Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on 9-11. Volunteer today


Most Popular


A Fresh Start

Treasures Found

New vistas open up for three young brothers from Guatemala.

At breakfast, I watch the boys eat using table manners I’d never seen at the orphanage. “Of all our kids, they were the least domesticated,” Gregg chuckles. “They had absolutely no domestic skills.” Over eggs, the boys argue about who has the best English (Luís to Juanito: “You write the best, but I speak the best.”), and get a kick out of repeating how Juan and Higinio’s names are pronounced by their teachers (“John” and “Gee-gee-nio”).

Their English is still choppy, but they have no trouble expressing themselves and they understand nearly everything. When together, they revert to Spanish, something their parents encourage, making sure the boys have access to Spanish-language television and music. 

The four of us spend the day riding bikes, bantering, playing; they regale me with stories of their latest accomplishments, and I get to know their new routines. When I ask about the best part of their new life, Juanito raises his arms in the air and exults, “¡Ahora estamos libres!” (Now we’re free!)

Later, as we play games at Chuck E. Cheese’s and go out for ice cream, I realize the truth of Juanito’s comment. At the orphanage their future was limited; in the United States, their new life opens up possibilities. Their future, their new freedom, includes the best of gifts: growing up in the warmth of their parents’ care and affection.

“They give the greatest hugs,” Mary Jo says. “Melt-your-heart hugs.” 

These links are provided for informational purposes only. AARP does not endorse, and has no control over, or responsibility for, the linked sites or the content, advertisements, materials, products, or services available on or throughout these sites.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.



National and state fact sheets listing services, programs,  benefits, laws and policies for grandparents raising children. Read

GrandFamilies Guide

Information, tips and tools for grandparents raising grandchildren. Read


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Carrabba's Italian Grill Chicken Plate, Member Benefits

Members save 15% on lunch and dinner every day at Carrabba's Italian Grill.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

membership ancestry

Members save 30% on  a one-year subscription to

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Being Social


Wisdom Circle

Join our circle to ask for — or give — advice on topics such as love, friendship, grief, parenting and grandparenting. Discuss

Grandparenting: Joys & Challenges

There are many joys from being a grandparent, so let's celebrate them together! Discuss

Raising Grandchildren

Grandparent caring for grandkids share tips and discuss challenges, solutions and triumphs along the way. Join