This is my first experience with a true orphanage. It is an institution. 130 children, birth through 16.
Kidane is the oldest orphanage is Ethiopia, 79 years old. Run by Catholic nuns who work in 24 hour shifts, it runs smoothly from the perspective of outside eyes. It is efficient. It is clean. It is scheduled.
Each room had rows of beds with names written on the wall behind. The sisters were able to share with us the children's histories and their current statuses for adoption. They were known - they were cared for- they were loved. Many of the children are adopted to Spain, while the majority of older children and special needs go to the USA The orphanage takes in any child, regardless of condition.
Does that all sound clinical to you? It is - it was. It is devastating and wrong.
Kidane's objectives-We know that children in an institution is considered an evil but even abandoning children on the streets is evil so we choose the better out of the two evils.
Another evil is to remove the children form their birth country and from their culture. However instead of leaving the children for their whole life in an institution, we prefer to offer them a family who is willing to offer them a future of love, care and education.
Those are the goals - to get children off the street, where they will die and get them to families, anywhere.
There are people from all over the world that come daily to hold and feed children. Clearly the hand of God is on them. The volunteers were lovely. The children were happy and desperate to be led. They were affectionate and polite, well behaved and interactive. Kidane is clearly getting support that is allowing it to flourish. The Lord is providing for those children, the volunteers, and the sisters, who tirelessly love on the children. Families are coming together that were woven together before the creation of the world. That part is beautiful!
But there is a very ugly side. While I sat in a room of toddlers, alone, I was tackled to the ground by 3 and 4 year olds who were desperate to be held. Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever felt desperate to be comforted? That is the only thing that these children know, most of their days. The magnitude of that realization still brings me to my knees.
:::: insert my super opinionated POV ::::
There is not ONE person that I know who does not have the MONEY, the TIME, or the LOVE to allow for this to exist.
Every day, WE say-We know that children in an institution is considered an evil but even abandoning children on the streets is evil so we choose TO LEAVE THEM THERE AND ALLOW THE evils.
Another evil is to remove the children form their birth country and from their culture. However instead of leaving the children for their whole life in an institution, we prefer to focus on our own little lives, our own children's future of love, care and education.
Do you see how super ugly that is? It is horrible and self centered, capitalistic and hard hearted. Most of all, it is truth and it is dishonoring to Almighty God.
We like to clean it up, make excuses, close our eyes tightly and put our fingers in our ears. We really like to surround ourselves with others who will tell us how ok it is that we focus on our own little lives and that we have enough to deal with. We even consider those people our real friends. But, I don't want friends like that.
I want friends that remind me of what that cold ground felt like at Kidane.
I want friends who will pray with me for those children, those sisters, those families, waiting.
I want friends who will go back with me. Friends whose greatest desires are to love mercy, do justly and walk humbly with God.
I want to be reminded by my friends that the Creator of the World knows all of these things and that He desires for us to know them as well and to act in His love to change them.
And I want friends who will come alongside me to do just that.