On New Year's Day we took presents to a severe special needs orphanage. The first time I went I was totally overwhelmed. I just stood there rubbing a little girl’s hands and crying. The kids are sweet and the conditions are ok there (no worse or better than anywhere else in my opinion) but seeing all those children rocking, screaming, biting their hands, and salivating was a little much for me. I have always said it was the hardest ministry related thing that I have ever done.
The next time I came I was better prepared but I still had this distance towards the kids. I’ve always commended people who feel like they are called to adopt or work with children who have severe special needs. But I always felt like that was for them, not me.
And then I meet Mirela.
Mirela is probably one of the more “normal” looking children from the outside. She is super thin but has good teeth and hair and a sweet, sweet face. One of the workers told us that she had been in foster care and had just been returned to the orphanage about a year ago. Mirela held my hand and waited patiently for her present then showed me everything she got excitedly. She really liked the hair ties and plastic rings. We played “beauty shop” for several minutes while Elena and I put in little pig tails and took pictures each step of the way. Afterwards we tried to talk with Mirela a little and that’s when her needs became obvious. She didn’t know her age or how long she had been in the orphanage or where she had come from. I think she knew that she had a sister at Voluntari (which the staff had already told me) but I don’t know how much else she was capable of understanding. Mirela will never get to go to school or have a job. She will likely not be placed in another foster family. Now that she is at the severe special needs orphanage she will be forgotten in the system. Out of sight, out of mind.
|How could you not love this precious face so full of joy?!?!|
|Giving some love to this sweet little girl.|