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My mom is an ‘Earthy Angel’

“I'm so happy now. Discovering the warmth of family has changed my life in ways I never imagined. When I think back to the orphanage, it feels like it was a different life. Here, in the embrace of my mom and dad, I feel an unshakeable sense of belonging and love. They call me their angel, and I know I'm theirs, and theirs alone."

Ani Aznavuryan, 10, wrote this essay recently to express her true feelings about her foster mom, Marieta Mkhoyan, 58. It only took her a few hours, with the guiding hand of her school teacher, to articulate her emotions onto paper. "When I was asked to write an essay at school, I knew I wanted to talk about my mom. I didn’t know what to title it, so my teacher suggested 'Earthy Angel’," shares Ani, admitting she misses Marieta even when she's right beside her.

Ani and her brother Alex, 12, ended up in Vanadzor orphanage at a tender age, their early years clouded with little recollection of their biological mother. In 2018, they moved to Vanadzor’s Small House, a haven established by FAR Child Protection Center. Ani was just 5, Alex 7, when they first met Marieta at the Small House.

Marieta had been married for 38 years with no children of her own. Although adoption was her initial plan, fate nudged her towards fostering. Her rationale was simple yet profound: she wanted to give love and care to kids who needed it. "I was getting close to 45, and with unwavering support from my husband and loved ones, I knew it was time," says Marieta, who successfully completed the specialized training program by the FAR Child Protection Center experts to qualify for becoming a foster parent.

Seven months later, on December 23rd, Ani and Alex stepped foot into their new home to live with Marieta. December 23 is a date now etched in their hearts, celebrated annually with laughter, delicious treats, and Marieta's lovingly baked cake.

Today, Marieta is a devoted full-time mom to Alex and Ani, sharing in every moment of their lives - from cooking and cleaning to enjoying the simple pleasures like playing the lottery or savoring tea together in the evenings. Alex does karate, while Ani takes Armenian dance classes. Both of them have big dreams that involve Marieta. "When I grow up, I want to be a programmer and make enough money to buy a big house for my mom and dad, with lots of rooms for my future kids. I want to take care of my parents," says Alex.

Marieta says that having Ani and Alex has brought so much joy and meaning into her life. "My favorite part of the day is in the early morning, when I go to their beds, kiss their foreheads, and say 'Good morning, sweetheart'," she says with a smile. In that moment, she feels like the luckiest mom in the world.

To open the doors of love and care for more foster children, just like Ani and Alex, consider donating to FAR today.


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