We went off to Missions of Charity, Mother Theresa’s orphanage...It was a scary place….there were dead bodies in body bags near the medical clinic and an area for children that housed hundreds of kids, many of whom were mentally retarded and ill with complicated childhood illnesses and deformities. It was a very hard place to visit and almost impossible to imagine that Des was there for even a month.
My two little boys lived there. For several months. I just recently came across this quote in an excellent article by an amazing woman who has transformed the way HIV-positive orphans are cared for in Ethiopia. We didn't visit this particular facility when we picked up our sons; it's hard to get an appointment and it's overflowing with orphans dying of untreated-AIDS, very sick with all sorts of secondary, opportunistic infections. I knew very little about it, and was thrilled when I saw that Dr. Aronson had visited, and I read on, anxious to know more. And then my stomach dropped.
I can't wrap my mind around the fact that this was my kids' reality for many months. My crazy, happy, healthy little boys who love Sunday School, pancakes, big trucks, and the movie "Sleeping Beauty". I'll probably never be able to fully process this part of their lives, and maybe that's for the best. Thousands of miles away, it all seems like a dream, like maybe they weren't actually really there. But I know otherwise.
I feel unbelievably grateful to Adoption Advocates International for the amazing, unparalleled work they do at Layla House. Because in a place like Ethiopia, two orphaned babies like Yosef and Biniam have no future. That's not me being dramatic, or exaggerating the truth to make a point. Our boys just happened to be in the (extremely) small minority of orphans who end up in the right place at the right time and therefore avoid starving to death or living an abbreviated life of begging or prostitution on the streets. God provided for them and I love to think of the amazing plans He has for their lives.
I recognize and am grateful that Missionaries of Charity was there for my little boys when they had nowhere else to go. I strongly believe they're doing an amazing work in a third-world country caring for multitudes of children dying of an incurable disease, and that these nuns are devoting their lives to this end, with not nearly enough resources. But I'm glad my boys eventually tested negative for HIV, were moved to Layla House and that they joined our family. It's what their birthmom had wished for, and every day I pray that I might live up to this calling, especially when I read words like the ones above. They make me thank God for His provision...and hug my sons a little tighter.