Kristin and I have decided to volunteer at Home for Hope orphanage on Wednesdays. After my first visit, I just couldn't go back. I told myself it was because of time, but if I was honest I know it was because it was just too difficult for me to know my son is there and I can't see him. Yet, over the past several weeks, I've felt my heart shift so that I am emotionally ready to engage with the other children who may never be adopted. I had made plans to go today. A few days ago, I received an email from some friends of friends who just received word that they have a son and he is two years old. I asked them if I could visit him on their behalf. Of course, they said yes.
So today, after spending a few minutes playing on the see-saws with a dozen or so little ones, I asked the helper if she knew Isaiah (just learned I am not allowed to post his Rwandan name). As soon as she pointed to him, I recognized him from the pictures. What a child of strength. It was such a joy for me to tell him in Kinyarwandan that I am friends with his forever mom and dad and that they are coming soon to get him. I was able to play with him, help feed him, and just watch and observe this precious boy.
He ate in a room I hadn't been in before. In the room were five handicapped little boys all in one crib. Their legs are crippled and for some they cannot even sit up. My heart broke for these little ones. There was a woman there from Burundi who was volunteering and so I joined her in feeding and holding these precious little ones. Angelo was the one with whom I spent the most time. Judging by his facial features and size, I would guess he may be as old as four years old, but he is still eating out of a bottle and cannot stand, nor can he speak. I asked if I could hold him and the helpers were so sweet to change him, put on nice clothes and then let me hold him. At first he was so animated and I tried to hold him up so he could at least move his legs. Then they gave me a bottle with which to feed him. I rocked him like a baby and just sang these words, "You are loved. You are loved. You are loved." to the tune of an old worship song called "You are Lord." I could feel his body relaxing in my arms. I kept looking into his eyes and telling him, "You are not forgotten. You are loved." I felt like I could stay there forever.
And then my friends were leaving, so I tried to put him back in the crib. He just screamed and cried. I told him I would be back. And I will.