The Picture that Pierced My Soul

Sometimes when you go through crazy things, super stressful, super hectic, crazy, surreal times… times that just pass by like a whirlwind of madness… you miss things, like emotions.  I remember holding our daughter in her orphanage.  I remember encircling her thigh with my thumb and finger.  I remember her paleness and her limp body as she struggled through being drugged and hungry.  But I don’t remember feeling any particular way.  I wasn’t incredibly angry or horrified or saddened.  It just was what it was, and we knew to expect it before we came.

And now, as I hold and feed and play with my smiling, giggly little girl… it’s hard to remember where she came from or what she was just two short months ago.  The last few weeks I have had so many comments on her pictures, how much better she looks, how much progress she is already making.  And I will admit I didn’t quite know what they were all talking about.  Then I happened across a picture of her, newly home.  She was sickly thin and pale… it shocked me a little.  I just didn’t realize how much she’d changed, and I hadn’t remembered the state she was in when we brought her home.  The emotions you’d think I would have had initially began slowly creeping in.

And then today… I saw this.

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I couldn’t breathe when I saw it.  I had forgotten all about this picture, taken by my husband when they were stuck that week in Kiev.  That pained look on her face?  Constant.  Her diapers?  Size 3.  Her hair so coarse and matted… her skin translucent from a lack of sun or any kind of fat that might serve to hide the veins underneath.  Her hand poised to jab at her throat.  It was a 24/7 battle to keep her from hurting herself.  She just didn’t know another way to cope.

Tears come when I see this photograph, this little sickly girl that I had forgotten about so quickly…  All that she had been through in her nine years came to fruition in this one, tragic picture.  My heart can hardly bear the abandonment, the grief, the pain, the neglect that her young soul has carried.  And not only do I see her, but I see the other children.  The little girl just like ours being visited by her daddy in the orphanage.  The sadness in his eyes, the reality that she is never going home with him… or with anyone.  I see the faces of the waiting children who can be adopted but who do not have families yet.  I see the need of thousands of orphans in laying rooms all over Eastern Europe… wasting away just as our precious girl was doing.  So much suffering… and yet…

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We still have so much Hope.  I might have forgotten that sickly girl, because she so quickly came alive into the bubbly, feisty princess she is today.  No longer does she scream in pain or fear from simple things like being laid down or being fed a meal.  She is now in size 5 diapers and rapidly outgrowing those.  Her hair is becoming soft and lovely, and her skin is a healthy color.  She is filling in beautifully after having gained six pounds.  She no longer has a constant need for stimming and self harming; she knows that comfort doesn’t always have to come from her own two hands or at the cost of a painful jab.  She is being transformed through love.

And although I know so many little girls will never come home to be their Daddy’s Little Princess… they are true princesses of the Father in Heaven.  And one day… love will transform them too.  It will transform all of us who have been given Hope.  Lord may healing come ever swiftly to your little ones with no place to lay their heads and no arms to hold them tight.  Bring their earthly families soon and prepare for them eternal mansions with You.  Mothers and fathers… see your lost child and come to them quickly.  Lord Jesus, come quickly to us all.  Amen.

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