Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are You My Daddy?--A Message from our International Director

One of the things you quickly realize upon exiting the United States for another country is that most of these countries invest very little in road repair.. no where is this more obvious than Uganda! The small party I was traveling with had been on a really bad, pot-holed highway, for what seemed like an eternity, when our SUV approached an orphanage of sorts. We were told that many such “highway orphanages” exist in Uganda, where a good number of children are abandoned next to the main road by mothers who are going into the Capital City looking for work and have no means to care for a child.

The orphanage we were visiting consisted of basically two large huts with thatched roofs and a large dirt field. There seemed to be a scarce amount of food and no running water. Many of the children lacked adequate clothing and you could see that what they did have had been worn daily for perhaps months. There were four or five caregivers (not including the older kids) for almost 80 children.. Just imagine you, your spouse and another couple caring for 80 kids and you get some idea of the potential for chaos. Yet everyone, at the moment we pulled up, was very calm. Some of the children sat lined along the outside walls of the huts to shade them from a hot sun, but most of the children were just sitting in the dirt doing virtually nothing. There wasn’t a ball, a toy, or anything to play with. For these children it was just another day of meager existence.. just like the day before, and the day before that and so on.. I remember feeling heavy hearted as I got out of the four wheel drive (a necessity in Uganda if you plan to travel more than a few miles outside a main city).

My natural instinct and love for kids drew me to the middle of the dirt field. I smiled at the children and sat down next to a few of them. Suddenly they smiled back at me and quickly began to climb on me. Other children joined in and within minutes the children were laughing and treating me as if I were a human jungle gym. These kids had the same internal make up as my own three children. What happened next will stick with me for the rest of my life.

One of the climbers put their little mouth up against my ear and whispered to me, “Are you my daddy?” A great well of emotions sprang up inside of me. Many other children, over the next several minutes, would fight their way to my ear and repeat those words, “Are you my daddy?” I realized that steamy hot afternoon along a pot-holed highway in southern Uganda, sitting right there in the middle of a dirt field, that what these precious little faces desired more than anything they could think of or imagine was to have a mommy and a daddy of their very own! These children dream of having a “Someone” Someone to love them, to teach them, to protect and provide for them. Someone that will make them feel like the most wonderful, wanted child in the world!

For those of us at Lifeline, we know that through our partnerships these past several months, a handful of Ugandan children will pitter-patter their way down a hallway tonight and into their bedroom. They will pull themselves up into their brand new beds and they will call for their mommy and daddy to come kiss them goodnight. When their parents pray with them they will reach their little arms around their parents necks and hold them tight.. and then they will say what all of the orphaned children in Uganda, and around the world, hope that they can one day say.. “I love you mommy” and “I love you daddy”.

Our passion at Lifeline is to make this dream a reality for more and more children. This past year we exceeded more families than we’ve ever had and we have a significant number of families prepped for travel. Obviously the need and the longing is still unimaginable. And in Uganda the program has currently been put on “hold” while their government and our Embassy work through some issues in wording for “legal guardianships”.

Rescuing precious orphans, in spite of the many and sometimes difficult obstacles, remains our great and consuming cause! Lifeline continues to be blessed with more and more families mature in their understanding and willingness to endure the paperwork, the meetings, the finances, the waiting, and the unknown, to rescue their future sons and daughters and adopt them into a forever family. May God continue to grant blessing and favor on all of you!

Dave Wood
International Director

1 comment:

Kati said...

I am convicted and blessed by this post. Thank you so much for sharing. Although we are not waiting in the Uganda program, I can definitely identify with the waiting in IA as we are waiting for our daughter in China...and it is hard.

Your post leads me to this prayer:

Thank you God for the reminder that I am not mature, but that this process you have called me to is to have "understanding and willingness to endure the paperwork, the meetings, the finances, the waiting, and the unknown, to rescue my future sons and daughters and adopt them into a forever family." I pray that you would teach me this understanding and willingness...and am so thankful that you have forgiven my impatience and stubbornness because of what your son did on the cross for me...