Last year at this time I was in Uganda, Africa, with a group of beautiful women. I think back, and I can still remember so many of the faces, the names and the stories from there. I hope I never forget the hurt I saw, the joy I experienced and the love I felt for that country. I would like to share with the world, the story of a little girl name Annet.
I met Annet at one of the orphanges. We had spent the day painting the orphanage and playing with the children. After school was let out, just across the lawn, Anett appeared. She was very shy, and watched me with intent. I approached her and we began talking. I could tell she did not expect attention. She was the only child over 3 living in the particular part of the home. She was so sweet and gentle with the smaller children, and it was apparent she was a caregiver as well. One of the little ones, Marion seemed to view her own mother.
I asked Annet how old she is. She promptly replied, "Six." I thought, and even said out loud, "Wow, you are tall!" She just replied with a sweet smile. Annet was excited to show me how she could draw, right and sing. She was so proud to show me she had her own bed. On it, were her few belongings. Thirty minutes into our time together she bluntly asked, "Will you please adopt me and take me to America?" Her words came out as smooth as butter in her darling little British accent. "I would love to Annet, but it is not that easy," I replied, my heart aching. She went back to drawing. Then, she started to question my current situation. "How many children do you have? What are their ages? Are they boys or girls? Wouldn't you like another girl?"
Try to explain to a child why you cannot adopt her. It was one of the hardest coversations I have ever had. Later that afternoon, I spoke with her "mama." Her mama informed me that Annet is actually fifteen. The first six years of her little life, she was severely sexually abused by her father. Her mother had died giving birth to her, and Annet's father felt it was her fault. In Annet's mind she was six. I believe this may be a condition called "arrested developement." A child does not, and can not develop normally; mentally or physically through such abuse. When the abuse ended, it is as if her life began. Somehow, she was frozen in time, striving to re-live her youngest years. Because she was fifteen, she did have the maturity to care for the other children. She bonded to them and treated them beautifully. She is responsible. She is kind. She cares for others. Which proves, abused children can overcome their past and be functioning, loving people in society. Unfortunately, Annet's father must consent to her adoption, which he will not. Therefore, Annet's life will be spent in this orphanage. By the grace of God, it is a wonderful orphanage, and the mama's there are truly magnificent. They love the children with all their hearts. I would imagine, eventually Annet will be a "mama" there. That is my prayer for her.
Before we left, Annet came over and handed me a neatly folded peice of paper. I opened it, to discover she had drawn a heart and written inside, "Jesus gives me hope."
You can imagine the rush of emotion that went through me. I will never forget that sweet little girl. Let her story leave an impression on your heart...
Here is Annet, proudly showing me everything she owns.