A brown leaf shivers on the branch outside. It looks sad all by itself like me. Did its mommy leave him too? I feel the wind near the window. I am cold and wet and hungry, too. I am always hungry.
The white-dress woman changed my wet clothes and put me back in my crib. She didn't look at my eyes. She didn't talk to me. She didn't see that I got a new tooth, but I don't care. It doesn't matter anymore. I am always going to be here with all these other screaming children. Who cares?
A man and a lady with a blue sweater are talking to the white-dress woman. They are coming this way. The lady is so very pretty. She has long pretty hair. Maybe she will pick me up. Maybe she will see my new tooth.
Pick me up! Please, pick me up! I pull myself near the railing and reach my little hands to her.
Oh, the lady with the long hair and blue sweater is picking me up. She looks at my eyes. Her eyes are brown. She smiles at me and hugs me. Her arms are so warm and loving. I lay my head on her shoulder. I remember my mommy holding me like this. I suck my thumb and close my eyes and remember.
The man and the white-dress woman talk as we move around the room. The other children want to be picked up, but the lady with the brown eyes and long hair and blue sweater is holding me. She brushes some hair away from my cheek. Her hands are so soft. She smells like the wind on a summer day. I smile at her and she sees my tooth.
We walk all around the room. It is a big room with rows and more rows of cribs like mine. A boy named Misha likes the pretty lady too. He tugs on her blue sweater. “Are you my mommy? Are you going to take me home?” The man gives him a chocolate bar, and Misha is happy. He is a very kind boy and gives some to the other children. I don't want any chocolate. I want to stay here in the pretty lady's arms. There are some children who are sick. They can't walk like Misha. I will walk someday. My legs are strong. Some children are afraid of the man and pretty lady. I am not afraid.
Soon we are back to my crib. The man is talking to the white- dress woman. He tells her of a new house for children who need a mommy. He says they are happy and have good clothes and food. The white- dress woman wants some money, but the man does not have it now. She is not happy. She points to me and tell them to put me back in the crib.
The pretty lady that smells like summer tells me that she loves me and that she will be back very soon to bring me to a new home. Her brown eyes are filled with tears. She kisses me on both cheeks and squeezes me tight before gently easing me away from her shoulder.
What? You are going away? You are leaving me like my mommy left me? No! Don't go!
The white-dress woman pulls me from the pretty lady and plunks me back in my crib. I reach my arms out to the lady. Loud sobs blubber from my mouth. Tears wash my face. My breathe comes in sharp gasps . The pretty lady is crying too and reaches toward me, but the white-dress woman pushes me away from her, down onto my bed. The man puts his arm around the pretty lady and leads her out the door. It swings shut and they are gone!
I stand up again, leaning over the railing, reaching toward the closed door—crying, crying.
Giving up, I crumple upon the mattress, softly whimpering and sucking my thumb. Staring at the lonely leaf, I shudder away one last sob. With a shiver, I close my eyes and see the pretty lady with the blue sweater and long hair and brown eyes and soft hands, that smelled like a summer wind.
* This is based on a true incident, when the workers of the Hope for Life Home in Vladivostok, Russia, first met little Lera. Many babies like her have been abandoned by their alcoholic mothers and left at overcrowded hospitals and orphanages. Lera and Misha were rescued and have a Christian home where they will be fed and loved and taught about Christ's love for them.
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