Bay Area woman travels to India to support orphaned children in the developing country

- For Raime Heyneker, there is nothing more important than spending time with her 15 month old son Theo.

"I've always had a heart for kids, but having my own kid, it makes it so much more real and...I have this precious son, he's amazing to me and as a mom, I didn't have that gravitas before. And now that I have my own son, it just makes me even more aware of children who don't," says Heyneker.

She has spent years working to help orphans with her passion taking her to India three different times with the charity known as The Miracle Foundation.  

"It started in India because on Mother's Day 2000, Caroline Boudreaux went to India, our founder, and that's where she met these children, these orphans, these starving orphans, and wanted to do something about it," says Heyneker. "She really had a heart-changing, life-changing moment, and she came back to the United States and founded the Miracle Foundation."

Heyneker started there as an intern, and she says she was inspired by her own mother.

"I was raised by a wonderful mom, and it's hard for me to imagine any child growing up without a loving parent or a loving home to grow up in. And if we could do something...it takes so little for us to make a difference in the lives of these children. And when I got to our orphanages, what was amazing was that the children there were full of life, they were fed, so just to sort of see just a little bit of help, that our foundation could provide for these kids was incredible. So my heart just melted...it was a life-changing moment."

That moment has grown into a life long commitment that has been as much about a fight against poverty as a commitment to reunite families. 

"I think most people actually are surprised at the amount of children in orphanages that aren't truly orphans. I think that number is shocking...80%, says Heyneker. "And that's what we're seeing with a lot of these kids is that these mothers and these families and these grandparents. It's the absolute last thing that they want to do, is bring their kids to an orphanage, but they have to because it's the only way their kids can be fed."

And for her, Mother's Day is always about more than just being a mom. It's also about trying to build a different world for those who don't have a mom on Mother's Day. 

"My dream is to go (to India) one day and say, these are where our orphanages used to be, but we're out of business now because we've solved the problem."

KTVU anchor Claudine Wong contributed to this report.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories