You can feel the warmth of Viviana’s home the minute you see her face.
She lives in a house in the west of Bogotá, with her husband, her three adult children, a number of pets and, more recently, three young children whom she took into her care as a foster mother.
Lumos is supporting the Michín Foundation’s Foster Home Programme, through which children are placed in temporary foster care so they can experience the care and love of a family environment while arrangements are made for them to be safely reintegrated into their biological family. Viviana learned about the programme through a friend, and decided to join. Her children were grown, she spent a lot of time alone, and she missed caring for others.
“Being able to help a child who is in a vulnerable situation and who needs care is very gratifying to me,” she says. “I thought that if I have the time, the disposition and the will, why not?”
It has been a steep learning curve. Sofia* (6 months), Carlos* (12 months) and Sebastian* (3 years) all requiredifferent types of care and routines. But the days are filled with laughter and games as well as nursery rhymes such as La Vaca Lola and El Sapo Pepe – with a musical accompaniment from the family cats and dog!
For Viviana, the most rewarding part of being a foster mother is knowing that the children will one day return to their own families. She says she is motivated by knowing that her role is temporary while the children’s own home is being transformed into a safe place where they will feel loved and protected.
“There are many children who need the warmth of a home,” says Viviana. “Family is the most important thing in the world. Everyone needs a parent, to know that they have somewhere to go and someone to talk to.”