This afternoon I was again allowed to take Henry outside in a small courtyard in the back of the orphanage. As we walked in the stroller (which needs to keep moving or else Henry starts screeching) I prayed the rosary, the “Hail Mary’s” repeated as I walked back and forth at least a hundred times over the 40 foot long sidewalk I was allowed to use (and told not to go any farther).
One hour into our two hour visiting session, an older couple came and sat on a bench at the other end of the sidewalk. The woman in a babushka. The man well-tanned and in well-worn work clothes. The orphanage worker seemed to know them well as she greeted them from inside…and then brought out a little one to them.
At first I could not see if the child was a boy or girl. But I could see the child probably had Cerebral Palsy. The little legs were so skinny. The older man had to support her up on his lap to stand.
Henry was getting cranky so I had to get the stroller moving past them. I greeted them and they smiled and greeted back. I saw they had a little blonde doll out for the child, so I now assumed she was a little girl. When I got closer I could also see the little one’s eyes were terribly crossed. As Henry and I walked back and forth they played with the child…sang to her…the older man hugged and bounced her and she laughed…the older woman took off her socks and rubbed her feet and legs….they played with the doll with her.
I died inside.
I knew I was bringing my Henry home…to medical treatment…to a big loving family.
This little girl was probably having her weekly visit with her grandparents. She will not have her eyes treated. She will not receive physical therapy. She will be institutionalized about age 5 and will never go to school. If she cannot walk, she will probably be left in a “lying down room” and rarely ever taken outside. For the rest of her life.
The orphanage worker came at 3pm to bring Henry back into the orphanage…for the last night. Tomorrow is “Gotcha Day” when I get to take him with me and he will never have to go back to his old life with no future.
But not this little girl.
As I left to go to my cab waiting to take me back to my lovely rented home, I went up to the woman and gave her the Usborne “touch and feel” book with colorful animals I had brought to Ukraine and read to Henry on visits these past two weeks. I motioned it was for the little girl, for grandma to read and her to touch as I said and pantomimed, “My baby. America. Tomorrow.”
And despite the fact that I know no Ukrainian and the older woman did not know any English…
The woman understood.
That I had adopted my Henry (she saw his bent and useless legs as we walked) and that he had a future.
And her granddaughter did not. And the tears ran from her eyes.
I beg you - go to www.reecesrainbow.org and see if God is calling you to either save one of these sweet children or to donate money so that another family can.