Haiti is a mix of incredible beauty and hideous poverty. The people are stunningly beautiful, smooth cocoa skin, big infectious smiles and they seem to exude an unshakable optimism.
Yet these same happy people are living in conditions that have forced some to make choices most Americans would never dream of having to make.
I spent the day with children who live at an orphanage. Children who's parents are deceased or have relinquished their parental rights. A deceased parent cannot make a choice, but those who relinquish rights have had to make an agonizing choice due to circumstances they find themselves in: earthquake, job situation, or the countless other reasons they cannot care for their kids.
Whatever the circumstance, I cannot fathom having to make the choice these parents had to make. Nor can I imagine being the child left in an unknown place without the only comfort ever known.
With all that stated, my first experience with these orphans was....undescribable. Unless you do it for yourself, nothing I say can convey the varying emotions you feel interacting with orphans.
I hugged precious little girls with pretty braided hair. I tied their ribbons in when they fell out.I told them I loved them because they would tell me first, looking up at me with their big, brown eyes. We blew bubbles, colored pictures, handed out snacks and played jump rope.
Our fabulous group of men had the sports arena covered! They played soccer, baseball, basketball and frisbee. I think there was even some wrestling matches going down with some of the older boys! It was a fun time with a spunky group of kids.
It was almost a perfect day. The hard thing was leaving them there, knowing that, even though the staff does it's best for these kids, these little ones don't have a mommy or daddy to tuck them in, no parents to reassure them that they will be there in the morning and that they are a vital part of a loving family. I cannot think of anything on Earth more important to a child than a families unconditional love.
I am excited and looking forward to the remaining days of our Haiti trip with these kids. I get to be a small part of showing unconditional love to kids that don't experience that. I am more motivated than ever for our adoption to be completed and for our child to come home.
But honestly, I am most excited to see how God is going to change me and our entire team to forever reach out and touch the lives of orphans in Haiti and around the whole world.