by Joy Casey
When a child enters our orphanage the staff sends us a report telling about the child – where he or she was found and by whom, the condition of the child and all vital statistics. This report is accompanied with a picture or two. Then we get updates and pictures to follow the progress of each little one that we share with their sponsor and prayer partner.
This is the best we can do because of distance, but when I get to go to the orphanage and put faces, names and personalities together, it does my heart good. I found the babies healthy and robust and it was fascinating watching a dozen of them crawling, scooting, pulling up to things or simply strengthening their core with tummy time. They thrive in the secure routine of their days and the big baby room is an amazingly calm place considering 10 babies between 6 and 16 months! The tiny babies are in a separate room doing what babies do — eating, sleeping and growing. We also have an isolation room to separate a sick child from the others.
When I received the intake report some months ago about a little girl named Dureti, I was concerned. She was a little over a year when she was found abandoned, frail and malnourished. The scars she had was evidence of recent measles, and the spotty growth of her hair was orange, a telltale sign of malnourishment that was confirmed by her significant underweight. We’ll never know her story or what circumstances drove her mother to walk away, but Dureti was a distraught, traumatized baby when we got her.
Subsequent to this video clip, I was heartened to observe that Dureti’s face lit up when she saw a favorite nanny – she smiled!! – and wanted the nanny to pick her up and cuddle her. This is an encouraging sign of re-bonding, vital for emotional health. The nurse shaved her head to treat scalp issues, but her hair is growing back thick and black now that her nutrition is what it should be. Her weight gain is remarkably good, and the scars from her measles are fading. We are working on healing the emotional wounds you cannot see from her hard beginning, but I am confident God is going to re-write this little girl’s story to give her a future and a hope!