De. Mani the Mom

In La Jolla

By Nasrin Mani, M.D.

I’d always thought I’d be a mom some day but Fate dictated otherwise and I’d pretty much accepted that I would be “childless”. Then something quite miraculous happened. I came across a small orphanage home in Mexico – not far from our wonderful life in La Jolla.

They needed a doctor to help make sure the children had the medical care they needed. Those skills were in my bag and I love kids so I said, Why  not?

A Dusty Little Road To Love

I crossed the border, drove up a dusty little road and was greeted by dozens of little faces with huge smiles.  Some timid ones hid behind the bigger kids and some rushed to embrace me as if they’d known me forever. Me – a woman they had never met who could not even speak their language. Within minutes I had children fussing with one another about who would next sit in my lap. Did I fall in love? Absolutely. Totally.

The duties as medical director expanded into the duties (and privilege) of helping the home raise funds for a much needed dormitory. Things were crowded and growing girls need some level of privacy.  Helping them was like getting hugged. All of a sudden I had not one child, but dozens!

Expanding The Family

On many of our visits to Los Angelitos I take some of our staff. They have big hearts and wide open arms and the children have their Nasrin Mom and many aunties and an occasional uncle to visit with them. We watch them grow and learn and embrace life. It is an experience we all treasure each and every time we travel that little dusty little road.

On Being A Mom

I am now officially a “Mom” for the children at Los Angelitos – a title I always wanted and now have. What they have given me is a hundredfold of what I have been able to give them. They show me their schoolwork, their drawings, their new shoes, their tidy perfectly made beds. But the big gift is that they show me their hearts. I am embraced and hugged and squeezed and kissed. Sometimes the goodbyes come paired with tears. “I’ll see you soon” never seems to be soon enough.

We recently had a small celebration of appreciation. They wanted to thank their “mom” and I was honored to be given such an esteemed place in their lives. We invited our friends from home to help us celebrate – and in doing so, they too joined the giving and the loving.

Young Hearts Giving Back

The children learn about giving back – they pay it forward. Three of the girls who came to the orphanage 10 years ago now attend college and live onsite to help take care of the younger ones. Their family grows.  We are all so proud of their dedication. Proud that they care so deeply. Proud that on some level we could help make their lives a little easier and a little more certain.

So thank you, my wonderful beautiful children, for opening your hearts to a new mom who truly loves you very very much!

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