Some women came and took the toddlers out, and then we saw our son. They brought out Elijah to us.
His face was shining and smiling as he looked at us, flapping his arms to reach us.
|“You guys really came back for me?”|
We scooped him up and covered him with kisses, he squealed with delight. His face had changed a bit, and two crooked front teeth greeted us from his smiles. His body was like skin and bones, not any bigger than when we left a few months ago, his skin dry.
We took him into the “toy room” and undressed him to put his cutie outfit on from grandma b.
Which is when I saw how tiny he really was, it was a bit shocking.
But heck, he does tiny well. He is just precious in our eyes, and we know he will plump up when he gets home. And who doesn’t love a tiny baby? 🙂
Doesn’t he look kind of like a little American boy in this picture with his cute little outfit?
Baby boy had a dreadful cough, and a thick runny nose, but despite it all, his smile will light up a room, and he wanted to tell the world that he was happy mama and papa came back. This boy truly amazes us by how resilient he is, how smart, how happy despite his situation.
I walked to his room to get his toy we left last time, and I heard a panting cry. Over and over a baby was sceaming out from their room in agony and distress. I slowly walked down the hall, and peered into a room, and about 9 pairs of eyes looked up at me as I hesitantly entered. I saw the little one, screaming, in the corner. As I approached, I noticed something was off–the baby had no diaper or pants on, which is very uncommon here. As I walked closer, the screaming child lay on her back, and then I saw why. Her diaper rash was so red it was almost purple, and in her distress, she lay in her crib, alone, with mittens over her hands, screaming and panting for breaths.
It was too much and I ran out. I started crying a little, “Are you sad?” Dasha asked me, “No,” I said as I picked up Elijah. I didn’t want any of the workers see me crying as a reflection on them or on our son.
I am not sure these pictures do justice to how tiny he really is. Even Dasha and Sveta were surprised by his size. Our tiny angel.
We played everything, and he soaked in the time. We stacked blocks, we crawled and read books. He loved to pick up toys and throw them. He and Finley will be best buds.
I gave him a sip of my water, and he cried and squealed for more. He cried and arched his tiny back onto the floor begging for more water. I don’t think the babies are given water to reduce diaper changes, which would explain the dry skin.
Then little one started to get tired. He is used to being in his crib, and only his crib so it was hard for him to get comfortable in our arms. But you see, little one, mama and papa are persistent, and God sent us to you to teach you how to be a baby. A baby who knows what it’s like to be held and loved, and trust in adults. To trust that your needs will be met, that you will be given food and water, and that you won’t go hungry.
Papa wanted some Elijah cuddles too.
Right before he was about to doze off, his nannies came in and said that it was time for lunch. I squeezed one more packed of healthy food into his mush and we slowly fed him, we were careful to take our time so that he could get every drop.
We said goodbye to our tiny love, and hopped in the car, off to lunch.
90 kids live here, and when we opened the door, there where kids everywhere. I didn’t even see her come up, until I heard, “Mama!” and felt her grab onto me, wrapping her arms all the way around me, burying her face in my stomach so I coudn’t see her face.
She was crying, and wouldn’t let go.
We hugged and hugged. We brought her into a room with the director and sat with her. “Maria, we missed you so much! We are here now, we love you so, so much sweet girl.”
“I miss mama and papa”
I pulled out my phone to show her a picture of her new room, all to herself, her pink walls, her own bed with flowers on it, the books and cloths, her baby doll and she started crying again. I am not sure she likes her new school.
But her tears didn’t last long. We pulled out a hello kitty coloring book, some crayons and a jump rope for her.
“Mama and Papa are here now, Maria. We love you so much.”
Maria and papa kept coloring together, and I poked my head out into the big room with lace curtains from floor to ceiling. Then I saw Vanya! He must have transferred schools with Maria. His whole face lit up when he saw me, and started doing his best acrobatics.
If we were approved for one more child, little Vanya has our hearts. We love this funny, sweet, happy boy.
I started talking to some of the bigger boys, some 16, who looked much like adults living in this orphanage. But once I started talking to them, I realized.
They were just little kids. Soften spoken, shy, kind, respectful. They told me they wanted a mama and a papa too.
Ouch, my heart.
They wanted to come live with a family too. Andrew and my heart are really heavy for these big kids, because they truly are just kids.
We played with the kids, they all wanted to talk to us. We took their pictures and they asked us to print some out for them next time we come.
As you look at some of the faces of these precious children we met today, I want to share with you some real statistics for orphans in their country. Its easy to respond numbly and see the statistics in terms of just big numbers… but when we allow ourselves to become personally involved and risk the greif that follows awareness, they become more than mere statistics… they become real children with real hearts that ache for their parents and real bodies that hunger for care. Every single child that makes up the thousands or millions is a precious child, just like Maria and just like Elijah and just like Finley.
–Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home. These studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.
In R and the Ukraine, studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen.
|Their sweetness would surprise you|
Another R study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide,
5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless
and 3,000 were in prison within three years…
I pray for our own hearts to continually be stirred for them. To never forget when we come home. These children need our prayers, they need advocates, and they need men and women to stand up for them.
We asked to go up and see Maria’s room and the kids were all so excited they were in a tizzy. They hugged us, and held our hands and stared into our eyes.
These boys love Andrew so much.
And when it felt like we had just arrived, it was time to go. “Goodbye, mama,” Maria said, showing us her good English with a proud smile on her face.
Before we left, we walked back to the room with all of our stuff we had given Maria. The girls looked at it all in awe, “Ohhhh, Maria,” they said as they gently touched the books and crayons. (We will give them all the donations tomorrow 🙂
|Kate is the only child out of 90 listed on RR. Please donate, share, pray.|