The orphanage was founded by a couple who were struggling with mental illness.
When they moved to California in the 1990s, the couple’s mental illness took a toll.
After the couple died, their orphanage moved to a larger facility in Lusaka.
“They said, ‘If we could keep the orphanages in Lussa, we could make our life work,'” she says.
“And we were like, ‘Why don’t we just go back to Lusa?'”
A small group of staff members, known as the “family,” moved to the new facility and set up the orphanies, but it wasn’t long before they started to notice a change.
The facility was full of homeless and people in need.
“We didn’t know how to help the kids and we were very confused by that,” she says of the staff.
“That’s when we started thinking, ‘Well, maybe we should open the orphanets and put the kids in foster homes?'”
The staff at the orphanaging moved to foster homes after the staff relocated, but when they arrived at the foster homes, they were told that they weren’t eligible for adoption.
When the staff went to the county to try and adopt the children, they discovered that the families had been denied the chance to adopt.
“When the staff at our foster homes tried to get them into the foster home and they didn’t have a foster home, we didn’t feel like we were getting the best of the lot,” says Kiko.
The staff and the family decided to open the foster children’s orphanages and foster families, and they’ve seen a huge improvement in the children’s health.
But as the staff and family members continued to work to get the children adopted, they had to make tough decisions.
Some were told they would be kicked out of the orphanaged if they didn to adopt the kids, and others were told the kids would be put on a waiting list.
Kiko says the staff was surprised when they were eventually told they could adopt the orphaned kids.
“If we were going to do this, it was going to be a very, very difficult process,” she explains.
“But I knew that was the right decision.”
When they got to the facility in 2017, the staff were able to adopt two of the children.
And they’ve been able to keep the other two in foster care ever since.
“The staff is so passionate about this, they’re very caring,” Kiko explains.