.... you won't have to say goodbye.
We didn't have a long visit with the girls today. The reason is that we were able to spend about two and a half hours in "Aurora's" room with a bunch of kids. We got to feed "Aurora" breakfast and lunch and we got to feed "Leigha" her bottle. "Leigha" was along for the ride in the room full of older kids - watching intently at all the goings on and older children running around and playing.
There are many children in this room from Reece's Rainbow. Many of them have families who have committed to them and are in the process of adoption. Others do not.
"Gage" is such a charming boy and has very good language skills. He asked if I was going to be his poppa (the words "Poppa" and "Momma" were very clear) and I had to tell him no. He has a family that has committed to adopt him, but it still made it very hard to turn away. He wants a family very badly. Hang on little one, they are coming for you.
"Isabelle" is a fiery little thing and has a good mothering instinct. She is protective of the smaller ones in her room. She needs a family to adopt her.
If we could we would adopt all of them. However - that is selfish - it denies other families the privilege of these children. As it was - to have these little children sit in your lap and to hold onto your fingers and play with you and touch your face and hair and climb on you and flat out ask if you would be theirs -
that it hurts deeply to have to get up and leave them there would be the understatement of the year.
Tomorrow, if they let us, we will gladly spend time with all these other children (in addition to "Leigha" and "Aurora" all over again. It will hurt no less to leave them tomorrow than it did today.
Statistics say that of the children in orphanages here, maybe only 10% ever get visited by their families. We did see a couple parents here visiting the children today.
I know that many of the children in this orphanage have families in the process of adoption. I know that many of the children in this orphanage have nobody. Even if every orphan on Reece's Rainbow was adopted tomorrow - the need would still be too great to fathom. We can not be overwhelmed by the size of the problem - but we must do what we can.
The young children in the orphanage - this is their life and they know no other. For older children like "Gage" - they know enough to know that sometimes Mommies and Daddies come and choose a child and that child goes home with them to a new happy life. What of the children that are never picked and experience rejection after rejection? Why weren't they picked? How long must they wait?
These are children that the world has told "you are worthless - useless monsters, hopeless retards, genetic trash that should have been destroyed". What becomes of the children that never get a momma and a poppa to love them and tell them something different?
I was reading through this site last night: Bible Orphan Ministry. It is a ministry targeting special needs children. Reading through their site - it is heartbreaking. One post speaks of trying to give all the children at an orphanage some small toy for Christmas only to run short. For those that got presents - it was their first. They had never gotten a present of any sort before.
The stark contrast is flung at me. I have never had a birthday where I got nothing. I have never had a birthday that wasn't celebrated in one form or another. I have never had a Christmas where I got nothing. Even the el-cheapo-grande-junk-toys that come in a happy meal are more present than some of these children have ever gotten. I spoke with a German Red Cross worker today at the orphanage (he spoke English). When I told him that students with special needs are mainstreamed into the educational system in the USA - he was flabbergasted. The concept that these children are really just children, that they can be a part of normal society - this was an alien concept for him. We have been given so much - resources, education, culture, family - and these little ones have nothing.
How naive I was to have unconsciously thought that we could start this journey and end it with nothing changed but two additional children. This trip will have wrought far-reaching impacts in our lives. While I do not know the final shape, the course of the stream has been permanently altered and we are forever changed.
We had Mario's Pizza today. It is good pizza. We were able to find a waiter who spoke English. The menu is a mixture of Italian/<language> so yesterday we were able to get something from the same restaurant (hey, three years of Latin comes in handy occasionally), but today we were able to make a more informed choice. It is good pizza, and the total cost of bottled drinks + medium pizza comes out to about $7 US.
So ... enough talk.... here are some pictures.