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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)

TITLE: Orphan Cries
By Heather Palmer


I walked into the white block building holding the hand of my new son. We were visiting the place he had previously lived. His cries echoed in the corridor as we proceeded to the stairwell. There was another visiting family with their child ascending the steps in front of us talking to the director. She was instructing us on what we could and couldn’t do while in the toddler room. On the landing stood a small painted table with 8 or 10 children’s chairs around it. Their primary colors stood in stark contrast to the plain white walls. My already pounding heart began to race. The day I would never forget was happening at that very moment.

The director opened the door and what I saw will forever be etched on my mind. It was in turn the most beautiful and most tragic place I had ever been. My son was beyond consolation. Fear is a universal emotion and even our language barrier could not disguise the very real terror I could hear in his crying. I held him and reassured him that Mama was here. “I’m your mama’’….”I’m your mama”.

Upon entering the room there were about 30 toddler beds in rows of six. Every child’s hair was clipped short making it difficult for me to tell the boys from the girls. Even bald, they were the most adorable children in the world. Some were smiling at us. Others watched us warily thru almond shaped eyes. And one sweet child was crying. His nanny was sitting on the floor rubbing his back trying to comfort him. The room seemed to be shrouded in despair. I could no longer hold it in and began to cry.

We were not allowed to touch the children. With every fiber of my being I wanted to go to them and hold each one. To show them that I cared. To show them that Jesus cares. I wanted them to feel my arms around them. Feel deep in their hearts how precious and beautiful they were to me. How their very existence changed me when I first looked at them.

I was frantic, scanning the room, trying to connect with each pair of black eyes watching me. Meeting the stare of one stoic child, he reached for me with thin arms. Tears spilled down my cheeks. What could I do in just the few minutes we shared? I was helpless. Soon we would be taking the son we had fallen in love with home. Our treasured one. I didn’t know how deeply it would hurt me to leave the others.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the other visiting father. Tears were falling from his eyes and his lips were moving. His arms were extended, moving back and forth in front of his body. He was praying, spreading hope and love over the children. Praying to the God who created them and loves them beyond measure. I, too could give those precious lives a heart of prayer. My soul cried out to God for the orphaned children. All the little children of the world.

I scanned the room one last time, taking in every image and imprinting it on my mind. The praying dad, the precious faces, the caring nanny, the tiny beds, the arms reaching for me. These forgotten ones are not forgotten. I think of you always. I see you in my mind. I hear you in my head. I feel you in my heart. My soul cries out for you.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 09/02/10
This piece was quite stirring. So sad that too many children must live with the title "orphan".
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/04/10
You drew me right into the orphanage. I can't imagine how hard that must have been. Great job on a very emotional topic.