Home of the Open Heart cares for individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. From 2004 until 2019 we were able to provide housing in duplexes/small cottages on our property for single mothers who were in a tough place in their lives. We offered them opportunity to live as independently as they were able, enabling and empowering them toward independence. For those 15 years we were blessed to offer support to quite a number of single parent families, while having the opportunity to be a part of our big family.
Since 2019, each of the cottages (as well as the hospice) has been repurposed and is being used by an anti trafficking group.
We continue to support these families, who now live in the community. Here are some of their stories, if you’d like to partner with us to support them.
A Mother and Daughter
We were contacted by a local hospital in 2005 about a mother who was wanting to leave her newborn daughter at the hospital. She was HIV+, homeless, and without any family. She had lived on the streets for most of her life and was not used to having people love and support her, so was very cautious as we reached out to her, and was reluctant to share anything about her past. She didn’t know what it meant to trust anyone; but after living on our property in one of our cottages, she slowly learned to trust us. During the decade that she lived with us we witnessed her grow in so many ways to become a valued part of our family, a changed woman.
This mother was strong and healthy until late 2014 when she became often unwell and though she went for regular doctors check-ups, her health deteriorated and she passed away in hospital on April 27th, 2015. Her death was so unexpected and a shock to us all and we miss her dearly. She is especially missed by her precious, little daughter, who was ten years old when her mummy died. However had lived on the property with us all her life and so she knew us so well. She moved right in to being in the children’s home with all the other children, under Paul and Penny’s supervision. She adjusted courageously and continues to live alongside the others who have also lost their parents to AIDS.
A Family of 3
A Chinese emigrant to Burma had found her way to Chiang Rai after meeting and marrying her husband in Bangkok, Thailand and then returning to his hometown in northern Chiang Rai. She has two sons. Just a few days after giving birth to her second son, her husband was arrested and taken to jail on the charges of possession of illegal drugs. For a Thai the penalty is a death sentence. This mother was left alone to care for her two sons. She was not able to work and had no money. She found out she was HIV+, she needed help, her health was failing.
They came to Home of the Open Heart in March 2006. Since then, we have been able to provide a small cottage for this mother and her two little boys. We also have been able to start to teach her about HIV and her health. Sadly, at the end of 2006 we found out that her husband had died of AIDS while in prison. It was a very difficult time for her and she grieved for many days. We were able to be with her and support her through this time of grieving.
Most days she is feeling okay, although she is not strong physically. We often find her taking care of the garden around her house. Both her boys attend the local school now and all three of them have become a part of our community. The older son, loves going to school. They are very shy boys, and it is hard to get them to talk but they have beautiful smiles. We are blessed to have them as a part of our family.
A Mother and Son
This mother was born in eastern Thailand. We received a phone call from Tamar ministry down in Pattaya about a 36 year old HIV+ woman who was 8 months pregnant and had nowhere to go. She arrived shortly after that. She was very sick, underweight and had a severe rash over her body. We took her straight to the hospital to help get it under control. She had been given ARV medicine previously but had not been properly educated with how to take it, so we worked with her to get her into the swing of the ARV regime.
Her son was born shortly after her arrival. He was given medication when he was born to reduce the risk of developing HIV. He is a healthy and very happy little boy. This mother is becoming more and more independent as time passes, learning to do her own shopping and taking care of her little house.