Last time I posted about one of the major defining moments in my life. I talked my friend Carissa into writing some of her memories of the same day. Here is some of what she wrote:
I remember a lot of concrete. This was an orphanage for the mentally and physically disabled. As we walked up to the metal doors and waited on a mentally challenged teen to open the door, it felt surreal, almost like a horror movie.
Inside we were led up a few flights of concrete stairs. I can still see the layout of that floor. The rooms were lined up, in all their grayness, with different ages and abilities in each. The second room made me freeze. There were maybe 8-10 toddlers tied to potty chairs, just sitting there rocking.
The next room had beds for kids who couldn’t get up. The bed closest to the window was empty, but you could see exactly where the child always laid. The hollow and the pee stains looked old. The girl in the next bed looked like the Toy Story doll without any hair. I remember my heart felt a little warmer when the volunteer who had brought us pointed to the picture above the bed. It had a name on it. Someone did value her!
Then it was lovin’ time! These girls from the UK would come every day and take one kid, for one hour each and just give them attention. How cool was this! They had a room with padding on the floor and a few balls and toys. The volunteers would brush teeth, sing and play, change diapers (very, very dirty diapers) and smile a lot. I remember playing with one little boy and giving him piggyback rides. He had this piece of string that he would wind around his finger and then hide back in his teeth. After play time was over, they told me I was hanging out with a 15 year old girl. Yeah, a little strange.
Feeding time was another shock to my system. All these little kids needed to be fed in a timely manner I guess, so the orphanage workers just shoveled it in faster than I thought possible. And then it was my turn to feed. I sat in front of this 2 or 3 or 4 year old and tried to get the big metal spoon into his mouth. And then my eyes met his. I saw Jesus. I don’t know how, but that is what I saw. Jesus’ eyes were staring back at me. This was one of the “least”. I will never forget that.
Before we left the orphanage that day, they took us on a quick walk around the building. Many rooms with many kids, sitting in beds. I don’t remember much except the empty faces. And giving my Band-Aid and my ABC gum to two excited kids. They had nothing.
It took me days to process what I had seen. Even now, 13 years later, the memories bring deep emotion with them. That day at Siret will always be with me. And I am a better person because of it.
This is just part of Carissa’s journey in loving the “least”, but today her and her husband Jon are in the process of adopting two babies from Uganda. If you are interested in helping their dream come true, here is a link to their facebook, they are doing a t-shirt sale to raise funds. They are an awesome example of intentional parenting. Every time I’m with them I’m inspired.
Men’s Front Ladies Back
Truthfully it feels kind of funny to do this, because you know, only “real” bloggers do giveaways. But this cause is so exciting to me, I can’t help but be a part of it.
If you leave a comment on this post, by Friday March 4, I’ll enter you into a random drawing for two of Jon & Cari’s t-shirts. One for you and one for the man in your life.
So you’ve got nothing to lose, leave a comment! I’ll announce the winner on a pulse; and then get in touch for the address and stuff. Thanks Everybody!