Monday, April 16, 2012

Are you my mother?

 Have you ever read this book?  It is a dear story about a little bird who falls out of his nest.  He goes out looking for his mother, not having any idea what his mother should look like.  He polls various animals asking, "Are you my mother?"  Time after time the answer is no.  Finally, of course, he finds the mother bird who answers, "Yes!"
I really hadn't thought much about this book until Maribel dropped off Amandita.   When I pondered missionary life, I really never considered the possibility of adopting or fostering a child.  Suzy has many times over but 1) I am no Suzy and 2) I am starting out alot older than Suzy was when she started taking in children.  So, I was in a state of shock when Maribel announced to Amandita that I was now her mother.  At the time, Suzy and I were so anxious for LAMB to get custody of the children, Amandita and Fernando, that I would do anything and sort out the details later.   As you know from an earlier blog, Maribel suddenly appeared and then disappeared with both children.  I haven't seen Amandita since.  (Rumors abound that she is back in Flor but we haven't seen or heard from her.)

My first view of Scarlett at Soc. Svc.
My next opportunity was Scarlett.   Her arrival in my life was another sudden, no warning arrival.  This time, however, everything was completely different.  We were given custody from Social Services.  She had been abandoned by her mother so there was no danger of a sudden disappearance.  Also, she is a completely different child than Amandita. She is so sweet and easy.  She is very affectionate, has few temper tantrums (although I do see evidence of the terrible twos coming!) eats and sleeps well.  I was much better prepared both physically (still had most of the baby equipment I needed) and emotionally.    As I cared for her during Holy Week, the idea of keeping her as a foster mother was constantly on my mind.  I kept asking myself, "Am I your mother?"  I must confess my first approach to this question was an IBM approach.  (You can take the girl out of IBM but you can't take the IBM out of the girl!)  Very analytical - identifying and weighing pros and cons of keeping her vs. sending her to the Children's Home.   As I got to know her, my heart took the reins from my head.  How could I possibly give her up?
Finally, I let God into the discussion.    One of the joys of being here is getting to meet lots of terrific people.  One is a lovely young lady named Mandie.  Mandie spent a year in Uganda and blogged beautifully about her experience fostering children and helping adoptive parents navigate the processes and procedures to take their children home.  One point she made often is that God had already chosen a family for each of the children.  She recounted how often, when the prospective adoptive parent met a child, it was immediately obvious whether that person was the child's mother or father.   So, reluctantly (because we don't always like God's answer to our prayers!) I started praying to the Lord, "Am I Scarlett's mother?"   

Scarlett and Berlyn
I started taking her to the Children's Home to meet the caretakers, staff and other children.  We would stay and play, she would eat and nap with the other children in the Toddler's Cabin (aka Sala Cuna.)  Somedays I thought it was a great fit.  I remember telling Berlyn, one of the caretakers, that Scarlett might come live at Sala Cuna.  Berlyn was working during Holy Week which is the hardest work week of the year.  I thought she would groan at the thought of more work.  Instead, her eyes lit up!  Other days, though, I couldn't get her home fast enough.  (That was about me, not anything wrong with Sala Cuna.)  I often found myself in tears thinking about not being her mother.  

I am not sure exactly how or when I got my answer to prayer.   I just know that I started to notice a sense of peace.  So, on Tuesday after Easter, I packed up Scarlett and took her to the Children's Home.   I still spend alot of time with her and pray that God will bring forward a family for her.  I still miss her very much.  

So, if Scarlett asks the answer to her question is:  Scarlett, I am not your mother... 
I am your grandmother!
 Please indulge a grandmother and look at these pictures of my precious granddaughter!

Sally helping with the first bath
She never got in the bathtub but had a good time anyway!
More water fun without actually getting in the pool

Going to the circus with Suzy, family and friends!
Waiting for the circus to start!
Ice cream!
Getting to know her new brothers and sister
Kennet in particular has been so sweet with Scarlett
Practicing to do the hula hoop act in the circus!
With Cousin Sammy at Suzy's house!
Easter dress and shoes!
She loves to put the pegs in the holes. 
She loves to be on the board when she plays with it!
She insisted on going up and down the steps herself.

Scarlett and Noelia, new buds at Sala Cuna!