The Miracle Foundation was established on Mother’s Day in 2000, when Caroline Boudreaux was traveling in India and found herself face-to-face with orphaned children for the first time.
In her own words, this is Caroline’s story of her experience and why she chose to dedicate her life to empowering orphaned children to reach their full potential.
At age 28, I was an account executive at a TV station in Austin, Texas. I was making more money than I had ever dreamed of and had the material things that seemed to define success: A beautiful home, flashy new car and active social life. But even though from the outside it looked like I’d made it, I felt empty inside. I was sure there had to be more to life, but I didn’t have a clue what that was. I knew in my heart I had a bigger purpose that I wasn’t fulfilling.
It was about that time I decided to take a sabbatical from my job and life. My friend Chris Monheim (now Poynor) and I came up with the crazy idea of taking a trip around the world to chase summer for a year. We pulled out a map of the world and began plotting our course. Chris insisted that one of the stops along the way had to be India; she had been sponsoring a young boy there and wanted to meet him. I was skeptical and thought she was wasting her money. I doubted she was making a difference and told her that it was a scam.
In January 2000, we set out on our global journey. By May we had made our way to India and the small, rural village where Manus, Chris’ sponsored child, lived. Upon our arrival, we received a ceremonial welcome from the entire village. Chris was absolutely thrilled to meet Manus and see how her money had been helping him and his family. I couldn’t believe that he was real.
The first orphan I ever held, Sheebani
We would soon learn that Manus and his family were the lucky ones.
A few days later we were invited to dinner at the home of a local family. Nothing could have prepared us for what we were to encounter there. When we arrived, more than a hundred beautiful, hungry, smiling, parentless children greeted us. Our host, Damodar Sahoo, had taken in an orphan child nearly two decades before; over the years he had continued to take in children until his “family” numbered more than a hundred.
I had never seen an orphan before in my life. Every single one of them was vying for our attention, sometimes pushing each other out of the way for a hug from us or to touch our hands. It was overwhelming. They were the sweetest, saddest children I had ever seen. There were so many, and every single one was precious and perfect, desperately in need of love, attention—someone to care.
A little girl named Sheebani came and put her head on my knee. When I picked her up, she literally pushed her body into mine, in an attempt to get the affection she lacked. I sang her a lullaby and rocked her to sleep. I went upstairs to put her into her crib, and was shocked to see that there wasn’t one. Instead, the room was filled with hard, wooden-slatted beds. No mattresses, just wooden beds that reminded me of a concentration camp.
I gently laid Sheebani down, but when I heard her bones hit the boards, I broke. I couldn’t believe it that any child had to live like this. Here I was, traveling around the world without a care, and these children were going to bed hungry and lonely every night, on hard wooden beds. I was angry, hurt, and embarrassed.
Sheebani’s sleeping quarters with hard, wooden-slatted beds
How many more were there? Where were their parents? How could we possibly help? How could we not?
The day was auspicious — it was Mother’s Day in the U.S. Right at that moment, I decided I had to do something to help parentless children. I simply could not go on with my life as if they didn’t exist. I prayed that others would help me.
The idea for the Miracle Foundation was born that day. A few months later I filed the paperwork and my tiny, start-up nonprofit became official. Donors and sponsors stepped up immediately in order to help these vulnerable children. Miraculously, people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from all socio-economic backgrounds have joined us in this journey over the years. Hundreds have come to India to meet the children we support, and many more have become monthly donors and are financially committed to our work. We’re appropriately named.
I hope you’ll be inspired to get involved. It’s so much fun to make a difference, especially for children who truly need and deserve it. Become a monthly sponsor and help us fund the recurring expenses at our homes. With just $50 or $100 per month you can help us sustain these orphanages—and create a miracle for each of these precious children.
Your support will absolutely change an orphan’s life and I’m pretty confident it will change yours as well.