Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Aragu and Dechesa

Look at these two beautiful faces:

When we arrived at the orphanage on the first night to meet all the kids, we knew they would be getting three new kids sometime that week. We had no idea how old they were, their names, their story, or anything.

It was hard for me to accept, as bad as that sounds. I wondered how these kids would fit in. If they would be accepted by the other kids. How they would fit into our little family. You see, we all have bonded with certain kids. They just kind of form a bond with you. And it's not like you don't get to know all the kids, because you do. But they just pick someone out and stick to them. It's not really even your choice. It's theirs. And that's a lie because it's God's. He matches you perfectly. And it's amazing.

Anyway, I was worried that these kids wouldn't be accepted and that they wouldn't thrive there. But I asked several kids if they had met the new kids yet and they had. And they liked them. A lot.

When we were there last year, this little boy, Dejenee, had been accepted into the orphanage when we were leaving. But he was a school kid. He was going to school with the orphans. (New Hope is also a school. There are 40 something orphans and 103 students. The orphans also go to school, but the students do not live or eat at the orphanage.) So the kids all knew him and it was a pretty seamless transition. So it was hard to imagine how three complete strangers would fare.

Toward the middle of the week I spotted a little family sitting on the bench just inside the gate. There was an older woman holding a baby and two young children sitting beside her. They didn't smile, they didn't watch, they just kind of sat there. I didn't even think that these people might be the new orphans but I watched as two members of the team and Dawit greeted the family and hugged and kissed the kids.

The three kids were suppose to be 8, 6, and 2. But there is no way they are that old. Clearly the kids are malnourished but they're short. Malnourished kids tend to still grow length wise. Second, the kids are developmentally not that old. Dechesa plays like a toddler. Not a 6-year-old. But they don't keep track of birthdays and they don't have public records so it's impossible to know, without a wrist x-ray, how old these kids are.

When the leader of our team found out that the orphanage had taken in a two-year-old, he lost his mind. The orphanage is not equipped to take care of a baby. That would require another full time employee. The house mother has her hands full with the 40 "older" kids she has now. A baby is a full time responsibility that the orphanage just can't handle. So Ron lost it. Apparently the government went from being thisclose to shutting them down, to practically instilling the fear of God in them and forcing them to take these three kids. Ron told Dawit that they cannot take this baby.

Now back to the kids...

They came in and got new clothes, new shoes, and tons of love from everyone. They were adorable and I wanted to scoop them up and never let them go. And they surprisingly fit right in. One girl, Fasige, took Aragu right under her wing and walked her all over the compound. She held her hand and didn't let her go. Sweetest thing ever. Dechesa is a boy so of course he just does his own thing. He didn't need a friend right away.

But then a few days later I found out their story. We arrived in Ethiopia on Monday. The previous Thursday or Friday, their father shot their mother.

In front of Dechesa.

Apparently there are nine kids in the family. Aragu, Dechesa, and Mulu (the baby) are the three youngest and the only ones accepted into the orphanage. The only ones the government wanted New Hope to take. The rest of the kids live with their grandmother who cannot care for them. Because New Hope sent the baby back to her they have chosen to support Mulu with clothes and food. When she turns 4, they'll bring her back. But until then, they'll just make sure that she's cared for, well fed, and clothed.

But can you even imagine? Probably not. These poor, poor children. Dechesa didn't really connect with anyone. The boys usually don't. They kind of attach themselves to a man and help him with construction. But that's a boy for you. Maybe Dechesa was too young. But he didn't want to be held, rocked, read to. Nothing. And he loved to hit my hands. I'd try and give him high fives and he would just punch my hands over and over again.

I am so, so, so worried for the repercussions of what that little boy saw will have on his life. I cannot even imagine.

And I'm sure home life wasn't very good before that happened. So who knows what else he's been subjected to.

He needs to be loved. Hopefully New Hope can take away all his hurts and fill him with love. And hopefully he'll be completely different when we go back.

Aragu and Andrea connected during our trip. Which was really special. But one day, on their Sabbath, we were watching a video and I was standing next to the door. I felt a tap on my arm and I looked down and there was Aragu, standing behind a child, and peeking around the door. I waved for her to come to me and she stood in front of me for the rest of the video, holding my hands and wrapping them around her.

That day we went to Gouder Falls and took the kids on a little field trip and she hung out with me the entire time. She sat on my lap on the bus and wrapped her skinny arms around my neck. She held my hand down the road as we walked and sat in the shade with me. I had brought a water bottle along and she carried it for me and would carefully pour it into the hands of any thirsty children.

Aragu continued to come up and give me a hug and kiss and wave to me whenever she saw me, but she never spent as much time with me as she did on Sabbath. It was one of the most special days I had.

But I cannot stop thinking about these two beautiful kids. How hard I pray that this terrible bump in their road of life will make them into two strong and courageous people who will be able to help others. And that they won't relapse into the same type of people as their father.


3 loves:

  1. That breaks my heart. =[ It's so awesome that there are caring people, including you and Evan, that can go show these kids what real love is and hopefully they can learn hope from that for a happy future and life.

  2. Thank you for sharing their story.. I love these little ones so much.... I just started sponsoring Aragu and they have grown so much :D I have been enjoying your blog so much lately... thanks again for sharing

  3. @Jamie- I never saw this comment. I swear I'm not rude. Their story is sooo sad but they're so much better off. Obviously everything happens for a reason no matter how sad.
    @Andrea-how exciting! she's such a sweetheart. Arrrragoooo? hahah I'll give her lots of kisses and hugs for you!