Traveling from one person’s arms to another’s almost everyday of his life, one would think that Yander is an utterly troubled child who seems to have no way of ever succeeding in life, but that is incorrect. Yander gets up everyday just like any other child: he groans and twists in his little bed at the feet of my mother and stepfather’s (his grandfather) huge bed when my mom tries to wake him up; he brushes his teeth and dresses up nicely for school–always being reminded by my mother to wear a sweater so he won’t catch a cold in this December weather; he goes outside holding my mother’s hand–the hand of someone who he now started to call grandma–to catch his bus to go to elementary school.
“I had a lot of fun at school today. I got green!” Yander says to my mom excitedly. Typically, getting ‘green’, which signifies doing a good job and behaving accordingly at school, comes as second nature to many kids, but to Yander every day he gets green is extremely important because it means that he is improving academically.
When he comes back home from school to our house, Yander spends his time like pretty much any kid: dancing to weird, popular dances to the music coming from his grandfather’s phone, drawing pretty pictures of cars that he later hangs up proudly on our refrigerator, doing his homework and reviewing school-related material, packing up his lunch for the next school day, and watching YouTube videos of random kids who open up their Christmas presents of play with slime.
Coming from Cuba at only five years old, Yander came with no knowledge of English or even numbers and letters–even in Spanish, and the fact that after moving to our house Yander has accomplished going from a straight D to A student is amazing. Not only has he improved in his new language, school and grades, but also in his nutrition. Before, Yander was as skinny as a bone because of the terrible nutrition he received at his old home and would barely eat according to his family. Now, he’s as good as ever, and although there is still a long way to go, he now feels comfortable and healthy enough to even sneak up to the kitchen to steal half of a donut.
After he’s satisfied with his daily activities, Yander bathes and spends some time with his new family, and cuddles up in the layers and layers of blankets in my mother and stepfather’s room before he goes back to his little bed to go to sleep.
He is not a pity child anymore; he’s a hopeful, strong child. And I know that his new home and family will continue to support him and protect him of any evil or even trauma that might come in the future. He is finally loved the way he deserves.