Imagine you are on a road. By yourself – alone. On both sides of the road, fields spread as far as your eyes stretch. Empty fields. No signs. No marks. No curves. Just a road and it feels like it doesn’t lead to anywhere. But you don’t stop moving. The mileage is spinning. 1..3…5… years.
Similarly, we can describe the life of Sunny. Or Sanny. We are not really sure about his real name, but we’ll call him Sunny – because he is like the sun. We already know his age – he will be 5 this month.
We know who his real parents are.. but are they.. we are not sure about this too. We don’t know his relatives. We only know what we see with our eyes – Sunny has a beautiful, curly, black hair, smart olive eyes, in which the story of another nation, unfamiliar to ours dives. It’s far – emotionally. It’s far – psychically.
Sunny has a personal ID number for a foreigner. But unlike the children in the home for medical and social care, with who he has spent the last year, Sunny doesn’t have a personal identification number. And unlike them he is healthy, although no vaccine has ever been done. After his parents “took him out” there was no one to take care of him. He was placed in the home for children in need of permanent medical care. Without needing these special permanent medical care. He just needed love and attention.
Sunny is a refugee.
He is one of nearly 12,000 people who have been granted refugee status over the past 5 years.
Refugee. What a loud name for a child who doesn’t even know what that word means.
“But what does it mean that I am a refugee?” he asked the women in the special home. And they didn’t know how to explain to a 5-year-old child why, in the eyes of the Bulgarian legislation, he had a different status from his peers, even though he was born here. They told him: “It means that your mom and dad aren’t from Bulgaria and that they have escaped from the place where they lived before to find a better place.”
But Sunny doesn’t know what this is this place they’ve escaped. He doesn’t even know why they should have escaped. Were there bad people who made them do it? Like in the fairy tales. Have they lost in the forest like the Red Riding Hood?
He doesn’t know why he is a refugee. He only knows his real mom and dad are gone and probably he would never see them again. But also that he will no longer be alone.
Because we found him a real family.
A week ago, just for Easter, Sunny left home and went to another home, different. Home of hope, understanding and love. A family home. The home of our foster mother Reni Gekova, her husband and her son.
Sunny is the third foster child for the Gekovi’s family, who decided to dedicate themselves to this profession in 2014. With the support of Foster Care Center’s team, the family cared for one year for a child also at 5 years of age, who returned to his parents, and more than 3 years for a young girl who at the end of last month reached the age of majority and now she is about to finish school.
“Only a week has passed since Sunny is with us, and he is already blooming and opens like a little kitten, gentle and wounded.. He is always smiling and ready to play, but in his lovely eyes there are many memories! It will take a long time before we assemble the puzzle in his path. That’s why we, and you – let’s tighten our belts! The road is waiting for us!” said the foster mother to our social worker Evgeni Sirakov in one of their conversations.
Reni is already very impressed with the boy’s knowledge and skills. She says that he has no problem with any technique, he knows very difficult words. And what truly amazes her is how neat Sunny is – every morning he fixes his bed without anyone having to remind him. His clothes must always be folded, and his favorite cars – “parked” in the garage.
As Reni told Evgeni – the road is waiting for them. With many winding paths that, hopefully, will meet and fill the memories. They will fill the picture. Somewhere signs will appear. Marking. The road will no longer lead to anywhere. It will lead to the truth about Sunny’s life.
We will be with them at every step they make.