I've been praying about how to write this post, to find the words that will reach whoever God has intended to read what has been weighing on my heart. I am writing this post through tears, my heart feeling as if it is breaking into a million pieces just thinking about what I'm going to ask you to imagine. Because I first had to imagine it.
I need for you to visualize with me. Imagine a child who has, for years, watched as Mamas and Papas have come, taking other children to this wonderful place called America. Imagine, at first, the hopeful anticipation that she must feel, thinking she could be next. And more Mamas and Papas come, and more children are chosen. Imagine the hope slowly turning to doubt, as she begins to wonder if there is anyone out there who wants her.
Imagine that she has run out of time to be chosen, and her fate has been sealed. She now has a file with "Unadoptable" stamped on it. She gets into the car, and is driven to an unfamiliar place. After leaving her familiar caregivers, friends, bed, and toys, she walks through the front doors, into a large, bare-walled, cold, hard building. She is led down a dark hallway to a room with a dozen or more women.
She is stripped of her clothes, put in dingy rags. Her hair is shaved off. If she wasn't scared before, looking around the dark room with no windows, seeing all the empty shells of women, rocking, pacing, she is terrified now.
She cries, she tries to leave. After trying to keep her confined and quiet long enough, the workers put her in a crib in another room and tie her down. She will lay there for hours. Coming from a loving place where she was well cared for, she does not understand, she is confused. She eventually urinates on herself, and a long time passes before anyone comes to clean up the mess. Day after day, now confined to one of the many cribs. The smell of body odor, urine, and feces is overwhelming.
Eventually, she stops crying. She stops feeling. She becomes another empty shell, rocking, pacing.
As you have read this, I imagine there was a faceless girl in your mind. I am asking you to give this girl a face. Your daughter's. Your grand-daughter's. Your niece's. If you have a son, imagine this is his story.
Can you do it? Can you think about it being your child? Fresh tears are running down my face, imagining my Ayden, my little girl who first made me a Mama, being given that fate.
We have a terrible disease here in the United States. We are indifferent. We don't stop to actually accept that these children are not just statistics, not just a picture. They are real children, with only one wish. To have a family. A Mama and Papa. And that one wish is slipping away with each passing day.
Bernadette's time is slipping away. This November, her file will be stamped "Unadoptable", and she will live out that fate. Unless.
God has put Bernadette on the hearts of so many women I know. We can't get her out of our minds. Her family is out there, maybe they don't know it yet. I'm not asking you to be her family (although I'd love for someone who reads this to realize she is their daughter). I'm asking you to help me find her family. Help her family find her.
There is a giveaway going on right now for a Kindle Fire at my friend Mandy's blog to help raise Bernadette's grant fund. Because Bernadette must be found by November, the time to fundraise will be very limited, so a large grant fund will be so helpful to her family. All donations through the ChipIn go straight to her grant fund, so they're tax-deductible.
So, as Mandy says, Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...DO SOMETHING!