They call her “little white one” and the name suits. She’s a pretty little thing and can flit about like a little pixie at times, her snowy white head bobbing here and there, her cold wet bottom peeping out of quilted pink split-pants.
She’s a little singing fairy at times, but usually… she’s crying.
When we first started working with this particular CWI, “Little White One” was a seemingly normal, happy child, but by our second visit two weeks later she was already looking more like an orphan.
What does an orphan look like? For one, they have nearly no concept of being treasured. They seek affirmation, affection and love from anyone who looks available and then as time goes by and they realize that nobody has time for just them they either shut down or go crazy. Sometimes they do both. Eventually, maybe, they develop a new normal and learn how to cope with not enough. Some of them just wither up, others become favorites and get “spoiled” which is (almost) the exact same as being “loved” in a family. And some little ones, like Little White One, hang desperately onto their innate need to be loved and fight for it, savoring each miniscule victory.
Someone held her today. Keep fighting.
No on wants to pick her up. Cry.
She was spoken to gently. Fight harder.
They snapped at her. Get in the way again.
Someone handed her a toy. Fight. Fight. Fight.
The other kids bullied her. Run to nanny even if she can’t do anything about it.
Someone put her on their lap and kept her there. Keep fighting.
It’s a battle, and one that each of us working on the ground in orphanages need to be aware of, and actively engage in.
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” ― Mother Teresa