Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

She is always so “cool, calm, and collected”, graciously in command. So I panicked when I heard Anna's panicked: “WHOSE BABY IS THIS?!!!!!!!!!!?" I turned around and saw Anna Reed holding a very young baby, with no mother in sight. (I do not know how the baby suddenly materialized in Anna's loving and nurturing arms.) I contextualized the scene and could only shake my head and smile with amusement at the evidence of Anna's recently developed post traumatic stress disorder.

This photo was taken AFTER Anna regained her bearings and her composure, and realized that she had not just become a mother (again). A baby such as this is often toted around by a very active 6-year-old sibling, so “no mother in sight" is not a reason for great alarm.

But now the context and the etiology of dear Anna's post traumatic stress disorder:

Anna has never met an opportunity to do a favor that she did not embrace. Earlier this year our friend, Ronald, a 20-year-old orphan, asked Anna for a ride and to accompany him to (Mother Teresa's) Sisters of Charity - Home of Hope Orphanage. This is not an opportunity that Anna could decline. But she did not sign up for what transpired: While holding Ronald's five-year-old orphaned sister, Gloria, Anna was shown to the door, with hysterical child in arms. The Sisters of Charity were feeling a little less charitable that day and insisted that Ronald (who had no real home of his own) and Anna MUST take the child,... and they must take her NOW! The Sisters of Charity are so overtaxed, a five-year-old with an able-bodied 20-year-old brother does not qualify for food and shelter. Gloria is rightfully HIS responsibility, not theirs. And as you can imagine, HIS responsibility is ANNA's responsibility. Happy Mother's Day!

I am incapable of describing the heart wrenching emotions of that moment, that day, and even the days to follow. This story ultimately has a very happy ending, but there was paralyzing terror, hysterical horror and despair for Gloria, Anna, and Ronald before the happy ending was visualized and achieved. You see, Gloria did not even know her brother, Ronald, or have any concept of any relationship to him or his love for her. And she certainly was not familiar with Anna and her ghostly pale skin and blazing yellow hair. Home of Hope, hard as they try, could also be described as a home of despair, but IT IS HOME! Familiar. Safe. Companions. Home. As Anna carried Gloria through the gate of Home of Hope, Gloria was inconsolably hysterical and Anna was stunned, dazed, and walking through the surreal Twilight Zone. "This CANNOT be happening! I wanna wake up!"

Fast-Forward to conclusion: Through the generosity of Anna's family and friends, Anna has sponsored Gloria at Sonrise School, a boarding school established by Bishop John to demonstrate that street orphans are redeemable. (Read Emmanuel Part 1 and Emmanuel Part 2 a few posts back to learn of one of the many great Sonrise success stories.) At Sonrise, Gloria does not color within the lines, she runs with scissors, and she seldom plays well with friends. But all of that is quickly changing. She is loved and well cared for. Six-year-olds compete for her attention and carry her around as their own baby sister. Gloria now believes that Ronald is her father and Anna is her mother, and no one can convince her otherwise. 

Bishop John is correct: Every forsaken orphan IS redeemable. But someone must choose redeem them. Yes, of course, true redemption is accomplished by Jesus. But he redeems such orphans by someone offering themself up for him to work through. Again, Anna could never decline such an opportunity, and Gloria's life shall be forever transformed.

And Ronald has been redeemed and transformed too. Russell Rainey has hired Ronald has his “Executive Assistant”. Ronald now has a modest home for which he purchases another piece of furniture with each paycheck so that Gloria will have a real home to come to during school holidays.