The joy of being an SOS mother to 14 children
My name is Rodah I chose to become an SOS mother because of my love for children. After the doctor told me that I could not have any children of my own, I chose to share my love with children whether mine or not, after all, children are children. The opportunity gave me a chance to become a mother, a sense of belonging and a purpose for living. I did not expect to be a mother of very many children though, but training and SOS mothers before me have been a source of inspiration and encouragement. I am now a mother to14 children, eight handsome boys and six beautiful girls. One is in university, three in college, four in secondary school, five in primary school and the youngest is in kindergarten.
As an SOS mother, I am living a fruitful and fulfilling life. I feel appreciated, and just being recognized by children as a mother makes me very happy. I feel my obligation towards them is great. Seeing children grow from infants to toddlers to become independent young people brings me joy.
All my children have had normal growth. Some though, have had health issues that have been addressed. For example, Martha* came in February 2007 when she was only two and a half years old. Nyoro* came a year later also at the same age. Martha had no health issues but Nyoro was bow-legged. Through physical therapy, he got well and they are both doing well academically.
Challenges as an SOS mother are many, but I tackle each as they come because raising children from different backgrounds is not easy. Children have different personalities, capabilities and uniqueness. They all need attention and it is not easy raising teenagers too. I need to understand them individually and give them support.
When a new child is expected in my house, I often pass the message to the children to gauge their reaction and feelings. We make special meals – like chips that we do not often eat. We also bake a cake and buy a few clothes for the new child. Then we hold a celebration and invite other children and their SOS parents during which the new member is introduced to the family.
I am thankful to be an SOS mother because I feel blessed. I am respected not only by my children, but also by everyone in the entire SOS Village. My children also appreciate my efforts, as they know that I work hard for them. When I am sick, they become gloomy and keep asking what they can do, to make me feel better. My children are my happiness and my joy and I find comfort in them. They have made me grow personally, and the bond between them and me can never be broken.
The values I find important to teach my children are upholding good morals and values towards self and others. They learn these through observing what I do and what we do as a family. Respect, love humility, forgiveness and trustworthiness among others. These values are important for interaction and for their survival in the community.
Only six children in my house have biological relatives. They visit them during the Christmas holidays. Some children are happy to go to their relatives but others not so much. I have visited all my children’s relatives to know where they come from.
My house is a blessed house; we have children from other family houses visiting us all the time. Sometimes my house is referred to as a church house because it accommodates anyone.
*Names changed to protect the privacy of the children.
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