Sometimes lately I feel like I am pretending in my life - except I'm not. This is all real. In the past two weeks I have found myself in the midst of some of the more heartbreaking stories I've ever been a part of and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that.
There's one little boy who just turned one last week. I've known him since he was born. When he was a few months old his mom started paying the neighbors to take care of him for her while she went to work. They're an amazing family and took good care of him, but his life was still unsettled with his mom coming in and out of it too frequently. And then more recently because of several bad decisions made by lots of the people involved his mom sold him to someone else whose situation was not much better off than her own. I know my life has been far easier than hers has been and I cannot imagine the pain that she has experienced, but I can also not imagine how anyone could look at their child and make the decision to sell him.
The day I learned about his being sold we got to see a redeeming part of the story. We arrived in the village a couple hours after he'd been sold and several of his extended family members were livid and anxious to do something to bring him back. We agreed to help him if they got him back and before I even left to go home that evening he was living with his dad and step-mom. He stayed most of the week.
Today I heard yesterday the dad and step-mom asked the grandmother if she would take him because he was too much for them to take care of in addition to everything else they have going on. She said she couldn't raise her younger kids and work if she took the baby too. So the dad and step-mom took him and left him at an orphanage.
The grandmother went and got him back and talked to his mom about him again. Right now she's helping to take care of him again, but my heart aches for this little boy with his ginormous eyes who is too old for his short life.
This morning I also went to the hospital for what was supposed to be a quick check-up on two of our kids who were getting their medicine. Except that it wasn't quick and it wasn't easy. A few months ago 2 of our kids moved from the village we met them at to go live with their dad and his new wife. Today we found out that's been a really unhealthy and unsafe situation for them.
They are now at their grandmother's house. Tomorrow the plan is that I am going to take them and bring them to their mom's house.
There are lots of things I am wondering and hoping about in this story - is this really the best for them? how did I miss it when just a few weeks ago we thought it was best for them to be where they were? how could you hurt a child out of anger at someone else? and will we be able to peacefully get custody papers signed so the kids don't get taken again?
And I really do feel like I am pretending - pretending to have authority I don't have to take care of these situations, pulling the NGO card saying this is what our organization says you need to do. The reality is all the authority I have is what Jesus has given me not what they're projecting onto me as they think about my being from an NGO. And really, I just want these kids to be safe and for justice to be evident in their lives. I have no idea what thoughts and fears have been racing through their minds in their short little lives and for the younger ones - they've no way of even being able to process it, but this I know - I follow a God who is alive and his heart beats for seeing the justice I ache to see and his hand brings the healing these little children will need and so I have to trust that the one who cares for them far more than I ever could will carry them through this.