NPH Mexico’s children enjoy a day visiting with their family members.
January 20, 2012 - Mexico
At the beginning of each New Year, after the Christmas festivities have been brought to a close with Three Kings Day, our children enjoy one of our biannual family visit days. As the holidays are often a time when our children miss their family members the most, visitors’ day serves as a special opportunity for our children to celebrate part of the holiday season with their loved ones.
Family visit days begin early in the morning as family members arrive as early as 9 A.M., many having traveled long distances. Our children’s family members (any combination of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, older siblings, mothers, and fathers) enter our home eager to give their loved ones big hugs and spend the day talking, enjoying each other's company, and catching up on the last six months. Many families bring the traditional rosca de reyes bread for Three Kings Day and have fun seeing who will get the piece of bread with the Christ child in it! Visitors’ day is also a time when family members share in the joy of holiday gift-giving.
Caro, a high school student, spends the day with her older sister and nephew.
Most importantly, visitors’ day is a day to provide our children with the opportunity to maintain connections with their families of origin. Although these family members are not able to care for their loved ones on a full-time basis, their love for them remains as strong as ever. They are so proud that their loved ones have such bright futures ahead now that they receive a quality education at their new home. In Mexico, all family celebrations involve delicious food, so on visitors’ day, our children’s family members bring everything that one could imagine for a great family picnic day! Our children really enjoy the home cooking and savor the tastes of familiar family dishes. Although we provide a special meal for our children who do not have visitors, many spend the day with a friend's family members who are eager to share their home cooked food.
Every family enjoys the day in their own special way. Some families choose to spend the day outside in true picnic fashion under the shade of a tree, while others spend the day at a dining hall table or walking the grounds learning where their loved ones play, sleep, and eat. Visitors’ day is also a time for family members to talk with our home’s school, social work, and psychology staff to find out about their children's wellbeing and academic progress. Family members are given their loved one’s report card and provide them with the praise or encouragement needed. Children show their parents photos and tell them about their accomplishments over the last six months. They tell their family members that they are attending catechism classes to receive their first communion, that they celebrated their fifteenth birthday with a big party and a beautiful dress, that they participated in NPH’s international soccer tournament and got to travel to Honduras, or that they are active in NPH’s leadership group.
This year was extra special because at least three of our children’s birthdays fell exactly on visitors’ day! Many other children who have winter birthdays enjoyed eating cake and having their family members sing to them to celebrate their birthdays. Our children who have older siblings got to see how much their nieces and nephews have grown in the last six months. They played with their nieces and nephews and just enjoyed being an aunt or uncle. The day ended with hugs and tearful goodbyes, with everyone’s stomach too full to even think of eating dinner.
Visitors’ day is a time for children to be able to embrace their loved ones, cherish moments spent with grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and taste the flavors of home. It is a day that helps our children remember who they are, where they came from, and why being at NPH is an important part of who they will become in the future. Seeing their loved ones helped renew our children’s motivation and encouraged them to have a great start to the New Year and work hard to reach even greater accomplishments at NPH.