Meet Our Staff- Gabriella Simon
In my 14 year of work at LOC Foundation I had the opportunity to work with all the children from different departments with whom LOC worked with. I started in 2005 as a social mom for 10 children at Casa Ana, then continued as a mentor, living in an apartment with three of the girls who grew up at Casa Ana, then as an independent life skills teacher, educator and later in 2011 i started to work at a Pediatric Baby Hospital where there were abandoned children. Seeing the children abandoned there, knowing their needs and how abandonment affects their physical, mental, emotional development, i wanted to know more, to learn how to help them and to contribute to their recovery and development. I have had much support from the Foundation, there have been therapists who taught me how to work with these children, I learned how to evaluate their development and from where to start… an extraordinary example was when I started working with a 3-year-old boy who had a lot of trauma, and who did not know how to eat solid food (he was on a bottle with milk).
1 year and a half was needed to learn to eat solid food. This is where I learned patience and perseverance, but the results were overstretched, because after 1 year and a half, this boy was eating all kinds of food by himself, and was much happier and fulfilled. Another example is a four-year-old boy with lots of trauma, lying in his bed rocking back and forth and not being able to walk. He was afraid all the time to put his feet on the ground… after one year of work, frustration, screaming and crying on his part and occasionally on my part too… he succeeded to walk by himself, to climb all over the places and to go on the slide without being afraid anymore. I could give hundreds of examples of the children I worked with. My greatest joy was when I was able to bring the children’s development as close as possible to their age, when I saw their success as my success, and when I saw that my work over the years bears fruit. I was blessed to work and change the lives of some children in my 3 years of work there. We feel the greatest sense of joy not when we accomplish something for ourselves, we fell the greatest sense of joy when we help others accomplish a goal that matters to them!
I did not know then what was the Lord preparing me for… In 2014 i moved to the Foster to Adopt department. Seeing the abandoned children, and their need to grow up in a family, I realized it was time to move to another stage, the stage where I can start to search and offer families for this children. My work continues, today I work with foster families, where we have 13 children in their care. Some of them became adoptable and where adopted. There is no greater joy seeing a child (who was abandoned, had a difficult background and lots of trauma) happy, fulfilled, healed, and enjoying a normal, healthy life within a family.
My work is not just about children, it’s about families too, it’s not just about filling some papers, visiting them from time to time, it’s about creating relationships, being there in times of need, celebrate their successes and encouraging them in hard times. It’s not everything easy and smooth, but together we learned to be grateful even in hard times, because we have each other. J
As the quote says: “At the end of our days we’ll measure the success of our years not by the places we went or the things we created, but in the people we loved and the lives we changed”
I want my daily work to have a positive impact in the lives of those with whom i work, and leave a valuable and lasting legacy behind me. So, this story is not about me, is about Him who is Faithful, about our wonderful families, kids and the amazing opportunity to successfully live your life to that end.
Gabriella Simon – Foster to Adopt Coordinator