Wednesday, March 12, 2008

AAI’s Layla House

Some of the adoption agencies operate their own care centers (or orphanages) and some just use other care centers in Addis.  AAI operates their own care center and a few of their kids are at other centers.  CrazyMom and I had the opportunity to visit Layla house today.  It is the sixth care center we have now visited in Addis.


Our overall impression of Layla house was WOW!  We sometimes use the expression that one thing is head and shoulders above the rest.  Layla house is a torso, head and shoulders above the rest.  We have heard that Merrily Ripley has been working in the area of adoption for many, many years (she has adopted 18 children of her own, started AHOPE in Addis, and started AAI).  I can't imagine how many care centers she has visited in her life, but she evidently brought all of the best things that she has seen the world over and put them into Layla house. 


Here are a few of the particulars that we saw.  CrazyMom was looking into a room with only five infants and a worker.  She commented on what a great ratio of workers to infants that was and the person showing us around said, "Oh, there are actually two workers in this room.  The other must be taking a break."  When we were in a toddler room we found out that they strip, wash, and remake the beds EVERY day.  CrazyMom was very impressed, but I don't thing she is going to alter the frequency of the sheet washing program in our home.  (She would not let me say how often she washes sheets on our blog.)  The older kids have anywhere from six to ten kids in a room and EACH room has a room mother that sleeps in the room at night.  The kids go to school on the grounds from 9am to 3pm each day, which is more rigorous than the Ethiopian schools.  All of the kids have daily showers.  There is a doctor on site every day caring for the kids and if a child is at a different care center, they bring the child to Layla on a regular basis for the doctor to see them.  They have six caseworkers and when we walked by their room today two of them were there working with some children.  There were a lot of different play spaces for the kids and even green grass and flowers, which were a sight for sore eyes.  The appropriate age kids also go to a computer lab twice a week to learn English using Rosetta Stone software, keyboarding, and word processing skills among other things.  And the list goes on.


Of course, the thing that gets one really excited is to see a compound with a 143 smiling and happy children.  I guess at some point a care center can be too good and the children would rather stay and have fun and play with their friends rather than leave with their new parents.  We will hope that Layla does not cross that line. 

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Oh, that sounds like a wonderful experience! I am looking forward to visiting a few of the places when we make our trip. I want to see as much as possible!