April 4, 2011
Her limbs were about the diameter of a dining room chair leg as she scoots her way along the ground. At 3 years old she still can’t walk so she pulls her little bottom across the sandy ground with her heels. She settles down 10 yards from us, oblivious to the greetings, chairs being brought and arranged in the shade, and subsequent discussion of her and her brother. She is lost in a silent world of her own making – lolling her head back and from side to side while her eyes roll back in her head then back and forth, yet never focusing on anything of this world. Autism? Spinal Bifita? Deaf/mute? Our minds search for a label. Soon she curls up in the dirt, thumb in mouth, and sleeps.
She reminds me of Lovena – the Haitian girl we tried to adopt in 1999 – thin as a rail, sick, a piece of refuse to throw on the pile and be forgotten, so the only place to find a “bed” is the dirt floor of a church.
The girl’s mother sat there with head bent in shame. The first time we had seen a woman in the villages with pants on – EVERY woman wears a shetenga – a cloth wrap that acts as a skirt – was it from her poverty or her insolence? She looked too young to have a 9 year old son – sure enough – too young. Pregnant at 14.
The history is a sordid tale : the “mother” is from town – a poor compound where young girls often fall into the trap of selling themselves for a treat. She is pregnant and has a beautiful little boy. Does she love and nurture him? For a time? Or more likely the grandmother cares for him – if there is a grandmother. The husband is soon dead. She finds another man and creates a little girl – but after 6 months sees she is damaged goods. The father has nothing to do with them. So she moves to the village for a job offer. She is a drunk and the job soon is down the drain as are all of her potentialities. She finds another man to “love” her – but he wants nothing to do with the children. So they stay at a part of the church building, while mom shifts back and forth trying to keep a man to care for her without totally abandoning her kids. But it is obvious, they are 2nd priority – or third.
The boy is a solid, responsive, yet obviously neglected child. He wants to come and live with us! He is eager even.
Lord, will these be our first children?
Pray with us.