Children On Their Own

 
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My previous blog asked the question of , "Another word for Orphan is _____?"  I've had lots of good suggestions, but none that spoke to the experience of their solitary existence, their un-rootedness.  None seemed to be what they might say of themselves.  But there have been moments here, painful ones, when they referred to each other as " we sisters are all we have."  Some of this was in anger as in the adoptee saying to her mother, "You are not my real mom."  Both statements are actually true, but for the most part, the "children on their own" do not have adults who are committed to them as individual people.  From a purely existential point of view they are on their own.  When they are swept with internal pain and memories they sometimes as, "God, why have you brought me into this world to suffer?"  These are not dramatic expressions, rather those of the mourning wail — why did this happen to me.

When I waited for the children, after I'd gotten the house, I wrote a haiku expressing my angst in waiting, my sense of their waiting to be rescued, the sense of time dragging on and on:

Amader Meye'ra (Our Girls)

Floating in the Darkened Night

Wailing to Come Home

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Orphans are children on their own, wailing…. They must be strong or they will die.  They must be strong or they will lose their sense of humanity.  They belong to everyone and no one. 

One day I was at the airport and I saw a building across the road that said, "Lost Luggage."  I thought:

Orphans, the lost and unclaimed luggage of humanity.  I saw them on the shelves, maybe picked up by those who lost them, maybe taken by someone who wants some luggage and finds the right piece, or maybe they just wait, on the shelves, in the institutions.  At a certain age they are dumped out, as room is made for more.

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(C) Widgit Software 2002-2011; www.widgit.com

This is not a nice image, but when we talk about thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and millions of orphans around the world, they are children unclaimed, mostly untagged.  Our children with disabilities came without last names.  I gave them my name.  As for the other girls, some came with names, some with wrong names, some without names.  We had to sort this all out, or at least make decisions about names before we could put them into schools.  We had to re-tag them so they could enter the system.  (for anyone worried about whether they were still findable by family that might show up, the answer is yes.  Everything is recorded.  These children are actually very findable for anyone looking.  They come through the government system of identifying lost and abandoned children.  They were "vetted" by the government before they were given to us. 

The widgit symbols above and below are part of a system of symbolic language we are using with the children.  I love it~~~  Our website when it finally gets done will be widgit enabled so it can be "read" but people who cannot read.  .  We have written our mission statement in widgit.

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We often have groups of children gather in front of the computer for work on widgit as it is also a great way to learn English
 
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In this picture Lopamudra Mullick our new Associate Director is working with Ganga helping her use her foot on the keyboard.  Lopa has figured out that Ganga loves pretty dresses, fancy shoes, lipstick.

 This blog post is "all over the place."  I'm leaving in four days for the US for three weeks so I should be working on all the things to be done.  Two days ago I promised myself that if I cleaned my room I could blog.  I didn't get it done and I've broken the promise. I'm blogging anyway.  But in the meantime we had our Annual General Meeting yesterday, and I'm trying to finish out a brochure to take with me, or at least get the right info to my team in the US working on it.  But looking at pictures makes me think too.  I think about these Children On Their Own, hoping that what we can give them leaves them feeling a bit less alone.

Later today we will take pictures of Gibi, Seema and me.  We really have become a strong team.  The addition of an Associate Director and now also a Chartered Accountant makes for a stronger base than we have had before.  This year our Audit is done and approved and we will be finishing our applications for Society renewal and Social Welfare renewal within this week.

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I only hope our girls can trust that they are not on their own now, but I can't know.  The younger one here still experiences me as the center of her universe.  The older one looks for security and approval.  I think one of the most important things we give them is eye contact, smiles, enjoyment of their accomplishments and defeats, a sense of specialness.  And they are right.  They have each other, another gift of Shishur Sevay.

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. click here
    Apr 27, 2011 @ 12:51:20

    They deserve some help and support.

    Like

    Reply

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