In the past couple weeks, I have been asked time and time again what the needs are here at Gabriel House, but I have only offered those up that can be mailed in a brown cardboard box. Unfortunately, the greatest need for the kids in my group can’t be ordered online or shipped via UPS, and it has become even more obvious than ever before in the last couple of days. The reality is: they all need a mom and a dad; they need a ‘typical family’; they need normal lives where they don’t always eat at seven and twelve and five.
Omar and Marisol are being adopted and their second court date is this week. Their adoptive parents came down and the two kids left to spend the week with them. Everyone was excited for them. As the women, we know what it all means and couldn’t be filled with more joy for the kids. Yet at the same time, I could see it in the eyes of the other kids. The night before Marcos was SO excited for Omar, but then his shoulders shrunk down a little as I guess he thought about it. This morning as we sat at the table to eat his questions were so bittersweet—why are there so few people at our table? why aren’t there many chairs?—He already knew the answers. We avoided answering directly. When Omar and Marisol were picked up, Nay-Nay was genuinely excited for Marisol too. I don’t know if she knew completely why she was excited at first, but as I watched her face as she watched their parents carry them away hugging and kissing them, I could tell that she understood something about it. And it killed me.
I sit here now, my eyes teared up as they often do now (I’m changing), so broken for the kids here that don’t have parents and aren’t being adopted. Broken for the fact that they have been abandoned and wondering how someone could… I think back on my American childhood and lifestyle and maybe what is a universally ‘typical’ childhood. I’m not really sure. But the utter differences break me.
And so I pray. I pray for moms and dads for Irene and Ruben and Pilar. I pray for their drawings to be hung on the refrigerator and their pictures to hang on the wall. I pray for birthdays to be celebrated . I pray for hugs and kisses and prayers before bed, and for some days for them to sleep in late or to stay in their pajamas all day. Our Father promises to sustain them. He promises to protect them. He promises to never leave them. He promises to be their Father. And so I pray on these too.
You hear, O Lore, the desire of the afflicted;you encourage them and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth may terrify no more. Psalm 10:17-18