Little Reaksmey never had a chance to be part of a family but he is now thanks to CCF

With a big smile on his face and wrapped up in a warm, enveloping cuddle with his ‘mum’, Reaksmey looks like the happiest boy in the world.

When he goes home after a day at CCF nursery, where he has plenty of little playmates for company, he’s fussed over by his two adoring new sisters, who are thrilled at finally having a brother.
But this little family has a difference.
Reaksmey’s ‘mum’ is his caregiver at CCF, who has fostered the 13-month-old and welcomed him into her family with her husband and two daughters in Phnom Penh, after he suffered a difficult start in life.
Born with with infant drug addiction, Reaksmey spent his first days living in squalid conditions on the streets of Phnom Penh before the Ministry of Social Affairs stepped in and he was brought to CCF.
For months, Reaksmey was fighting for his life in hospital but pulled through. His caregiver at CCF’s nursery, Chek Loeuth, formed an affectionate bond with her young charge as he began to thrive.

Last October, during the Pchum Ben holidays, Loeuth took Reaksmey home with her as part of a new initiative by CCF to allow youngsters without parents or a safe home to spend the festivities with their key caregivers and families.
It went so well that Loeuth applied to foster Reaksmey on a permanent basis and offer him the stable, family home that he’d never known before.
“It’s love,” says Loeuth speaking about her relationship with Reaksmey.
“My family love him so much too. We only have girls in our family, so we are all so pleased to have him with us.”
Her two daughters, aged 12 and nine, couldn’t be more delighted with the newest addition to the family, she adds.
Reaksmey spends his days at the CCF nursery with Loeuth and returns to their home nearby in the evenings and at weekends, and is loving family life. He breaks into a huge smile when he sees his foster mum and is scooped up into a cuddle.

It’s not certain yet whether the toddler has suffered lasting issues from his bad start in life – he has some development concerns – but his determined, tenacious character to tackle what lies ahead is already shining through.
He won’t be alone. By Reaksmey’s side, will be his devoted foster mum and sisters, the family he deserves to have.

Kate Ginn/CCF

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