I was contacted a few weeks ago by a teacher at a local elementary school in our district. She was wanting to get information on Heartline where Frankie was from because her class had some money to send that way. After hearing the story of their class I asked if we could bring Frankie for a visit to tell them thank you. Our local paper and news was kind enough to come and get the story on their class. I have no clue why we have been privileged to get some of our family story of adopting Frankie in the the spotlight. Even this morning as I was picking up the house and talking to God, (which is normally when I do most of my talking) I pondered why we were getting the attention that we have with our story and begged Him to use it to do whatever it is that He wants with it. I don’t want to miss any opportunity to have impact in peoples lives. Praying he directs and guides us as we journey through life together.
Here is the story. These group of second graders totally impacted my life yesterday. To have compassion and concern for others is really so simple but sometimes I think some people find it hard to do. These little people get it. Children who attend our local schools “get it.” It was an honor to celebrate with them. We are blessed to live in District 5 Schools. There are some amazing teachers out there that are impacting children’s lives in amazing ways! Thanks Martha for giving of your life to teach others.
Parents of Haitian orphan learn to love every moment
After January’s earthquake in Haiti, Martha Griswold’s second-grade class at Lyman Elementary School collected money to donate to the orphanage that was Frankie Rhodes’ home in Haiti. On Tuesday, Frankie, 2, second from right, and his new family visited the class to accept the money and interact with the students.
Kim and Dave Rhodes have learned a lot since they welcomed their adopted son Frankie home from his native Haiti last month.
// They’ve learned to adapt, to savor every moment and that the biggest hearts often belong to the littlest people.
The last lesson was demonstrated Tuesday morning when Kim, Dave, Frankie, 2, and the couple’s two daughters Emma, 7, and Izzie, 3, visited Lyman Elementary School to accept a check for $124.14 from Martha Griswold’s second-grade class. The money will be sent to Heartline Ministries, which runs the Maranatha Orphanage where Frankie used to live.
Frankie, like many other Haitian orphans in the process of being adopted, was granted humanitarian pardon after an earthquake destroyed much of Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12. Though the adoption process might not be legally complete for a year or more, Frankie is now home with his family in Spartanburg.
Griswold said she was touched when, after learning about the earthquake, her class of 19 immediately offered to help. The class decided to take home film canisters marked with the letter “H” and collect loose change. The project was dubbed “$100 by the 100th Day: The Helping Haiti Project.” The goal was surpassed in less than a week.
After hearing about Frankie’s homecoming, class members requested to send their money to Heartline’s Maranatha Orphanage, which today is home to a makeshift medical clinic.
“It’s such compassion and caring, for them to know there is a world beyond Lyman,” Griswold said. “And then Frankie showed up. This is just amazing for them.”
In unison, Griswold’s students called Frankie by name when the Rhodeses walked into the classroom, equipped with a box full of cupcakes topped with the Haitian flag.
“He’s just like us, but he speaks other languages and he lived in a different country,” said Courtney Cogburn, 8.
The Rhodeses took time to answer students’ questions about Frankie, like what language he speaks (Creole) and what his new favorite food is (pizza). He loves to watch Barney on television and is adjusting to sleeping in a room by himself. Pillows are a new commodity, and Frankie likes to collect them into piles.
He had his first experience playing in snow not long after arriving home; temperatures in Haiti rarely dip below 80 degrees.
Dave Rhodes thanked the class on behalf of the family for their generous donation to help Frankie’s homeland.
“Your giving makes a huge difference in kids like Frankie’s lives,” he said.
In general, Kim said Frankie hasn’t missed a beat since making the transition to life in America, and his older sisters have welcomed him with open arms and hearts.
“I still can’t believe it when I look at all my children and he’s here,” Kim said, looking on as Frankie joined in on a book reading with the class.
“This is just so neat, to see kids come together, no matter what walk of life they’re in,” she said. “I think there’s something very powerful to give to someone else, and we’ve been blessed to be on the receiving end of it.”