unconditionally gave of their time Love and resources. I hope to be well enough so that I may come to Mexico sometime soon and see how I can help.
Michael – you are so missed here! Can’t wait until you return – we’ll definitely have kids waiting in line for a ride on your bike. Appreciate your support as we move forward!
When I checked the website and read the advisory committee message, it left me with a feeling of sadness and loss.. Part of the joy of coming to Mexico these last few years is gone – at least for now. While we have never formally met (happening to see you at the shelter while meeting with Karen McKenzie doesn’t count), I have read your blog and can appreciate the difficulty of this decision.
Hope there is everything you mentioned behind those doors I imagine the children are confused about the sudden change and it sounds like this next step may restore some normalcy and security in their minds.