The Inspiring Life Of “Chika”: The Remarkable True Story Of A Haitian Earthquake Survivor And Her Adoptive Father
Mitch and Janice Albom fell in love with Chika Jeune, a little girl born in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Despite her young age, they saw something beautiful and special in her, so they adopted her and brought her into their lives.
For Mitch and Janice, Chika was an opportunity to experience fatherhood, motherhood, and family for the first time.
Their relationship was unique: although just three years old, Chika lived life to the fullest, teaching them lessons about joy, love, and loss.
Her exuberant spirit reminded them to appreciate all the small things that life has to offer.
Through their story of finding each other after tragedy and forging a beautiful bond despite the circumstances, we can learn how precious each moment is – no matter how long it lasts.
How A Devastating Earthquake Brought Chika Jeune Into The Life Of Mitch Albom
The backstory of Chika Jeune is one filled with tragedy and destruction.
On January 9, 2010, she was born in Haiti to Reselia and Fedner Jeune and became the third daughter out of their four children.
Just three days later, a massive earthquake ripped through the country, shaking the foundations both physically and figuratively.
Chika’s mother lost her life during childbirth while giving birth to a son, leading Chika to live with her mother’s friend Herzulia instead of her father.
When a neighbor noticed Chika carrying dirty sheets up high steps in Herzulia’s apartment, they suggested that she be taken to an orphanage.
From there, the life of Mitch Albom changed forever as he adopted Chika from Port-au-Prince orphanage.
Despite very little record of what happened before this fateful event involving Mitch Albom, it is well known that Chika Jeune’s early life was marked by an earthquake which brought about immense tragedy and destruction – more than any other natural disaster had done before or since.
Mitch Albom’S Compassion For Haiti Leads To A Lifelong Commitment
Mitch Albom was moved by stories he heard of Haitian children trapped beneath rubble after the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010.
He vowed to do whatever he could to help and soon boarded a plane from Michigan that took him five hours away to Port-au-Prince airport.
The sight of the leveled city overwhelmed him, but amongst all the destruction, one thing remained untouched: an orphanage in Port-au-Prince filled with desperate survivors seeking refuge.
When Mitch arrived at the orphanage with supplies such as water and wet wipes, people surrounded him, hungry for even just a morsel of sustenance.
This sense of desperation moved Mitch deeply and stayed with him long after that moment.
As he exhaled hard and wiped away drops of sweat from his face, two small hands slipped into his on either side; it was a little boy and girl who had taken notice of Mitch’s desire to help their community.
He knew that he couldn’t walk away without doing something to alleviate their suffering and decided to take on a more active role in helping them rebuild their lives; he contributed by building bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms and laundry areas – anything that would make life easier for these people – while brightening up the dirty walls with paint.
Eventually, Mitch decided to fully commit himself to helping by becoming the head of this orphanage in Port-au- Prince.
The Gift Of Love And Family In The Face Of Immeasurable Loss: Exploring Mitch’s Journey With Chika
Chika Jeune had a reputation for being bold and bossy at the orphanage, commanding the other children during relay races or dictating who could play with which doll.
Despite her strong voice and stubborn streak, something suddenly changed when she started to display odd symptoms of ill-health; her face began to droop slightly and she walked lopsidedly.
Mitch, who took over the orphanage from Mr.
Alain, quickly became concerned about Chika’s health and demanded medical attention in the form of an MRI scan that cost $750.
The results showed a mass on her brain, and due to the rudimentary clinic in Haiti lacking proper treatment options, Mitch decided to take her back with him to the United States for further medical care.
Undergoing a scan for a second time at Mott Children’s hospital in Ann Arbor provided more tangible results; her tumor was revealed to be Grade 4 cancer with little chance of survival.
Thus began a journey of hope and healing as Mitch, Janice and Chika banded together despite their September 11th circumstances – it was an opportunity that presented itself unexpectedly not just for Chika but also Mitch and Janice as they began living under one roof once more after childless years gone by.
The Value Of Slowing Down: How Chika And Morrie Taught Mitch To Appreciate Time
Mitch Albom learned something profound through Chika’s intrusion in his life, even though she was terminally ill.
Chika showed Mitch how to use time well, and appreciate the small things that he would normally take for granted.
When Chika came downstairs for breakfast, she savored every bit of the meal, taking her time for each mouthful and studying her surroundings between bites until the hour was over.
It made Mitch and Janice aware of their surroundings, made them more alert – they started to enjoy spending time like Chika had spent it – slowly.
Even in one particular incident where Chika sat at the back window in their house, studying the outside world in silent rapture – Mitch realized that this was precious time being given to him with love.
