The moment I saw her I wanted to know her and her story. I will probably never know it. She was new to this orphanage in Leon Nicaragua, and had only been there a few weeks.
I sat down next to her on the warm concrete as we watched my friends do a funny skit. I half-watched the skit, half-watched her. Her summer-colored hair, laughing hazel eyes and caramel skin all combined into a wonderfully unique and precious child.
She was too young to understand the skit. When it was finished we skipped away together and found the pile of girls painting nails. She let me paint her nails. Her delicate little hands rested on me…waiting for polish. Desperately wanting to connect despite the language barrier, I sang “Jesus Loves Me,” as I painted. Removing her sandals and rubbing off the dirt, I painted her tiny toe nails. Little feet get to me every time! As she inspected her finished mani-pedi, her sweet smile flooded my heart with compassion.
We exchanged names and ages. She told me she was three, but she looked to me to be closer to four. As I had done with all the kids at the public schools we had visited, I started to show her pictures of my family . . . but was quickly struck with pain as I saw the way her face became serious when she saw the first couple photos. I kicked myself inside. Showing family pictures to an orphan. Not my smartest move. Shoving away my pictures, we went to find something else to do. Sidewalk chalk!
I traced her hand and she traced mine. I showed her how to spell her name. “VALERIA.” We practiced writing it. She did an excellent job for such a young thing! She is such a joyful creature, always with a trusting smile and inviting eyes. Once I jokingly scolded her for writing on the walls of the building with chalk, and she gave me a shy laugh and a bashful grin, but promptly returned from the scene of the crime to continue drawing on the ground. Mostly she drew scribbles and pretended to write more words.
Yes, she had lice crawling in her hair, but that couldn’t stop me from hugging her close as we sat down to color in a coloring book. I asked her if I could keep a picture that we colored together – we had colored maybe three or four, but she wanted to keep them all to herself! I did manage to get one eventually though, and it is tucked safe in my journal, where it will hopefully stay for the rest of my life. Before I was ready, it was time for us to go, time for the little ones to scurry off to afternoon mass. I said goodbye.
Valeria needs a forever home. Will you join me in praying that she receives just that? Please pray she gets a Godly family that she can call her own, where she will be loved and safe.
International adoptions can be quite costly, and after a conversation initiated by my husband and a bit of research, we discovered that to adopt from Nicaragua would cost upwards of $30,000. Somewhere there is a family who can do this for Valeria. Adoptions like this are doable. I am praying it happens soon for her. MLJ Adoptions is an agency that helps do Nicaraguan adoptions. Pass it on. 🙂