Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Two Less

Last night as I was laying in bed I just kept thinking about the 147+million orphans going to sleep that night like many I saw in DRC. Alone, on the streets, in an orphanage, tucked next to another and another all sharing the same mattress or mat.  I think about Maran and Levi sleeping on 3 mattresses between 17 children. I think about the woman who offered me her son in Kinshasa and motioned as if "What about him too? Take him?".

Every night, every hour, Maran wakes up, calling out "mama? papa?" as if the dream is over and we have now disappeared and she is on her own again.  It is a bleak reminder of the trust that needs to be built, but also a good reminder that she knows she was created to be loved and cared for.
Life here is a beautiful chaos. Going from two to four kids is a challenge especially when you throw in driving two to 2 different schools at 2 different times, gymnastics, doctors appointments, attachment, adjusting to food, time zones, etc.  Since adding Maran and Levi to the family, I don't look at them as used-to-be orphans all the time or continually see them as where they came from.  They are our kids and have quirks and preferences just like Reese and Wheeler.  But there are sometimes just gentle reminders that they are survivors, as I see Maran shovel in her food or turn on survival mode if someone takes her toy.  They have lived through much.
We made it to church this week and as I stood there holding Maran as we sang "Your great name" I just wept as we sang "All the weak find their strength at the sound of your great name, hungry souls receive grace at the sound of your great name, the fatherless find their rest at the sound of your great name." And as she rested there on my shoulder I just cried over her.  I was thinking about the loss of her father, and now the gaining of a father who lavishes love and affection on her and points her to an even greater Father who loves her with a perfect love.  A love she may have never seen through the circumstances she was in.
One afternoon in DRC we were surrounded by some teenage boys on the street wanting us to buy the tissues or trinkets they had.  They became agitated and started making threatening gestures and faces at us as the half-rolled window protected us just enough.  At first I felt fear, then anger. But then, God whispered in my heart... That could have been Levi.  These kids are survivors.  They are a product of their environment. They are smart. They have learned what they need to do in order to see another day.
One of the toughest nights was in the hospital in Kinshasa with Levi. He had a fever non stop for 36 hours and you could tell his stomach was in a lot of pain.  As I laid over him in the hot operating room, I watched as needles stuck out of his arms and the nurse would collect the droplets as they appeared with an open test tube.  I had to leave the room as I began to pass out.  My mind was racing and I know my thoughts contributed to the nauseousness that overtook me. The night before, a friend staying at the same convent as us had taken her son to that same room, held him on that same bed, and watched another baby die in her mother's arms right next to her.  They wrapped the child in a sheet, taped it closed and sent the mother away.
Death is a way of life there.  It doesn't seem to be feared as much as it is here. People seem emotionless as they endure such hardships. It was all hard to process. But I just kept thinking, where would these two kids be if the Lord had not stirred us to action? Would Maran be that 14 year old mom, tucking her child in for another night on the streets? Would Levi be the teenage boy going from car to car hassling people for money for the water in a plastic bag he was trying to sell?
These pictures tell a beautiful story to me.  The first one you can almost see the hopelessness, emptiness, effects of hunger, desperation. And oh how the Lord turns our mourning into joy. With love and protection, comes trust and freedom and joy. The Lord has designed us for relationships, for family. His perfect plan was to have a mother and a father who love each other and care for their children and raise them in a home that points them to Him.  The effects of the breaking of this plan are so hard to see. How our sin and choice can damage the perfect creation God intended.
I guess sometimes I wonder what about everyone else? The story has been rewritten for these two, but what about the others? I can't let my mind go there often. But I am so grateful to have these two as a part of our family.  I am thankful God has pursued them and me with a fierce love. I am so grateful God defends the fatherless and gives them rest in his name. I am thankful there are at least two less.
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  1. Beautiful. God's grace is so overwhelming to really try to grasp. I've thought of you and prayed for you all often during this first week back, and it is nice to see how you're doing. Thanks for sharing God's story in your lives.

  2. Oh, Kylie. This is beautiful...your heart, and that there are two less orphans. Thank you for being transparent. I will be praying for all of you as you continue to transition. Looking forward to seeing pictures of all the kiddos together as Maran and Levi find their places within your family. God is so good. His heart is so kind.

  3. I've been so blessed to watch your story. We are a few steps (and a country switch) behind, but I am so thankful for these Congo cuties. I look forward to the day the Lord shows them the love of Himself by the love of you <3