They sit on the front porch of their grandmother’s house.
From morning ‘til night.
They urinate – and no one bothers to clean them. They poop – and no one cares.
Two of my little girls.
I didn’t plan this. Any of it. This is not necessarily how I would have written my story, or the story of so many others, but it IS my story. And my story becomes part of the story of so many others…especially each child that God brings into my home, life, and heart. It is the story of two little girls. Two little girls whose story is now wrapped up in mine. Or perhaps I should say that my story is now wrapped up in theirs. I am learning that with me, God often just does, and does not ask my opinion or for a yes, or no – He just thrusts me into a situation and gives me no option but to follow, trust, and say “Yes” to Him.
A friend had heard about baby twins that needed a home. The story was unclear but I thought they were with a grandmother. Deanna was still here, she was leaving the next day, but we were going to check on these twins and see what the situation was. We headed out that morning for the long bumpy ride out to the village. We picked up the lady who supposedly knew where the babies were and headed to find them. We went to the wrong house at first, but we eventually found the right one. I honestly didn’t want it to be the right house. I didn’t. The children…the babies…on the front porch looked terrible. They were dirty - filthy actually. One of them was severely malnourished. She was sitting there in her own urine. While sucking her thumb, she stared at me. I just saw skin and bones. Skin and bones…and the face of Jesus. She needed lots of milk and nutritious food. The other baby looked a little fatter and bigger, but from experience I know all too well that a fatter and bigger stomach is not always the sign of a healthy baby. Their eyes and faces just looked so sick. I wanted to rush them to the doctor and get medical checkups done immediately, but food seemed to be the number one thing they both needed.
Safina and Joy. Definitely not twins, as we were told, but sisters nonetheless. Two precious bundles of need. Abandoned. Left with their grandmother who already has ten other children to care and provide for. Their unwed birth mother gave birth to Sofie when she was thirteen years old, then to Joy when she was fourteen years old. They each have different fathers, but the same mother. Safina’s father was fifteen years old when Safina was born and he ran away when he learned of the pregnancy from fear of imprisonment. Joy’s father was thirty years old when she was born, and has not been seen or heard from since Joy was born. He said that any child of his would not look like Joy. This is the story we are given of these precious baby girls as we scoop them up, hop in the van, and head home.
I oftentimes wish I could have been there. I wish I could have been there for the birth of my children. I wish I could have seen. I wish I could have been there for their first tooth. I wish I could have been the one across from them calling their name as they took their first steps. I wish I knew what their lives were like before they came to be mine. I wish I could have known their birth mothers and fathers…and been able to share the love of Jesus with them. I wish I knew what caused every tear, every scrape, every scar. But I don’t. I just know what causes the tears, scrapes, and scars now. I just get them when they need lots of milk, medicine, and love. and I am thankful for that. I am thankful that the Lord has chosen to place them into my care for now. At least I have them now. And I know where they are sleeping. And what they are eating. I know what they are hearing and how they are being treated. I know now. And I am so eternally thankful. I stand overwhelmed at God’s goodness and love. I lean over and kiss their little cheeks as I whisper a prayer over them at bedtime. I watch their faces during the night. Holding a sleepy little body against my chest at 2am, I walk circles in my bedroom as I sing “Jesus Loves Me” over and over and over. I feel a forehead for the fourth time during the night and give more medicine. We have a long way to go, but we will make it. They will make it. We may have lots of rehab and vitamins and sleepless nights ahead of us, but we will make it. And by the grace of God, they will be more than fine – they will survive to thrive.
“I have come to give you life and life more abundantly.” John 14:6
My Jesus does not just want to save these precious little girls from malnutrition, sickness, disease and death. No, He wants to save them from a life without Him. From a life of darkness and loneliness. From a life of confusion and searching for the Truth. Sofie and Joy’s birth mother and grandmother and entire family is of another faith. A religion. Not necessarily a relationship. My Jesus wants a relationship with them. My Jesus wants to give them LIFE. True life. He wants all of them to have life – the entire family. But for now, He has brought these little girls into my life, into my home. And I will raise them for as long as I have them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord – showing, living, and being that life of Jesus to them. For now, I am all that they know. And if I am all that they know…I want them to know Jesus in me.