One, two, three, four, five. At the front of the room, five teenagers sit, waiting for their chance to speak. For 10 days, the 18 were in Kenya, land of deserts and lions and–babies. And then, she says that one number…
It’s Sunday morning. It’s Sunday School hour, and we’re listening to the reports. One by one, the youth, they are telling how God turned their world up-side down.
The second one, he’s ours. He was full, running over when we picked him up at the church. We’d found him in the parking lot, dressed for Kenyan heat, and he shivered and shook in spring’s chill.
Then, he’d started talking, spilling out, heart clean-melted. For God had shown up, and he’d felt it. And now, on this day, they gave witness. In our class. Two boys, three girls and a leader.
The pictures that scrolled just behind them were riveting. Toddlers and infants, handsome boys, charming girls. Pink gums and white teeth in chocolate faces, being held by our American teens. Baby Centre.
On the African plains, a labor of love. A home for the abandoned, cast aside. For the last and the least, the thrown-off, the orphan, a place had been made to receive them. Papa’s children.
Indescribable, really, their stories, the heartbreak. For one had been found in a pit. A latrine! In the feces and rot, the cry of an infant, and the hand of mercy outstretched. Baby rescued.
While the team was there, a call had come in. An infant had been found ‘neath a tree. Again, mercy reaching; arms open receiving; and a piece of His heart, reclaimed.
In a park nearby where they’d gone on safari, a reality I can’t comprehend. There in the wilderness, some desperate mothers will deposit flesh and blood. And leave them…to the savagery of wild baboons. Orphans, truly. They, abandoned.
Ten girls, four boys, four leaders in Africa to hold Papa’s heart in their hands. And one more number…
She chokes when she tells it in class yesterday. The number of tiny graves in the ground, earthen blankets.
Yes, there are seven. But there are only seven–from a total of 346. They await adoption.
Orphans and rescues and pits and adoption. Themes that are close to my heart. And to His.
For not everyone who’s been orphaned, abandoned has been left in a park with wild creatures. Not all of the fatherless or they, the motherless, were thrown into a latrine.
Not all orphans are brown skinned with tight mocha curls. They can look just like you. Just like me. Pits are different.
Today, as a once-orphan, I’m thinking of Papa. He, the lover of orphans. He, adopter. The One Who comes down into the pit, Mercy reaching, and He’s placed me into His family. Girl, adopted.
Yes, I’ve been adopted, and so have you if your heart’s said the “yes,” door opening. We’re not on our own. We’ve got a new name. We have the best, biggest Father. We, the adopted.
Someday, an earthen blanket will cover me, too. On my stone, you may write these few words: “She was adopted, and she knew it.”
“Red, brown, yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
“Girl, Adopted” says thank you with all of her heart to Kristy Mikel, Tim and Kelbi Veenstra, and Jamie Lengacher who poured their own hearts and souls into not only those precious babies, but into our son and his team as well. In having their worlds turned up-side down, they’re really turning right-side up. Bless you all.