This little girl in Swaziland touched my heart for so many reasons.
First of all, I must explain that Lauren, Cody, and I gave nicknames to many of the children that we connected with. Some because we don't know or couldn't pronounce their names, but mostly because we love giving them names that represent who they are or are not. The latter is the case for this little cutie.
This chick would. not. smile! She had a furrowed brow that just got deeper the more we interacted with her. Not only would she not smile, but she would roll her eyes at us like a 13-year old girl. I am not kidding. On one hand it was hilarious, but on the other, it broke my heart.
How could a less than 2 year old little girl be so hardened already? She was at the Halfway House where Isaiah and Laila were from. Laila was very stern and emotionless in all the pictures that we saw of her before we met. Even when Rick arrived, she was not very interested in interacting with him a whole lot.
I watched our little girl go from "grumpy diva" to happy and affectionate in only a matter of days. The first day we met, she literally just looked me up and down the whole time.
Over the next week, that furrowed brow softened, she relaxed. She attached to me immediately. It was as if she had been waiting all 9 months of her little life for her mom, and now we were together. It was and still is so beautiful.
This was our first meeting with Laila and her staresThe next day, she crawled into my lap immediately, rested her head on my chest and fell right to sleep. It was one of the best moments of my life.
Laila and me, just days after we took custody.
I can't help but think about Little Miss Sunshine. She needs a momma. The women at the Halfway House are AMAZING. The children are well cared for, but nothing, I MEAN NOTHING, can substitute for the love of a family. Every child should have one. It breaks my heart that so many don't.
I know this is the case all over the world, but the reality is so real to my heart in Swaziland. I have seen the difference a family makes. I have evidence of the impact. Not because we are perfect, or do everything right, but because we love them and rely on God as our strength. Even in our mistakes, we are a family.
I pray for Little Miss Sunshine and the 12 other little ones that we got to spend a few hours with. It only took that short time to remind me of my heart for these little Swazi people and my desire to do all that I can to make their lives better.