Finding My Place

June 26th

Three orphanages and two days and I am spiritually spent. Thank you for your kind comments on the last post. My Internet time is fairly limited while I am here but I can’t tell you how much your comments cheer me on. Thank you.
Today we traveled to Dondo to work at an orphanage. We painted the exterior and spent several hours playing with the kids. Although there were activities planned for the kids, it was quickly apparent they’d rather just crawl on our laps and be held. So, I spent three hours under a tree holding a couple kids. They were 4-10 years old and simply wanted to have their heads against my chest. It was hard to hold back my tears for the trip home. I sat there, in the shade of a mango tree, playing with their ears, telling them stories in English they couldn’t understand, singing them songs from my childhood and trying my best to remember that just being there, playing with them, was enough.
Tonight we went to the baby orphanage in town to help feed the little ones. I recognize many of the children from last year, which doesn’t make working with them any easier. They are the sweetest kids and I wish more for them. There is no international adoption and adoption isn’t really part of the culture here either. Again, there are lots of cultural mazes that can leave you lost when trying to find an answer for some of these social issues. Instead, I found myself in the infant room, playing with a dozen babies less than a year old and singing “Jesus Loves You” to them. I don’t know why that song, but it seemed right. I sang, they smiled, and eventually I got them to sleep in their cribs.
There are few experiences in life that leave you feeling like you have nothing and everything in the same breath. I don’t have the solutions for the problems that keep Mozambique’s orphanages teaming with the sweetest, kindest souls you can imagine. And yet, seeing them and imagining their futures, I can’t help but feel like I have it all. I am incredibly blessed and am so thankful for my family. I only wish they were here to experience this with me.


Posted in
Africa, Journal, Public Health
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25 Responses

  1. Sorrow June 26, 2008

    what a beautifully written tribute. Not only to the children, but to the heart that gives so much, and wonders WHy?
    Just keep looking for the answers, someday, some way , they will be there.

  2. Even as a parent, you find that sometimes what your children need most is to be held and cuddled.

    There is no price that can be put on loving human touch.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this problem a lot lately. What can we do to care for the widows and orphans of this world — locally and globally? My heart breaks for these children who just want someone to hold them and love them.

  4. Wow, what a striking image…kids that just want to be close to someone over anything else. My husband and I talk about adoption every now and then – I definitely want to keep that door open into the future.

  5. You have such a warm and generous heart Kelli! I’m sure that what you did meant the world to those children. I think as adults, we sometimes forget that simple things are precious too.

  6. its amazing to me that kids really don’t need anything but a caring adult to be happy – simple need but hard to fulfill in this day and age. Have a good trip back!

  7. Hugs for you. Stay strong.

  8. It’s amazing to think that a child just wanted to be hugged. At least they know they power of a hug — you’ve given that to them! We can only hope they grow up to care for children in the same way. There are so many more children in this world who may never know what hugs are, so feel good about what you are doing. Again, thank you for sharing your work and different parts of the world with us.

  9. I love what you’re writing! Keep writing, and you’ll inspire me to make more of a difference . . .

    We’re one of the few foreign cases that actually meets the government qualifications for adoption here (except the age factor – at 34 I’m pushing it, but they do make exceptions, I’m told). But how do you choose?

  10. Jeanie June 26, 2008

    Kelli, just remember that when you leave there, Jesus will still be with them. This you know. For the Bible tells you so. :o)

    For you, Kelli: James 1:27 says “27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

    It is important what you are doing.


  11. Yes, kids always are the best in this world, our hope, our challenge and our bet for the future. You’re doing great things Kelli, thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts with us.

  12. What a moving post Kelli. It takes a thoughtful soul to appreciate exactly what those children need, they were ‘lucky’ to have you there. But how did you ever manage to get up and go? You’re breaking my heart and moving me to tears with every post, what can I do to help?

  13. What another wonderful experience, thanks for sharing that with us. I love reading about your trip. I agree with the above poster, that you bring me to tears with every post. I wish there was more for these innocent children.

  14. love you. love this post.

  15. My heart breaks with yours Kelli, and I too feel very blessed and grateful for my family, husband, children and grandchildren. I believe we all wish we were there to experinced this with you, and that we could do something to help. Can we? You my dear friend are an exceptional human being, and perhaps without knowing it, you touch more than the souls and hearts of those children. You touch ours as well. and just by sharing your experiences encourage all of us to do more for those in need who are all around us. God bless you Kelli and all who are needy in this world.

  16. Lynette June 27, 2008

    Hey Kelli!

    I can’t wait for you to get back and share some more of your trip and also some pictures. I miss your daily posts so much, its a daily highlight for me. Take care of your heart but its also good to have compassion and share that with others. God has chosen to use you for this purpose and you do make a difference for many others! Save travel wishes!

  17. Oh, honey. Hugs to you. You are doing such great work, and I remember well the heart-wrenching nature of aid work – wanting to give those sweet children the moon, or at least a lifetime of healthy food and clean water and love. Thanks for helping us pass them a little love as well.

  18. That love you offered will have an everlasting impact. I echo Lynette’s words.

  19. Tina in Duluth June 27, 2008

    Those kids don’t need t-ball and a Nintendo, they need just what you gave them, Kelli! I’m so happy that my 16 yr. old daughter will be working with children in Jamaica this summer, but in slightly less dire circumstances.

    Many of us will never have the opportunity to help those across the globe personally, but we can encourage the fatherless in our own backyards and lift up the hands of single moms. Thank you for stirring us all to love and good works.

  20. Oy, that tore my heart a bit—as I sit here in the luxury of nursing my little one to sleep. Kelli, you are so inspiring, and what I love most about your post and you and this blog, is that rather than let the unfairness of it all get you down and blind you to the beauty, you end this full of thanks instead. Not just for all you have been given, but even for that moment, that experience with these children.

    Thank you so much for all you are doing “out there” while I sit here, in my little corner of the world.

  21. Jackie June 27, 2008

    Kelli, you are an amazing young woman. I am so proud to call you friend. I am definately one of the blessed ones. Stay safe. Love Ya, Jackie

  22. You’re such a good person, Kelli.

  23. Of all the songs to sing, I think that was truly the best. It’s always helped me.

    Travel mercies and blessings.

  24. I have nothing tat I can add anymore eloquently than everyone has already said, but I couldn’t read that post and not let you know that it was inspiring.

  25. I know this is an old post Kelly, but I am just now able to catch up with what you’ve been doing. I cried all the way through this post.. what I would give to be able to hold one of those precious children and just let them know that they are loved, I think that even though you had to leave, what you left them with, will stay with them forever! I am in awe of the blessing that you are to so many people!