Miracle Foundation was born on Mother’s Day 2000, when Caroline Boudreaux was traveling in India and visited her first orphanage. Here’s her story…
In her own words:
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, a flashy new car and an 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 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.
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 orphaned child nearly two decades before; over the years he had continued to take in children until his “family” numbered more than one hundred.
I had never met an orphan before. Every one was vying for our attention, pushing each other out of the way for a hug 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 someone who cared.
A little girl named Sheebani came and put her head on my knee. When I picked her up, she pushed her body into mine. I sang her a lullaby and rocked her to sleep. I went upstairs to put her into her crib, but there wasn’t one. Instead, the room was filled with hard, wooden-slatted beds.
I gently laid Sheebani down, but when I heard her bones hit the boards, I broke. I couldn’t believe that any child had to live like this. Here I was, traveling around the world without a care, while these children went to bed hungry and lonely every night, on hard wooden beds. I was angry and embarrassed.
How many more were there? Where were their parents? How could we possibly help these orphans? How could we not?
The day was auspicious—it was Mother’s Day. Right at that moment, I decided I had to do something to help these children. I simply could not go on with my life as if they didn’t exist.
The idea for Miracle Foundation was born that day.
A few months later I filed the paperwork and my tiny, nonprofit was born. Donors stepped up immediately to help these vulnerable children. Miraculously, people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from all socioeconomic backgrounds have joined us on this journey over the years. Thousands of people have taken a stand for children and donated to support our mission. Will you be one of them?
photo: John Marshall