The Feed The Hungry team arrived in Haiti on Monday & Tuesday. Seeing the kids at the Mercy & Sharing Orphanage and School was again an emotionally moving experience-- most of the children are here because they were abandoned, left by a parent to basically die. Some were left at the Hospital General in PaP, some were left on a street or field, one was found inside a cardboard box... and I hate to even think of this... one abandoned child I met a few years back was thrown into a latrine hole when only a few months old.
It's hard to comprehend how a mother or father, or both, could consciously decide to do such a thing; I honestly don't know what combination of factors make child abandonment such an accepted 'fact of life' here. Maybe it is abject poverty... a mother knowing she cannot provide for her child (but I've seen moms & dads do some extraordinary things to make ends meet when it comes to their child's survival); maybe it is social stigma or superstition... most of the abandoned children have some kind of handicap or another, either a physical or mental challenge; maybe Voodoo has something to do with it, the nation has been steeped in the dark religion for over a hundred years.
Regardless of how, when, where, or why they've been abandoned IT IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING to see the wonderful joy and absolute life that these kids exude. From the littlest infants to the largest teens, every one responds with life and laughter to the smallest gift of love-- a smile, a wave, a tickle, a hug, a little game of catch-- causes great joy to erupt.
Today I've been privileged to feel a small portion of what Jesus must have felt when he had the kiddies pressing all around him, getting blessed by their time with Jesus and Jesus getting blessed by his time with them. Remember the disciples tried to shoo them away but he rebuked the guys pretty good saying, "Let the little children come to me! Stop keeping them away! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." He treasured his moment away from the do's & dont's and stresses of adulthood to let loose and feel the joy, sheer innocence, and trusting abandon that makes a child a child... and I treasured my moments today.