Chaichana grew up abandoned and shuffled among family members. But he says his sponsor helped him overcome feelings of worthlessness.
Chaichana has no memory of his mother, who died when he was an infant. He doesn't remember the day his father dropped him into his grandmother's tired arms and hurried away without looking back.
But even though his mind doesn't remember, his heart can't forget that abandonment. It would take one person who lives thousands of miles away to teach Chaichana what true love feels like.
Chaichana says other children often mocked him because he lived with his grandmother. "When I was young, the kids always made fun of me," says Chaichana.
"They teased me about my family, my parents & I felt really bad and hurt. I didn't want to go to school, I didn't want to make friends, and I felt that I was an outsider."
Even after Chaichana's grandmother registered him at the Sai Tan RakChild Development Center (TH-617), Chaichana struggled to make friends.
He was painfully shy, and every few months his grandmother had to send him to live with his father because of her poor health and inability to care for him.
The trips to his father's home left Chaichana reeling. They disrupted his life and fueled his feelings of insecurity. He'd return to his grandmother's home sullen, refusing to go to school.
The constant breaks from the Compassion-assisted center made it hard for him to keep a sponsor.
"Every time we announced the names of children who received letters from their sponsor, I noticed that Chaichana was sad," says Vaila Wongwanna, center director.
"He saw his friends writing letters but he could not because he did not have one."
"I was very disappointed," adds Chaichana.
"I felt that no one really loved me.
"I was very lonely and empty & but I acted like I was normal. I didn't want anyone to know my feelings."
A Chosen Son
Chaichana's outlook on life changed the day he found out he had a sponsor. For the first time in his life, Chaichana felt that he had been chosen after a life of being rejected and passed around. His sponsor, Mary Ann, had chosen him.
"She makes my life better," says Chaichana, who met Mary Ann when she traveled to Thailand in 2006. "I like having a relationship with her through writing letters. She tells me about her life, her job, her hobbies & she encourages me to keep my faith in God and helps me in so many ways."
Mary Ann's letters those simple words of encouragement and love on lined and smudged paper are a lifeline for Chaichana.
When Mary Ann explained to him the importance of church, he began attending regularly. And with each mention of God's love, Chaichana's heart softened. He says her letters helped lead him to Christ.
"I Feel That I Am Worthy."
"We all have seen a change in Chaichana," says Vaila, the center director. "Since he met Mary Ann, he is much more committed to Christ and to the church. Everybody in the office noticed this good change in him."
Today Chaichana, who is 18, dreams about his future. He wants to graduate from college and work as an engineer. He credits his success to Mary Ann his lifesaver.
"I have received the love that I sought for my life from my sponsor," says Chaichana."I feel that finally there is someone who loves me and I feel really good & I feel that I am worthy."
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