I'm writing this blog post to ask for your help. I don't ask for much from others, other than prayers. But this time, I'm asking for help. Not for me, but for the hundreds of orphan faces I saw in Ethiopia. I can't do it alone. Will you help me?
When we were in Ethiopia, we visited an orphanage in Addis Ababa. It was one of many, many orphanages in that city. What I saw broke my heart. These children have NOTHING. Each child I'm posting a picture of today, has NO family. These are only a small fraction of the faces we looked into. Hands we touched and faces we kissed.
Before going to the orphanage we stopped by a fruit stand and bought oranges and bananas for the children. We bought about 15 pounds of fruit for the equivalent of about $4.00.
These kids own absolutely nothing. They have nothing to call their own... not even a bed. When they are hurt, no one comes to kiss their hurt away. No one holds them when they are sick.
I fell absolutely in LOVE with this little munchkin!It made me so sad to see these children. When we went into the orphanage, it seemed dark and damp. We went into the toddler room, and there, sitting on a blanket, were 16 toddler orphans. Each of them with a runny nose, and some of them with a cough. There were two doctors who came to the orphanage with us. They were adopting children with our agency as well. Two of the children they said, were malnourished. None of the children had socks on, and all were damp. It was chilly for me being in there, and I was dry and appropriately dressed. I felt the feet of many of these children, and they were cold. Some were even red from the cold. It's not that it was that "cold" in the orphanage, it was that they were damp. One little girl, who was not potty trained, did not even have a diaper or underwear on. She just had a bare bottom.
This little boy fell in love with Tim
We went up to the baby room - there were several baby rooms. I don't think I have ever seen more babies all in one place...not even in a hospital nursery. They were all in cribs - two or even three in a crib (for the tiny ones). Two in a crib for the ones who were a bit older.
This little one above, I believe had Down Syndrome. Such a sweet little one!
These children need love, just like our children. You may not be able to see it through the photographs, but they are desperate for love. As I picked up each child (and I could not pick them all up - there were just too many) I told each and every one of them that I loved them. I told them that Jesus loved them! But then I had to put them back down. I didn't get to hold each of them very long...I wonder if they believed me.
The conditions in the orphanage hurt my heart. I had never been to an orphanage before and I was sure I never wanted to see one again. I was awake the entire night, in tears, having heated conversations with God, questioning Him, asking Him why He allowed these innocent children to live this way. My answer came in the morning - God didn't do this, we did. Our sinful nature did. God also showed my heart that as much as I didn't want to go back and face this, I needed to step up and truly be the hands and feet of Christ. To love these children like He would love them - with their runny noses, bare bottoms, infections, sores and all. EMBRACE them - which is exactly what I did. And my heart felt much better once I looked past the poverty and dispair and saw them as children Jesus would and does LOVE!
So, this is where I need your help, because I can't do it all on my own. Tim and I are hoping to travel back at the end of October for a November 4th Embassy appointment. We will get to bring our Sara Joy home. That appointment has not yet been confirmed, but we should have it confirmed soon. Our Sara Joy was one of these children!!! When we go, we want to go armed with supplies. There are a couple things we want to do...we want to provide things for the children, and also for the people who care for these precious little ones.
For the children, Tim and I are going to try to take on a special project. We want to put a basketball hoop along with a cement pad at the transition home. This would be to give the older children there something to do. Everyone wants to provide for the little ones, but the older ones tend to be overlooked. The assistant at the transition home will be e-mailing us information on the cost of putting up the basketball hoop and pad.
For the younger children, we asked them what they needed and we were given a list. They need
- hand sanitizer
clothes children's socks
- antibiotic ointment
- clotrimozole cream
- tooth brushes
- tooth paste
- anti-dandruff shampoo
- easily cleanable toys (stuff animals, soft toys are not the best as they spread germs easily)
- pediatric scale (bathroom scale that would handle both small and older children)
- Uniforms for the nannies (they wear nursing uniforms)
If you know of a local (Florence, SC) store that sells gently used nursing outfits, please let me know. I would like to go back with some for the nannies. If you know someone who would be willing to donate uniforms, please let me know. If you know someone who would be willing to donate anything for that matter, please let me know.
If you want to help us, please write a comment on this post with a way for me to contact you. I will send you our contact information and we can go from there. We will hopefully be leaving for Ethiopia again on or about October 30th, so we will need to have everything before that date.
Tim and I can't make a huge difference on our own, but together, we can. If at all possible, please help us show these children, who have nothing and no one, that they are loved!