West Haven Children’s Home is a residential facility located 30 miles from Montego Bay in Copse, Jamaica. It is home to approximately 80 children and young adults with moderate to severe special needs, including those diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism and other developmental disabilities. The staff is adequate to meet only the most basic needs of the residents, such as bathing and feeding. The open air dormitories are over-crowded and funds are needed to help with renovations. There is no hot water available.
The government of Jamaica provides only about one-half of the budget necessary to meet these most basic needs. West Haven depends on charities such as CDFI to help bridge the gap in this funding deficit.
As we both found our way with these sweet people we realized that all we had to do was be there. We just had to hold a hand or follow if they led us somewhere. Compassion is free, you just have to let your guard down and open your heart. While I was finding my way I once again was blown away by our young people. It did not make a difference to them how very desperately these kids were deformed physically or how mentally challenged they were our kids just loved them. I learned a lot from them.
For me, the most important story was to watch how my 17 year old son, Nolan, put his Christian upbringing into action. He befriended the children of God at both the orphanage, as well as the home for the disabled. I was proud how he quickly could see their inner spirit, and that Jesus resides in every living being.