We went to pick up an abandoned child that was referred to us from a government facility. My social worker and I were prepared for the worst. Desperately underfunded and overcrowded, whenever we were asked to take a small one from this center, we were prepared to do so without hesitation. They were not set up to care for infants. Teens and older kids who were in trouble with the law, were made to care for the little ones. That was their punishment. Oh, the abuses I have stumbled upon because of this system of so-called discipline.
We sat in the office- the same office that I went to pick up another little boy almost 7 years ago now. The desks were still in the same place. (That little boy is now thriving in an adoptive family.)
Two 14 year old girls came into the office, one carrying the 9 month old, one carrying another child. The girls looked tough and angry. They were the caregivers of these children. The referred 9 month old was laid on the desk. This is theone you agreed to take. Are you interested in taking another four? I heard the social worker ask. Were they for sale? I wanted to retort.
Somehow, I had known this would happen. I quickly read the brief write up on the four. Ages 1,2,3 and 4. Abuse. Neglect. Abandonment. Rescued by neighbors and localgovernment. For that to happen in this culture, things had to be seriously bad.
What can I say… My heart was moved. No one even knew their names.
So we took them home. Nurse Jo, Minet and I, in my little truck with not one, but 5 little ones. What could have been going through their little minds.
They were sick with coughs and colds. They were shaved bald, all with wounds and skin infections. They were underweight and had little language. They were a mess.We got home, and I assigned each child a caregiver that would become their “mama” for their time here with us. I was so proud of my staff as they embraced them with their whole hearts.
But they still had no names.
They had worms, though. So many worms. To pass them all was a miracle in itself. But as always, in just a few weeks, they were thriving. Finally, we were able to get enough information to go to their home, or the place where they lived. Home wouldn’t be my word of choice. Hell on earth, perhaps. What those children suffered. One neighbor described the 2 year old finding an old empty can and going in the rain to get a drink of water from the gutter.
The things I heard on that visit left my heart broken.Oh God, my heart cried. Indeed, you are ‘the father of the fatherless… you set the lonely in families.’ What a good God you are that you rescued these children.
And then I knew their names.
GABRIEL, for God will be your strength. SAMUEL, for God has heard you. JONATHAN, for Jehovah has given.
And VICTORIA. The name your mother gave you, not knowing its significance. And Victorious you shall be.
And the resiliency I see in you all, is a testimony of God’s grace already at work in your lives, His hand protecting you, and his love surrounding you.
How honored I am to be a small part of your life for this time.
As I ponder our now 80 plus children, I say a special prayer for our friends and supporters. Thank you for praying for our children and staff. Thank you for sending us things. And thank you to those who support us financially. You pay the bills. You buy the milk. You provide funds for the doctors and medicines we desperately need.
You keep our doors wide open.
As 2014 begins, I ask you to consider sending a regular financial contribution for our operational funds- to pay our precious staff, to buy rice and milk and diapers, and to help us continue to make a difference in the lives of these precious children. Because of this, we can continue to be on the front lines to advocate for those who cannot stand up yet for themselves.