We spent several hours today at the state orphanage. After four trips, you'd think that there wouldn't be much new to unnerve me, but that's not my reality.
As we were walking from the Special Needs girls' exercise class to their dance class I was befriended. She barely spoke any words but she wanted to hold my hand. This isn't abnormal with the Special Needs children, they all want to give and receive attention and love. Standing outside the auditorium, she looked at me and called me "Mama." I was taken aback.
I've had plenty of children at Dorie's Promise call me "Mama" but never a child at the state orphanage. It was uncomfortable and I still can't quite process my feelings. The children at Dorie's have Special Mothers who care for all of their needs. Some of these children, I truly want to bring home to our family. I can see myself as their Mama. But this girl broke my heart when she called me Mama.
She isn't really a girl. The one justice that does exist here is that if you are classified as Special Needs, you aren't forced to leave the orphanage at 18. She is probably close to my age. Yet, in her mind she is still a child. In her mind, she needs a Mama. What breaks my heart is that she needed a Mama a long time ago. She needed someone to love her, care for her, and give her the opportunities to reach her potential. If she was loved as a child, maybe she could have developed into a semi-independent adult.
When I walked out today, who would step in to be her Mama next -- anyone?
After leaving the Special Needs classes we shared with the Teen Moms. Looking into their eyes I saw hopelessness and pain. They are girls who have been abused and cast out. All of the lies that people have told them keep ringing in their minds. Some are hardened. Others hurt themselves just for relief from their demons. For them, there doesn't seem to be a better way or place. I will never be able to rationalize an 8-month pregnant 13 year old. Maybe we left them pondering the truth that God loves them, just as they are, and is always there with them.
Who teaches these girls to become mothers in a place where survival is the goal?
And now I must recognize that I can't fix either of these situations but I have a God who is there with them and can help them right where they are.