I saw all my precious little baby munchkins at the orphanage again today. I wait with anticipation every week for this. Sometimes I lay awake at night thinking of the children, wondering if they are sleeping soundly or if they are scared and feeling alone. I pray that Father would send angels to comfort and console them each night. I can hardly wait for my visits there so I can scoop them all up and love them to pieces.
Today I tried even harder to connect with the local workers. I spent about 20 minutes talking to an older lady about her life outside the orphanage. Her daughters are all grown up- one works as a doctor and the other a university professor (take note that doctors and teachers here do not make the kind of money like in Western countries...) She told me they make a little over 100 manat ($120) a month working at the orphanage. That's not much folks. I told her that we really appreciate their hard work taking care of the children, and that I was sorry they didn't make much money. Her eyes sparkled and she thanked me for the kind words. I wonder if they get a pat on the back very often in appreciation? Probably not. One other volunteer brought all the workers cinnamon rolls, and they were delighted! And you know what? I noticed the workers treating the children very kindly all day. A little bit goes a long way- and that's what we're trying to accomplish.
My favorite little baby. Oh how I adore her. You've heard me talk about her before (I thought she was a boy at first, remember?) We'll call her "Baby K".
She always takes to me very quickly and doesn't want me to put her down. She cries until I put her back on my lap and then she happily plays with her toys. One of the workers gently commanded, "Please can you not hold the children? Sit them on the floor to play with the toys. Or else they end up crying." She means basically, the more we hold them, the more they want to be held, and when they can't be held (namely, when us volunteers are gone), they cry. How can you not hold a baby at an orphanage? It's every woman's instinct I'm sure! So we would sneak a child on our lap here or there hoping they wouldn't notice. It was gloriously disobedient. I loved it.
Baby K was quietly playing on the floor when all of a sudden a toddler walked past with their toy dangling in the air. As they walked by the toy smacked her precious little head and she started to cry. My mother instinct propelled me to automatically pull her close, rock her, and tell her everything was going to be okay (Oops, I held her! There I go again...) She snuggled into my arms and quietly said, "Mamma. Mamma."
My heart stopped. What did she just call me?
Yes. I had heard her correctly.
I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. All I could do was sit in shock. How would she even know to say that? I certainly never hear the workers saying "Mamma" for any reason at all.
Oh Baby K, how I wish I was your Mamma.
When it was nap time, I bent down low beside her crib (not sure if I was supposed to be in the room in the first place...) and sang softly to console her cries. Her eyes glimmered and a smile formed on her lips. I looked up and noticed that a few of the other children in their cribs sat up to listen to me singing. They all smiled with wide eyes, and didn't make a peep. As the local worker put each child into their crib she frankly remarked, "Bye bye!" (in English, which is odd) and was off to collect the next child. How I wish I could have stopped at every crib to sing every one of them to sleep individually while gently stroking their heads. It took every last inch of me to finally drag myself out of the room, as it was time for us to leave.
There are so many memories to share of my time with the children this morning. I could write about the little boy who pulled a caterpillar ABC singing toy around constantly for two hours straight, or the girl who wanted me to chase her around the room while she giggled endlessly, or the boy with only one arm who is perfectly capable of using his small stump to hold a toy while he inspects it with his only hand, or about the brand new walkers and highchairs we volunteers purchased and delivered to the orphanage today, which evoked laughter and smiles from the children and workers. I could go on and on and on...
It's only been eleven hours since I came home from the baby house today, and I am already counting down the hours until I can see all my angels once again.
Will you please pray for these children? For the workers? For us volunteers? And if you feel led to give financially, every dollar will go directly to helping these children with very practical needs (like bananas and new bibs!)
All I could do today when I came home was snuggle my daughter. She spent the morning with her fun Daddy while I was gone, but she was elated to have her Mommy back home. She was supposed to have been babysat this evening, but I couldn't bare it. I decided to bring her with us to our planned event. I just had to hold her after my morning at the orphanage. My mother heart yearned to nurture all day long.
Baby K called me Mamma, and now she's all I can think about.