(Boy in the country following our Tap Tap)
We arrived home safely to Colorado late last night after a long day of flights and airport layovers. Saying goodbye to the staff and children at the orphanage Monday was very difficult to say the least. It would be one thing if all I did was provide physical care while there, but I spent many hours hearing very personal stories from the nannies and spending time exploring deep emotions with the children. In that type of setting and under the circumstances relationships formed very quickly. When I said my goodbyes to the group of nannies who I worked the most extensively with, they prayed for me and my family and I said what little I could to try and solidify the skills that I had taught them. However when I said goodbye to the older group of girls that I worked with, one of them in particular started crying, a lot. She is not just any child, she is a miracle, a survivor and victim to a disability which could easily be corrected in the US. Both my husband and I were very moved by her strength, resilience and intelligence. Her crying completely took me off guard. Now it is never my goal in child therapy for my clients to become so attached to me that they cry when parting. In a orphanage this is a unfortunate consequence of the circumstances. I had to ask one of the male volunteers at the orphanage to hang out with the girls so that I could bolt before I myself broke down in tears in front of them. It was defiantly a somber night, a long day home, and I did not sleep well last night. My dreams were filled with the visions of the older children and nannies at the orphanage, as if they were calling to me, that there is still unfinished business and work to be done. For sure there is.
(Elaborately painted old school buses and covered trucks called Tap Taps are everywhere)
For now I need to come to terms with returning to a reality that no longer seems so real to me. This happens every time I come back from a poor country, when I returned from Ethiopia and Rwanda the things I saw haunted me. I look at my children and the things they have and the safe, warm beds that they sleep in and I imagine all the children who I have seen at orphanages and I had to leave them behind. Of course there is no other way, you cannot possibly adopt all of them and for this trip I knew what I was going there to do and I did the job the best that I could. Still it is a hard thing to reckon with and each trip that I take changes me, changes the way I see the world, the way I live and spend money and the way I want to raise my children. It changes the very center of my being.
(Sunset over houses in the hills as viewed from our hotel room)