Before I start I would like to put a disclaimer out there… I am writing this at 10:38 at night without any prior planning whatsoever. I was actually busy folding washing 5 minutes ago when a few random thoughts popped into my head. I was like… “woah, I have never put the two and two together and realized this about myself until right now”, and decided to run upstairs, whip my laptop open and start typing. So here goes…
Midnight (almost) memories
I have always had a heart for children. If you had asked 6 year old me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you that one day I was going to work in a crèche. You may ask “why a crèche?”. Well, at the time I didn’t know where else one could work to help babies and little children. As a typical girly-girl I always wondered what the crèche would look like and the kinds of babies I would look after. Somehow as I grew older, the same image kept coming to mind about these children. They were abandoned babies who didn’t have mommies and daddies who were going to come and fetch them from crèche at the end of each day.
Fast forward 20 years to 26 year old me. I still have a heart for children and the thing that brings me the most joy is being part of a child’s healing process, whether this is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. Other than illustrating children’s books I am a paediatric occupational therapist (OT) and I volunteer at the El Roi Baby Home at LIV Lanseria on a weekly basis. I could tell you wonderful stories of all the things I’ve done and the places I’ve been to help children, including different countries, but I feel that I need to stick to one main point here which is what I just realized while folding my washing.
The penny that dropped
Six year old me had the dream of working in a crèche and helping abandoned children in need. How obvious should it have been all this time that I am living that ‘cutsie’ dream? The ‘aunties’ at the El Roi Baby Home care for and provide love and safety for abandoned babies on their way to their forever homes. El Roi is one of the names of God in the Bible and it means ‘the God who sees me’. God sees those little babies in the one thin blanket that they’re wrapped up in. He sees them when they’re placed in the baby box by their seemingly helpless and broken-hearted mothers. He sees their mothers when they leave the baby box without their child and He sees them when they cry on their beds at night because they felt that they had no other option. He sees the aunties as they rush to fetch the baby from the box after hearing the alarm bell go off. He sees the El Roi family as they lovingly lock eyes with this little precious gift from Heaven and as they unwrap him/her in preparation for a warm bath and snuggly clothes. He sees them as they celebrate their birthdays with their aunties, brothers and sisters at the home. As He sees them grow up, he prepares a way for them; a path that will lead them to their forever families with mommies and daddies that love them so dearly that they would die for them. He sees their new parents as they wait in anxious anticipation for months, often even years, for their prayers to be answered and to meet their little one. He sees them grow up, flourish and become the person of God that He created them to be. For He knows the plans He has for them (Jeremiah 29:11) from their conception and He never ever leaves them nor forsakes them (Deuteronomy 31:6). He is with them wherever they go and is always present and always faithful to His promises to them (Isaiah 43:2, Psalm 139:7-10). As aunties in the baby home we don’t always hear from the child or their forever families down the line, but we often think about and pray for each one of them by name; sharing stories from memory. They are never forgotten and they always leave a unique imprint in our hearts.
Why do YOU need to be adopted?
As I write this and wonder where all of these thoughts are coming from, I realize that we are all so similar to these precious little ones that I call ‘my babies’ at El Roi. We are all lost because the devil has come into this world to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10), BUT there IS HOPE. There is a God who SEES US. He sees every step of the way; from the darkest, most lonely times of our lives when we feel abandoned, to the most beautiful and perfect times. Just as He never leaves nor forsakes the smallest, abandoned baby, and just as He cares for and protects the birds of the sky, so He does the same for us (Matthew 6:26). It may often feel like He’s not there or has forgotten about you but He is ever-present. The truth is that we often leave Him and try to do things ourselves. We are lost and abandoned but we don’t go to the ‘baby box’ to be found, loved and cared for. We continue walking in the other direction and wonder where He is. We see one set of footprints in the sand and ask where He has gone and why He has forsaken us. The truth is that in those situations, the set of footprints you are seeing are actually His as He is carrying you. He loves you so much that He died on the cross for you centuries before you were even conceived, knowing full well all the things you would do in your life, both good and bad. If you look at the situation hard enough you will see that the footprints are bigger than yours are; you will see that the doors that you wanted to open were closed because He can see the whole spider web maze of your situation and guide you to the exit, yet you can only see that one door right in front of you. You have to look harder to see the positives in your situation, and if you can’t see them then you have to learn to trust that God sees it all and will get you through it.
Go to the baby box
I want to tell you that although all of this may seem cliché or pie in the sky, I have had firsthand experience trusting Him to guide me when I couldn’t see the way out or the reason for the trials. I am not a writer, yet I am writing a blog right now. I am not a reader at all, yet I now illustrate children’s books. I call myself ‘technologically challenged’, yet I have ended up being the ‘social media and marketing manager’ for Strong Anchor without any prior knowledge or training. I have visual perceptual difficulties, yet I am an occupational therapist who treats children with the exact same challenges. All I can say is that there is no way I would be where I am in my life right now, even as I am in bed with my favourite fluffy pyjamas on and with my laptop in front of me, without the grace of God.
Meet your forever family
I really feel like He was speaking to me while I was folding my washing and prompted me to type this out for someone specific to read. I guess He wants you to know that He SEES YOU too, yes YOU! He loves YOU, He cares for YOU and He wants to guide you into your 6 year old self’s dreams if you will trust Him by allowing Him to take the wheel. He wants to adopt you into His household; the most perfect forever family, where you will be loved, cared for and adored forever.
10% of the profit from our first book, ‘Monster in My Neighbourhood’ will go to the El Roi Baby Home at LIV Lanseria. They currently have 12 babies from ages 0-4 years old in the home and 11 precious aunties working there, loving and caring for the babies full time. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the baby home has lost most of their regular donations towards essential monthly supplies such as food, nappies, formula and cleaning products. We so appreciate you showing your support for the Baby Home through purchasing this book!