Saturday, April 22, 2006

Thursday 4:20 pm. I don't know how to put into words this day. How do you describe what it feels like to add THREE new children to this home in one day? How do you put into words what it feels like to greet a mother who is dying of Aids who brings you her only two children to children to the home knowing this is likely to be the last time she sees them? To see the love in her eyes for them, yet knowing inside that there is no way she can any physically able to care for them? How do you photograph her 1.6 year old son Paul sitting securely in her lap knowing this photo will be the last he has of her. How do you ask her to smile for the photo when you can barely see through your own tears in the lens to find her face and make it a good picture? How then do you describe what it feels like to seat her 3 year old daughter Rose Marie on her lap to take another? How can you even imagine asking her to smile so the photo is a special one? How can anyone find words to express what this feels like? How do you describe what it feels like when you Chantal hands Pauls mother a diaper and all the necessary things to change him into new fresh clothes? The surprise when our eyes see that she has used a t-shirt bunched up into some underwear to serve as a diaper. She had done the best she could. How then do you describe greeting a military father and his daughter. His wife died in November and he left his sweet Marie Rose with people who said they would care for her. He sent them the bulk of the money he earned in the military so she would not be a financial burden on them. When he returned home on leave he found her nearly bone. How do you describe listening to his translated story of horror? How do you describe the gut wrenching agony when she tells stories to the other kids about the value of beans. She tells them about potatoes and beans from the garden so she could eat. Feeding herself since no one else was. It’s just a casual conversation with the other kids like kids in America might talk about trading cards. Just a conversation. But to the adults in the room, it was overwhelming. How does it feel upon when the dad sits her on his lap for a photo, tells her he is leaving her hear and she says "no!" Then photo time. Through the lens, the faces look like those in the old days where people stood expressionless. How do you look into his eyes as he drives away leaving Marie Rose in New Hope's care. Marie Rose, the sweet girl who has already found a happy face with her new brothers and sisters. Of all the homes in all the country, she has been blessed to find this one. How do you describe what it feels like to walk both parents to the car of a friend who who will return them to what will be left of their lives. I walk with the Aid mother and ask Chantal to tell her she is a wonderful mother. She looks at me expressionless. I can only imagine what it feels like to have your heart completely ripped out of you and left behind. There was nothing put pain left in her eyes. Meanwhile her son Paul WAILS for her. It is an endless piercing cry that will never now be "fully" satisfied. His sister Rose Marie (yes, we received a Marie Rose and Rose Marie today) stands dazed by the events. Shy and very unsure. Imagine the blessings these children will receive as a result of being in this amazing environment where they will get all their needs met. Physical, educational, medically and of course spiritually. It's heaven on earth in Rwanda. Then how to do you find words to describe what it feels like to immediately drive the children to a family friend to have them immediately tested for HIV/AIDS. This Doctor is committed to helping Chantal with her ministry. How do you find words to express the horror on Chantal's face when weighing Marie Rose. At 4 years old, she weighs only 22 lbs. The same weight at the one year old. How to find words to describe what it feels like to see Chantal gently put her down and step backwards into the Dr's office and burst into tears for the way this sweet girl has been abused. Then drawing blood. I often hear my friends talk about how hard it is to take their babies to the Doctor for shots and other painful procedures when they are too young to understand. Most recently I remember Patty sharing how she cried when CJ got his shots. And so goes the universal cry of motherhood. But how to you tell children that just met you that this is ok. “Boss. Boss.” which is ok in their language. It's not ok when it takes 4 people to hold Marie Rose long enough to get some blood from her boney frame. Imagine you are one of these children…you have been left with these people and the firs thing they do it to take you to a place that hurts. Frightening doesn’t even come close to describing what they are probably feeling. These sweet tender children each wail to think that they might be with people who are going to now cause them pain vs the love surely awaits them. How do you find words to describe such a day when you wait in the office for the results? Will their lives be bright or cut short? How do you find words to speak of the unspeakable joy when the news is delivered that all 3, while sick, are free of the deadly disease. There are no words. In any language. Just a deep sense of respect, awe and the marvels of seeing God's love made manifest in the amazing people of New Hope Home. It is humbling beyond words. My life and heart will never be the same.

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