I have been to a lot of orphanages over the last nine years, and though they all have this palpable silent loneliness that lingers in the halls, I must admit that this orphanage which Natalie lies in appears to be one of the best. Generous funding pays for
brightly colored walls,
a motor-neuro therapy room,
wash stations in every room,
a musical therapy room,
a toy library,
and lots of toys,
a sensory therapy room,
with fiber optic cable lights,
colored water bubble towers,
and a water bed,
theme decorated sleeping rooms,
with beds for 120 orphans,
with well-equipped living rooms.
We saw occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, and care takers.
It appears that the kids here at the orphanage have it all.
As I toured the orphanage, I thought to myself-- We don't have these material things at home.
At home, Natalie won't have a water bed, or an art therapist.
She won't have a ball pit or fiber optic lights.
She won't have access to toys coming out her ears.
And yet, there is one thing missing from this orphanage.
Something that money can't buy.
Something that we can and already have provided that this orphanage cannot.
while this orphanage may provide a safe place for Natalie to lie,
and services that should help her thrive,
she is not.
Notice how I use the word lie.
That's because all she does in this orphanage is lie.
And that is one thing that we can offer.
This past week Natalie has felt love.
She has felt family.
She has felt the loving embrace of a Mama and Papa.
She has learned what it feels like to get tender kisses and gentle caresses.
Typing this makes me ache for her.
We will not see Natalie for another 4-6 months.
While we are apart, I trust that she will be in good hands.
But they are not the hands of her loving family.
We are that family.
There are many things about Natalie that we have not shared. She is in obvious need of love and attention. She is a resilient little girl that has her own little ways of dealing with what she has been dealt. Bless her little heart.
In the course of a week, we saw her begin to leave these coping mechanisms behind.
More eye contact.
More receptive to touch.
Less self soothing behaviors.
A smile here.
A laugh there.
Natalie is a flower just waiting to blossom.
You just wait and see!