Friday, May 16, 2008

a part of someone else's story

It's going to be 90 degrees here today and the kids were SUPER excited to pull out ye ole summer clothes. The talk of warm weather and warm weather activities spurred on a conversation about Liberia over the breakfast table. Lots and lots of memories of the first time they met Husband and I, as well as when they got dropped off at the orphanage.

I exited the scene to get myself ready and remembered when I was in Liberia and, without knowing it ahead of time, dropped two children off at the orphanage. I wondered if I'll forever be a part of their memory of the day that they got dropped off at the orphanage.

On the drive there, their momma talked about music and who her favorite artist was to another Liberian woman in the van. I sat in the back seat thinking that we were just giving the family a ride to their home. My nephew and I traded a few whispers and then, about 10 minutes later, we pulled up to a place that looked SO familiar but I couldn't put my finger on it. I'd never been there but DANG it was familiar. Then it all whooshed into my brain... I had many pictures of my children playing on these steps... this is the orphanage. Why are we at the orphanage?

The mom didn't hug or kiss her children, she just patted their backs as they squeezed out of the door to the van. She stayed seated and watched her children walk across the yard to those familiar steps. It was then that they slipped into the large group of kids leaning over the hand rail, almost blending in. The only way that one could pick them out was to see how everyone but those two beautiful children were laughing and messing around. Those two kids were staring... those two seemed in shock. The son looked at his mom and the daughter into nothingness. The mom, still in the van, says that she thinks her daughter won't look because she doesn't want to cry. It's then that I finally realize that these kids are staying.

The van backs further into the yard so that we can turn around. I watch the mom to make sure that she's okay. She spends a lot of time pretending like she is okay. She glances out the window and gives a half hearted wave to her son. As we pull out of the yard, the van is filled with silence and I wait to see if the mom will look back ... if her and her daughter will make eye contact just one last time. Mom never looks back. But I do. I stare at the girl, with devastation pumping through my thoughts.

The girl looks up, one last time. Red Liberian dust fluffs up between the orphanage and the van.

I wonder if someday she'll be sitting in America wondering who that white woman was over breakfast....

7 comments:

Bananas said...

Oh my goodness... this is heartbreaking.

Dawne said...

My heart aches for them! I though the children were turned away if their family was living? I had no idea parents would drop them off there. God bless them all.

Angie said...

That is heart breaking. No wonder you keep bringing so many home :-) Makes me want to bring a few home myself.

Danielle said...

I think there are some things you just never forget and you remember them in vivid detail...

Snafu Suz said...

Wow, I'm speechless. Like the others said, it's heartbreaking. I feel so sad for all of them.

Erica said...

I often think back and wonder what my kids mother was thinking when she got out of the van on our way to the airport, knowing it would be the last time she saw her kids. My heart was breaking, but she had the brave Liberian face on...How hard to actually say goodbye!

Anonymous said...

I keep wondering if maybe, just maybe, you won't return to Liberia sometime soon for another child...I wouldn't be surprised.

lisa