Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Heartbroken and Thankful

Today I read a blog post by a family who just came back from visiting the places that J and I will be going to in less than 2 weeks.  She so beautifully describes the beauty and pain in one of the orphanges in the city (not Hannah's Hope).  (Please click here to read the full post.)
Then we entered the next room - the baby room. Again, the smell of urine and feces was overpowering. My eyes were burning, but what I saw hurt even worse. There were a few cribs and one bouncy seat. The babies were tiny and there were 3 in one crib. The one in the bouncy seat was crying, so I knelt down to soothe him. That's when I realized they had no diapers. None of them. They were laying in blankets, and most were soaked with urine. We stayed in the room for a few more minutes, but then had to leave.
Outside in the fresh air I was struggling to wrap my mind around what I saw. Tucker's nursery here at home is bigger than the room that held all Bethzatha's babies. Some of our closets are bigger. We take for granted that our children are bathed daily and get a fresh diaper whenever the one they're wearing is soiled. I've been at baby showers where we make "cakes" out of diapers and then THROW THEM AWAY when the shower is over simply because they were generic brand and only for decoration. We have the resources to not think twice about these things. But I saw women who were doing everything they could to care for these children and not even be able to give them diapers - I saw these women SMILE. They were able to still have joy. They were doing the best they could with the little they had and I believe it's for that reason that they could smile.

... and it's for that same reason that I couldn't smile. Am I really doing the best I can for the orphans of the world with the resources I have? Am I really doing all I can for them? No. Part of that is because I truly didn't know. It's one thing to watch an infomercial or a you tube video that expresses the need. It's quite another to be there to see, smell, and feel it all yourself. Now I get it.  (Continue to read more about how to help with "1000 Cloth Diapers for Ethiopian Orphans.")

This reality completely breaks my heart.  While we also have read about the needs in books and on blogs, we have yet to experience it ourselves.  I can only imagine how it will change our lives.

Over the past few days, J and I have been overwhelmed with the generosity of our friends, neighbors, co-workers and families.  It's hard to find the words to express how grateful and touched we are by how many people have given donations for the little ones we will meet in Ethiopia.  Thank you so much--please know that you are really making a difference.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing... I know that you will have an amazing time. The hurt is real, but it's good because it means our hearts are changing. Praying for your trip...