They are all tucked in… not in their own little beds but tucked in, none the less. Tummies full, cheeks kissed, belly’s tickled, and each one prayed over.
There are six of them. But it is the one, two and three year old that have captured my heart.
The abuse they have suffered is unfathomable to me. So little and they have known more fear, hunger and pain than I have known in my whole adult life.
They flinch at the slightest raise of the arm. They shriek when they think you are leaving the room. They cry endlessly to be held as if they cannot be held close enough, tight enough, often enough. They eat non-stop, until their bellies might burst and they still want milk. They have been starved. Maybe since they were born. The night is terrifying, with screams and dreams that don’t let them wake up.
They are broken. Their bodies are full of scars and healing wounds. Small ones that look like cigarette burns and fingernails scratches and boils and the worst part, for me, is just not knowing.
Each dirty diaper, they stand still as a statue. Waiting. Silent. Their bodies tensing when I change them. They hold my eyes. Baby powder gets a pat of approval. Baby lotion gets a smile and sometimes a giggle.
Their eyes watch every move of every person in the room. When I touch one of them, the others eyes’ follow my hands, intently. They already take care of each other. They protect each other. They have a sense of independence that I have never ever seen in ones so little. They are wiser and more aware than any children I have ever known.
And yet they are resilient. The middle one hugged me and kissed me spontaneously today. I had to blink my tears away.
They are learning to trust. They are learning that when they climb up in the high chair, there will be food. They are seeing when they get hurt, there are prayers, hugs and kisses. They are starting to relax and let me be the “mom”, the one who should take care of them. They are learning what love is.
I have rescued many and seen so many children heal over the last 13 years. But these siblings have awakened afresh in my heart the why of what we do.
And why we take those no one else will take.
And why we love how we love.
And why God sent His son Jesus to die for us.
I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt… there is hope in HIS love.