3 years ago today, I met Verlande. (8/8/2010)
What a day.
How silly I was.
Thinking there was a “building” that was an orphanage. I had no idea and was embarrassed by myself for even thinking that these girls would have a building… nope. They had rubble and tents. And cement walls to surround the area. A sliding metal door as is found in Haiti, was all that separated the “orphanage” (that Verlande calls orphalina.. this name is far too cute for what it really was) from the outside vendors and masses of people selling bananas, various onions, oil stands, vendors that had stacks of rebar… and just a holy mess it was. Overwhelming. The air was even overwhelming.
I walked in and my heart probably broke immediately… for so many reasons… for so many girls. For the young girl crying at the very beginning… and the older girls that I KNEW were going to have what??? What would they do in a few short years when they were too old and had to leave the orphanage? They would have nothing, nowhere, and nothing. Mind boggling. So heart breaking. The whole thing frankly sucked. How could this truly be. But it was.
Of course I saw my girl… she was beautiful… but they all were. But I saw Verlande intent. Intent on drawing, with serious eyes… with playful eyes… eyes with intensity…. Oh my gosh… how does she look like me? The girls were given soccer balls and I watched her play, and laugh, and love moving, and I know… I know it so truly.. I know that this girl …. Well, all these girls… do not belong here. They don’t belong here and this one…. (Verlande.. although I honestly didn’t find her name out that day… I didn’t want to know) looks like me… We are connected and I know it.
We leave, and that was it. That was our only day at the orphanage. We were working in other places on buildings during the week- no more orphanage. I did not want to leave.. but I wanted to leave and not see so bad. And I was scared because this was now imprinted on my heart somehow. But how unrealistic is this- our family had never thought about adopting. We are not a family that has oodles of money… Ryan is not even here with me. What would he say. What am I even thinking? Am I really thinking this? So overwhelming.
I have to walk out the sliding door. Away from the girls. They will be left in the rubble again. Just with soccer balls, new dresses, crayons and crafts. But still no future. In all reality, there it is. No future. Just balls and crafts. Sickness spills through my body. The only way I can get on our tap tap/bus is to calmly say to myself something that I have no idea where it came from… I never used to talk to myself this way… but I say, “If God wants me to take care of her, I will be here again.”