Similar to Mitch’s experience with Morrie his ailing professor in his book “Tuesdays with Morrie”, Mitch realized that those windows opened onto wonder when looked upon by those with an eye towards their own limited lifespan.
In short, while spending quality time with someone facing a terminal illness like Chika rarely yields any immediate solutions – it slows down our frantically paced lives and shows us how to use this irreplaceable resource wisely.
Chika Gave Mitch A Gift Of Renewed Perspectives And Connected Him To Nature
Mitch was jaded and his world a bit dull when Chika came into the picture.
But, Chika helped Mitch reconnect to the world in a profound way.
She made him appreciate all the little everyday wonders of life by getting him out of his middle-age headspace and back down to her level.
Chika showed him how truly magical the Disney movies are – even asking if Sleeping Beauty’s castle really exists.
With her, Mitch went to Disneyland and, instead of looking at giant rides, noticed a little duck walking out of a pond.
This sequence of events showed him that the miracles he writes about on paper could be found everywhere in nature – like baby ducks running or frogs hiding in weeds.
And it all happened when they were on her level: far closer to the ground!
He learned to look at things with renewed scrutiny and attention through Chika’s eyes, realizing that “Look!” is one of the most important words for a child – as it helps put them in touch with these potential moments of wonder around them.
Truly astounding experiences occurred when they rolled in fresh snow or covered themselves up in leaves together.
A Selfless Calling: How Fatherhood Transformed Mitch’s Life
When Mitch took Chika to meet his own father, he was reminded of just what it means to be a father.
As Mitch’s father had been something of a paternal rock for the past 17 years, providing for and taking care of Mitch’s mother’s family, Mitch realized what it truly meant to take responsibility for another person.
It wasn’t only when his father stepped in to protect him from those older kids in the lake that Mitch understood how much security a loving parent can provide.
By taking on the responsibility of caring for Chika, Mitch demonstrated that being a father means more than just meeting one’s biological obligations; it’s also about becoming an emotional support that helps others become brave and strong.
When Chika simply slid her hand into his as they walked, he was overwhelmed by emotions which further affirmed this notion.
Mitch understood through this experience what it really means to be a father- figure: nurturing and protecting someone with all your might while leading them further down their own path toward freedom and whatever goals or dreams they have set out for themselves.
It’s self-sacrificing love that comes from deep within – this is exactly what his own father showed him both through example and kindness, and it’s something Mitch now honors every day through his commitment to Chika.
The Emotional Struggle Of Foster Parents: Love Without Blood-Ties
In Finding Chika, the emotionally gripping tale of a Haitian orphan girl and her adoptive family, there comes a time when Chika is able to meet her own biological father for what would be the only time.
The experience stirs deep reflection in Mitch, both in terms of its emotional complexity as well as his role as her foster parent.
Despite his status as just a foster parent on paper, Mitch had developed into a father figure for Chika during the two years she had lived with him and Janice.
Nevertheless, the meeting was uncomfortably silent – although Fedner was open with his daughter – he simply stared blankly into the yard.
This raised many questions in Mitch’s mind such as “What kind of connection would Fedner have with Chika,” and if push came to shove -“would he be able to hand her back?”
Though uncomfortable, this moment changed something between Mitch and Chika forever – moments later she murmured before falling asleep about how much she loved him, showing that citizenship or blood ties did not determine the strength of this bond.
How A Little Girl’s Courage Brought An Unconventional Family Together For Love And Laughter
Mitch and Janice’s fight for their daughter Chika was an inspiring story of courage and love in the face of dire circumstances.
Upon receiving her initial diagnosis, Chika was given a four month prognosis – yet she fought bravely for 19 months.
The couple never gave up hope of finding a cure for their daughter, for which they scoured the internet looking for alternative treatments.
Miraculously, they found one possible treatment in Cologne, Germany.
Despite her weakened state by then, Mitch still pushed her around the city in a wheelchair so that she could see the beautiful sights such as Saint Peter’s Cathedral.
They also managed to spend one final Christmas together while Chika still had some strength; unwrapping presents and asking “Wha issit?” alongside her big screen reminders of happier times like when she wore swimming goggles or slurped ice cream.
The final summary of Finding Chika is truly touching.
Chika Jeune, born in 2010 in Haiti faced a lot of unfortunate events and difficulties throughout her short life.
Her mother had passed away when she was still very young, so she was sent to the orphanage in Port-au-Prince where she was taken care of by Mitch Albom and his wife Janice.
Tragically, at only three years old, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
However, in spite of all this hardship and sadness, Chika taught them vital lessons about life while they welcomed her into their family.
Chika spent her time making them appreciate and cherish every single moment they spent together.
She taught the couple that no matter what hardships come our way in life, we have to remain positive and take joy in seeing the beauty in the world around us.