Elizabeth is nine years old. Her hair is just past her shoulders and is as dark as Snow White’s. She has eyes like mocha. When she smiles her eyes can’t help but mostly close. Next to my friend’s five year old, she’s about the same height.
This child is absolutely darling.
The first time I met Elizabeth she wanted to see pictures of my entire family. Fortunately I had photos on me, and I sat with her for a few minutes introducing different members of my family. She asked questions about them, and I answered. It was sweet bonding time.
The next time I went to her house, we played outside together with her “sisters”, Marioné and Mili. We played hide-and-go-seek in the small park inside the community where they live. When it was each girl’s turn to count they wanted to practice counting in English. (Marioné and Mili are only five so listening to them count in English is only the cutest thing ever!)
Last time I hung out with Elizabeth we danced in her kitchen. Their small television was playing music, mostly songs from Lion King. We had so much fun spinning around. Of course, Marioné and Mili got involved in the fun, as well as my friend’s five year old. I spun them around in different ways on the kitchen dance floor for over an hour.
The kids are all divided by gender and age and placed into various small homes within the community of Nueva Esperanza. Elizabeth is one of the oldest girls in her home and because of this she is responsible for some cooking, cleaning and helping out with her younger sisters. The day we danced together, she also showed me how to stir the soup they were cooking for lunch. She gave me a tour of her bedroom too and was pleased to show me that she has her own bed. Unlike the rest of the girls, she doesn’t have to sleep in a bunk bed. Her headboard had a little shelf where she kept a couple books as well as some other knick knacks that are close to her heart.
Tonight we had a lovely time together as well. We sat next to each other during music and devotionals. Afterward we talked about how school is going for her… how her English studies are coming along. Whenever we talk, she’s always sweet to correct me if I say something incorrectly in Spanish.
Since last night she’s been congested and coughing. Tonight I asked her if her house mother had given her any medicine yet. We started talking about her sickness, and that’s when I decided to act like I felt really bad for her.
I picked her up and cradled her in my arms like a baby, using over exaggerated words explaining to her how sad her sickness was to me. Just to be goofy and make her laugh, I walked her around to some other people and told them she had a sickness, and I asked them if they felt bad for her.
She was getting quite a laugh out of this so I decided to start carrying her around to other people introducing her as my baby. I would say she is one years old and very small. I would say she is a silly baby, and some of the people played along asking me questions about “my baby”. I would make up answers, and Elizabeth would crack up. Finally, I walked her to her house and said my goodbyes for the evening.
I think I’m starting to get attached to this child. I wish I could bring her into my home and into my heart and be her mommy. Oh, how I would love to tuck her in every night and read her stories. How I would love to make her an apron with her name on it and cook breakfast with her in the morning. How I would love to dance with her in the living room after school and look into her beautiful brown eyes all afternoon long while we talk about the things in her life. How I would love to let her pursue her heart’s desires, whether they be drawing or playing sports or cooking or singing or all of the above. How I would love to be the mommy she never really had.
It’s nice to dream, and then I come back to reality and remind myself that these children are owned by Peru’s government, and nothing about that is going to change. So! Instead I look forward to every moment I have with her at the home. I look forward to creating memories with her that will shape her childhood. I look forward to speaking truth into her life about who she is now and who I believe she will become one day when she’s older. I look forward to showing her what love is because she deserves it.
They all deserve it. Elizabeth, Madianet, Mili… These kids are worth every moment of our time.