When I first came to Uganda five years ago I made the mistake so many young white girls do of thinking I was the answer. Child needed a home? Why not me? Family needed a place to stay? How about our extra room? Hungry? I’ll just buy you dinner. But I’ve learned I can enact so much more change by being the facilitator instead of the answer. By designing programs with end goals and policies and procedures and a focus on empowerment the help I offer has turned from limited and all about me to sustainable and far reaching. It’s not a popular thing to say but when the family stops being a family in my living room and starts being a family on our case load, the help I offer is stronger, more logically approached, and at the end of the day more helpful. I don’t make rash decision based on emotions- I think about long term affects, how to broaden our reach with our limited resources, and how to keep the focus on empowerment. At the end of the day when the family isn’t in my living room, seventy two families stay together after a year and a half of operating, instead of only a handful.
But every once in a while a child comes along and I fall a little bit too hard in love. And once again I want to be the answer. The part of me that was born to be a mom wants to be THEIR mom. And it takes everything in me to remember not now. God is saying not now. Right now I’m called to staying late in the office, hoping on planes when needed, living on a meager paycheck, giving Abide my all. Not now.
One day. One child. But not now.
I know that. And most of the time I’m okay with that. But not today. Today I just wish he could be mine and I could be his.
Today I wish I could scoop him up and take him home and watch him play in my living room. I wish I could be the one who guides him to Jesus who guides him to healing. I wish I could forget I don’t have any savings or health insurance or a job that pays enough or gives me regular hours. I wish that for once I wasn’t just the facilitator, fighting for his safety and praying for his family and pouring in resource after resource. I wish this time I was his answer.
But not now.
So I walk away, out the gates of an orphanage. I know he’s safe now. I now he will be loved and fed and no longer abused. But I want a family for him. I want him to have a mom who adores him and loves him and never ever lays a hand on him. I want it so bad for him I ask myself if it could maybe be me.
But not now.
God says not now. And I cry. I’ve learned to walk through our hard without tears and I’ve removed kids before without them. I’ve learned the art of not letting our families into my living room and keeping them on my desk. It all runs so much smoother, for everyone, when I do that. But i’m human and sometimes they wiggle off my desk and right back into my heart and I cry in the office when everyone has gone home. Why him? Why does he feel so different?
The tears fall.
I wish I was his answer.