Last May I met a group of babies that forever changed my life. I remember tearfully calling my mom back home asking her "What do I do? Do I just forget about them? How am I supposed to help them??" Sadly she didn't have any answers for me and I spent the next couple of days in turmoil. I couldn't look the other way and forget them, but I so desperately wanted to. It seemed to much for me to handle. Thankfully I was able to spend several more moments with those babies spread over the course of the weeks I spent there. I didn't get to spend as much time with them as I would of liked because of scheduling. But that is perfectly okay, because the moments I did get were enough. Enough to fall in love. And there was no turning back after that.
Now, nine months later, all of the babies [that are legally adoptable] have found families. Families that love them dearly. They have all been chosen. All of them except one little girl. Kanani.
It seems like not many people have noticed her. Yes, we have been able to raise her grant to a little over $3,000 since she has been listed for adoption. However it seems that only a few people have grasped that fact that her situation is urgent. So very urgent. She needs a family. Now. I understand that there is a lot of need in this world. When I logically think about it it makes sense. But my heart screams the opposite. "Why is everyone going about their lives when she is living a nightmare? How can you just smile and nod when this innocent baby is living this life? She is so young. So innocent. She does not deserve to be there!"
So please, I'm begging you. Just listen. She deserves at least that much. This is reality.
I don't know how old Kanani was when she arrived at the baby orphanage [Where I met her last May]. But I do know that this orphanage was a decent place. Yes, it was still an orphanage. But it was good one. We would drive through the city to get to it. Through apartment buildings and past moms pushing strollers with their babies. We would turn down a tree lined road and pull around the back of the gated orphanage. We would park in the small parking area. Right next to a playground. Yes, a playground. And a nice one! It was new and accessible for children with special needs. Almost unheard of in this country. It seriously rocked.
[the above child is not an orphan. If anyone was wondering.]
Right through those windows is their groupa. So many precious babies living in those rooms. That is where Kanani spent the first four years of her life. Windows open with the wind and sunshine welcome.
The orphanage also had a special needs preschool for community kids living with their families (hello awesome!) we always saw moms with their children coming and going. A little boy with CP was about the cutest thing ever, it made me happy to see him enter and than leave the orphanage with his mom each day.
The orphanage grounds were clean. A little run down in places, but this is Eastern Europe. We had freedom to walk all around the grounds. The orphanage was surrounded by a small wall, apartment buildings surrounded on all sides. We always saw mothers walking past the front gate with their children, going about their day to day lives. I didn't get to spend much time inside the building but what I saw was clean and decent looking. I didn't even notice a smell walking through the building.
The nannies were nice. The ones we met that is. They had the babies outside in strollers whenever we saw them. They were holding the children, talking to them and interacting. They were more then happy when we asked if we could take pictures and say hi to the little ones.
[above baby is now home in America!]
That is when I met her. She hadn't been outside with the other babies the other days. So when I saw a new face over with the babies, I made a bee-line towards her. Sweet, sweet darling. I noticed her vision impairment right away. She is missing her left eyeball. And her right eye has vision issues (optic atrophy) but we have no idea how much vision she actually has in that eye.
She was sleeping when I met her. But I was able to rub her head. Her sweet head with her thick hair. Her hair is so course with a terrible chopped hair cut. We asked the nannies what her name was, until they told us her name we honestly weren't sure if she was a girl or a boy. But once we heard her name, we knew. A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.
I only spent a few minutes with Kanani. But during those minutes I was able to lift up her blanket and take a peek at her legs. They were so thin and stiff. She was wearing tights. Her skin was so smooth and pale looking. Her sweet pursed lips were a nice rosy color. She didn't have a lot of chub on her but she wasn't small. She was the same age as another girl there and much taller.
This is Kanani. She is real. This is her reality.
[Kanani is sleeping in the stroller. The other baby is home with her family!]
While in her country we asked the adoption facilitator to please check if she was adoptable. If she was, we would find her a family. Several weeks after I arrived home in Canada, Kanani was listed for adoption. Praise! With this news we found out her birthday, April 2008. Meaning she had turned 4 that past April. Children were transferred from her orphanage at age 4, her time had run out. She would be transferred to a mental institute any day. A few months later we got word that the director at the orphanage was holding her for as long as possible before transfer, giving us more time to find her a family.
Several weeks ago I got the news. Kanani couldn't stay there any longer. She had been transferred. My nightmare had come true.
This was her reality. But she now has a new reality. And it is so much worse then you could imagine.
Give me a while, and I will tell you all about her new reality. I knew it was bad, but didn't realize how bad. I'm sick thinking about this sweet girl there. Wasting away. Just wait, your heart very well might break. In the meantime, please pray for Kanani. Pray.