Kelsey and I daily face this challenge: how do we share these kid’s stories so we can educate and move you to action but at the same time maintain our children’s privacy? Our kid’s have parts of their stories that we feel they should have the right to keep secret. So many wonderful volunteers and visitors come in and out of these kid’s lives so that changing or deleting names is not enough. So instead I have taken several of our kid’s stories and merged them into one. This story is not a true story; it is several true stories. It is not one child’s tale; it is several children’s tales. My hope is this story protects our children and at the same time allows you to understand and sympathize with their hardships.
When your aunt visits you at the orphanage you cower in the corner. For hours after she leaves you are not yourself. You look only at the ground. You don’t smile. You don’t play. You shake with fear and nothing we do comforts you.
You scream in my arms… a scream that pierces the air like a knife. I struggle with you as you arch your back and try with all your might to escape the confines of my arms. My arms. Moments ago they were comfort and safety to you but now they are an iron gate trapping you and keeping you from running away from the danger.
Danger I didn’t know about… sweet baby I didn’t know. There is so much I don’t know. I don’t know what your life was like before you came to us. I don’t know if you weren’t fed well because your family didn’t have money or if they just didn’t care. I didn’t know if your sleepless nights and fearful cries were because you were adjusting to a new home or recovering from an abusive one. I didn’t know.
But I know now. I see the terror in your eyes as your family comes closer. I feel you struggle in my arms to escape. Your screams are tearing my heart to sheds, like your finger nails are scraping against it. As I struggle to keep you from tumbling out of my arms I start to share your fear. I can smell it in the air… I can feel your heart race against my hands… I know that this isn’t right.
I see the coldness in your father’s eyes as I ask him about you. He looks right into my eyes and declares, “I don’t want him… throw him in a pit latrine.” My stomach churns and I struggle to grasp what he just said. I think about your beautiful eyes and the way they crinkle when you smile. Why can’t this man see your beauty? How could he even think such a thought, let alone voice it out loud? I am shaking as I walk away, shaking from anger at his cruelty, pain for your precious heart, and fear for your future.
The joy I feel when reuniting family members with their kids is gone… and replaced with an uneasiness that makes me nauseous. And a determination that sets me on fire. This isn’t right. Everything in you… everything in me is screaming that this isn’t right. You won’t be safe. I will fight. Fight for your safety and your future.
Body of Christ please join us… join us on your knees and pray for our children’s safety.