Tonight we celebrated a big birthday for one of the girls at a local orphanage. She turned 15 and while we sang to her, in the dim light of her birthday candles, she began to cry. As the song ended everyone looked at her expectantly, waiting for her to make her wish. Silently we waited. Finally she began to shake her head as sobs racked her body.
I knew why she was crying and it broke my heart. Turning 15 makes her the oldest child in the house. The oldest and still waiting for a forever family. She knows that she needs to be adopted before she turns 16. This milestone birthday, instead of being happy and carefree, is just a sick reminder that time is running out.
While the other kids enjoyed birthday cake I brought her aside to talk to her. Along with one of their sweetest nannies, I tried to ease her pain.
We told her that with God she always has a family and honestly, she rolled her eyes at me. Under her breath she muttered, God is not a mom and dad.
Sweet girl, she’s right. I can tell her that God is her father while I picture the broad shoulders and bald head of the man who taught me what that word means. How do I explain the concept when all she knows of a daddy is the one who left her.
Sitting there and sharing in her brokenness, I cried with this teenager who is still very much a little girl, longing for a mommy to hold her. While Claudia prayed for her I offered my own silent prayers. Nothing I could think of felt like the right thing to say, everything on my lips sounded empty in the light of her longing and sorrow. I said what I could, all the while knowing that tonight she will cry herself to sleep, alone.
There isn’t anything I can say to make this better. I know that God has big plans for her precious life, plans in which He promises not to leave her as an orphan, plans that will last forever. But right now those plans are so far away. Right now she waits, losing precious moments every day. Someone is missing out on making memories with this little girl. She will never be able to sit and talk about her childhood with someone who was there. There will be no one to tell her about the day she took her first steps, or what she looked like when she was 6 years old. It’s really, really not fair.
Orphanages in Haiti are filled with children, none of which deserved to be there more than another, but oh, the ones that know, the ones who see others rescued and long for their turn, those darling ones are heavy on my heart tonight.