Tuesday, September 21, 2010

7 Layla Girls off to Boarding School

This is bittersweet news for all of us at AAI.   Some of our children are "aging out" and will be ineligible to receive visas to come to the U.S. with adoptive parents.  The seven girls in the photo above were just enrolled in a nearby boarding school where they will be able to continue their educations and train for a vocation in Ethiopia with the help and support of the AAI family.  Jessica Alderson accompanied them on their journey and sent us the following post and pictures.  We will be sure to update you all as the girls progress.  On school vacations, they will have opportunities to visit Layla House as well as extended family.  We wish them well!

Over the past few years, many parents and volunteers have met these lovely girls.  We will be offering opportunities to help sponsor their educations and to stay in touch with them.  Stay tuned for details.  If you wish to make a donation now, click here and indicate "boarding school students" in the space provided for your donation designation. 


As we spent quite a few hours gathering supplies, shopping, and finally packing up the 7 girls, the emotions started running high. Reality came in a huge gust and tears were shed as they (and we) contemplated their new journey. Bittersweet to say the least, the 7 beautiful girls we were preparing to send off to L’esperance School in Akaki (about 40 minutes outside of Addis Ababa) had mixed emotions. Excited to have the opportunity to excel and finish school instead of going back to families or relatives with little to no chance of furthering their educations, all 7 of the girls braced themselves for the next chapter of their lives together. In a way, I guess it’s better that there are quite a few of them to support each other. All of them are close and have grown up, so to speak, in the same household as family for a couple of years of their lives.  Three of the girls leave brothers at Layla House still eligible for adoption and that too, added to the sadness of the moment. 

As they said their last goodbyes, we packed up the van with entirely too many bags and belongings (they are so spoiled!) and drove them out to their new dorm and school. Within the gated compound, a couple of school buildings sat amidst a sprawling field, the younger kids’ school building gated off separately from the others, and the compound hosted a decent-sized office and a church for the kids to go to at anytime, a cafeteria, as well as a few other buildings. The boys’ and girls’ dormitories are on opposite ends and in the middle sits a guard to direct and dismiss any of the kids who may wander towards the wrong gender area. As we walked into the dorm area, the hall felt a little empty still as that Monday was move-in day for all of the upcoming years’ students. They all picked a room that housed 8 beds and decided that they would like to be together--rightfully so. They have 1 roommate, Bereket, a super sweet girl that was very gracious and accepting of their room pick. As girls their age started to pour in, the 7 Layla house girls clung together in excitement, shock, sadness, but also with a very small light of hope in them.

At Layla, these girls were living a great life (friends, staff and kids that become like family, a clean and sanitary living area, and the comforts of so many things that kids their age and situation lack) and at L’esperance they are required to behave a certain way and take care of themselves like the young adults they now are. It’s going to be a huge change for them but I know that there is a lot of faith for their success and many people praying and continuously supporting them. We can’t thank everyone enough. So for now, keep them in your thoughts and wish them luck on their new endeavor.


  1. It breaks my heart to read this. I know that at least they have this chance to further their education, but I have a hard time accepting that they will no longer have a chance for a family. So much potential lost now without the chance of a family. Just wish more families would get educated and look more into older child adoption. I met all of these girls and they are all beautiful, sweet, smart and full of life. Just praying that this is indeed a blessing for them and that they will all do well here. I do appreciate AAI giving them this opportunity and I hope that AAI will now really focus and push the adoption of the other kids left at Layla, especially the ones over 7. Don't let this happen again, please!!!!

  2. Sad, isn't it? They were able to attend school but they were not able to spend their time with their family. But having that as their situation, I hope they would become stronger and aim high so they could go to their respective homes and could spend their time with their families. Boarding School