Raising 12 children is no easy task! Adeline Bien-Aime has been the house mother at the Port-au-Prince transitional home for over two years. We asked her what life was like living with 12 energetic, loving, and caring girls, what her favorite memories are and what she does to keep herself energized throughout the day. Join us in getting to know Adeline a little bit better and take a peak into a day in our transitional home!
What is one of your favorite memories of being a house mom?
Every day is a new day for us at “House of the Beautiful Flowers.” I have memories of seeing the girls grow physically, socially, and spiritually. My finest memory was when one of the girls called me to tell me ‘Mamie I have my first menstruation. I felt really like her mother, because I was the first person to whom she told. She was almost 19 years old.
Can you tell us about one of the biggest transformations you’ve seen in the house?
Rosemyrtha is the best transformation that always makes me surprised every day. When Djougine and I went looking for her, she was tiny, her hair was yellow and then she was not as pretty. She was in the second year. When I looked at it every day, I see that we are miracles in the lives of these children. In three years only she is already is in sixth grade, this is grandiose.
Many people would think being a house mom to 12 girls would be draining. How do you keep yourself energized throughout the day?
Being mother of twelve girls is exhausting. However, love supports all, because now these girls are part of my family. When there is no class, the girls participate in everything that is done in the house. With the behavior system established each girl tries to be always among the best. Because whenever they do a few good things they enjoy a privilege like eating at restaurants, they love it. As in every family, there are always difficulties. Sometimes they tell me Mamie, you need rest and at that time, they arrange among themselves to ensure that everything goes very well. Often they deposit my phone to a place where I cannot find it so my rest is perfectly successful.
What is a typical day like in the house for you and the girls?
On Saturday, for example, there are those among them who rise early to do laundry while Mamie Eline prepares breakfast. They help Mamie Milourdes to clean the house. They go to the shower one after the other. They have three showers. I visit their room, their cabinet, to make sure their socks, uniforms and other items are in order. After lunch they study their lessons, write their homework. Sometimes there are disputes between them; I expect to play the judge from time to time. About three o’clock they dine together, often one of the staff takes advantage of this moment to rest. At the table we discuss about what happens at school or in the home. After dinner, some of them will make jewelry or rest. Those who have privileges can watch TV for two hours of time. At 9:00 or 9:30 pm, we do the Bible reading, we sing religious songs and then it is prayer. So before bed each of them can have a small private meeting with me to tell me what she liked or didn’t like during the week or what she feels sometimes.
If you could tell people in the US one thing what would it be?
I would say to the people of the United States, especially to our sponsors, thanks for allowing these girls to have a different future. If only they were in this house and could see how life shines on their faces. Contributions to change lives are not only a gift of money but it is mostly a mystery. A mystery, which comes straight from heart and this mystery God takes. Be aware that these girls pray for you each day and ask God to protect you and bless you.
What are your hopes and dreams for these girls?
My dreams for these girls are what every conscious parent wants for their children. Success, have the fear of God, be honest Haitians, complete their studies and go to college, find a good job, a good husband and have beautiful children. May they have no fear to face the future and contribute to change in Haiti. I see them reaching the highest achievements.
Adeline with a few of her girls.
Adeline Bien-Aime, Transitional Home Director