I was not prepared for my arrival at her orphange. Oh, yes, I had read the books, watched videos, even seen photos of her metal crib. I had memorized the features of my little girl from the few photos I had, could almost feel her spikey black hair. I should have been prepared to enter her world. But then I walked through the tall gates.
It wasn't until then that it struck me, hard, that each of the children in that concrete space were sons and daughters without someone to call them so, souls with brown-eyes as windows, treasures each and every one. The very air changed, or so it seemed when I tried to breathe. And then there were grasping hands and shy smiles as these little ones reached for me and found my heart...and the world stopped for a minute.
I didn't think it would start again, and it hasn't turned the same since, because she was placed in our arms. I dreamed of her reaching for us, but instead she cried...and cried. Our first embrace came when she slept, worn from tears, in my arms. I stood in that cement courtyard with other precious children clinging to my legs and this scared little girl in my arms, and later I wondered if this might be how our Heavenly Father feels when He reaches, and we recoil even in our need for Him, His heart so heavy at our rejection and pain.
That day seems ever so long ago. Her hugs are frequent now, and she would rather be in my arms than out of them. MyLinh is nearing five, and she counts by tens and fives and twos and reads proudly and sings hymns in church, shiney black pigtails bouncing. But I remember the others in that orphanage, the ones that aren't in my pew, and today I thank God that He saw fit to allow this precious soul to call me "Mama."