The photo store was strangely right across the street from our hotel. In fact we parked AT the hotel and walked from there, and as we did I asked Sam if we should skip out on the rest of the day and just go up to the hotel and get ready to go home. She thought this was a good idea.
The photo sessions were stressful for all of the children. They were supposed to either stand up in front of the white background or sit on a bar stool with no back to rest on. This was quite difficult for all of the four kiddos. Sam was really unsure about the whole thing. I sat her on the stool and held her up from the side, but she didn’t understand what was going on and kept lunging toward me, asking me to save her. I had to let another adult hold her up so I could stand behind the camera woman and coax her to look up. It took several tries to get an acceptable portrait. The stool wasn’t working, so they thought they’d have her stand, but she was unsure what was going on and would not straighten her legs or attempt to hold herself up. At one point she lost her balance and fell to the floor. I immediately rushed over to her, thinking she may have hurt herself. But of course, she didn’t make a peep. I’m sure she’s not used to being comforted when she gets hurt, so she does not cry out for help.
Sam was very relaxed at the start of our visit today, but after her experience getting her picture taken, she was distressed. It was a good thing she got to enjoy another car ride as a reward for being such a good girl and putting up with all that commotion.
We attempted to deliver all of the donated formula to the orphanage today. Anna and I brought around 150 pounds. Tom brought another suitcase full. And a family adopting from another city brought several boxes as well. We waited until today to deliver it because it has seemed that on previous visits there was no one who was qualified to receive it. Our guide spoke with an administrator about the donation for what seemed like forever. When he left her office, he said they were unwilling to accept the formula without proper documentation tracking where it had come from. We were all sad and angry as this formula is all highly specialized and vitally important for the health of many very malnourished children. But with all of the press attention the orphanage has been receiving, they must be very careful to enforce rules concerned food inspection and safety. Sadly that rule is written in such a way that it is keeping thousands of dollars of lifesaving nourishment from the children.
My attorney immediately responded to this situation by contacted Prof. Lilova from Tokuda hospital, where many children from the orphanage are currently being treated. She is willing to receive the formula, and may even be able to get some of it into the orphanage through the nurses we are hiring.
My visit this afternoon with Sam was a good one. She was calm and sweet as can be. We had a few very sweet moments when she laid her head on my shoulder and caressed my arm. I also sang to her for a long time and she looked the most relaxed I’ve seen her. When she’s really comfortable she makes this adorable face where her lips purse and she breaths deeply almost like a yawn. Her eyes also relax and get squinty, almost falling into sleep. Absolutely adorable if you ask me.
The end of our visit was quite emotional. I said goodbye and then watched as Sam’s baba set her down, held both of her hands, and coaxed her to take several steps, which is hard work for Sam!! I was so proud, I had to follow them down the hall and cheer her on! I teared up watching her with her baba, and wanted to encourage her baba to continue showing Sam this kind of love and attention, so I asked our guide to come over and translate. Through tears I tried to thank Sam’s baba for taking care of her when i can’t. But then came some words that I did not expect to hear. She said she was glad Sam has a mama because she doesn’t get the best care at the orphanage (which I knew). People don’t give her much attention, she says, because they don’t find her attractive. (I believe this has something to do with her ethnicity and skin color) And because she doesn’t make eye contact like some of the other children. This breaks my heart. And I know if break the Lord’s heart as well. Please pray about this, friends. Pray pray and pray some more.
I know God is winning. He’s already won, in fact!! But waiting and enduring the next few months will be difficult. I need to keep reminding myself that on the other side of the waiting, working, praying, and hurting will be the best, sweetest, most undeserved reward I could ever receive. If I can only remember that day is coming!! Sam’s freedom day!! Hold on sweet Sam. Soon!