M and I’s dad visited them today. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen since I got here. He walked through the gate and all the children ran to him and asked to be picked up. Kids here rarely see men so they all get excited when one comes to visit. It took me a while to figure out who’s dad he was since he was so loving toward every baby that ran up to him. Eventually he settled down in the grass with M and I. He sat with his legs straight out in front of him and M and I sat close to each other on top of his legs. The three of them didn’t speak much, but just sat there for about 20 minutes. M cried when the other kids tried to climb on her dad’s lap and he would gently pat her leg until she stopped crying.
When you spend your days with kids who have lost or been abandoned by their parents, when you hear stories of parents that have abused their children or not fed them until they make it down to mere skin and bones, when you hear about and meet babies that have been found in latrines- a loving father becomes that much more beautiful to you. I can’t imagine how easy it would have been for M and I’s father to have dropped them off here, convinced himself they would be well cared for, and gotten on with his life. Instead he goes out of his way to visit them, loves on them in every way he can, and intends to one day be able to care for them. It is beauty so real it makes me cry.
When dinner was ready he picked them up- one in each arm- and carried them to dinner. The three of them took their time and my heart broke as I thought of the goodbye I was about to witness. They cried when he put them down. He cuddled and shushed them until their cries faded into whimpers and then he left. They went into dinner, sat side by side and cried silent tears all through their meal.Why in a world where parents abuse and abandon their children can a father who loves his children not be with them? Why are things that I so desperately want to be simple so complicated?