I go in excited to hold and cuddle the little sweetheart that has stolen my heart. The first time I took real notice of Marianna was when my daughter accompanied me to Ayudame Orphanage last summer to hold and feed babies. I watched them respond to one another. My daughter couldn't stop talking about Marianna and each trip we made to the orphanage together my daughter found this little girl and snuggled her close, whispering in her ear and smiling with her. I began to pay a bit more attention to this baby each time I visited. Her creamy brown skin, sparkling brown eyes and shaved black hair didn't stand out from the others in any spectacular fashion. But her fat cheeks, the two little teeth that had popped through, and the two little fists that liked to tangle themselves in my hair tangled around my heart as well. I love all the little kids but our hearts had adopted this particular baby.
Today she was not there. I enquired and was told she had returned to her family. I felt a mixture of emotions stir around inside of me. Joy that she is loved and wanted by her family. Sadness for myself that I don't get to cuddle her and whisper prayers in her ear anymore. Fear for her safety and well being - kids are in and out of the orphanages all the time as the parents try to rise above their own disfunctionalities. Disappointment that she didn't go to an adoptive family who would be able to give her every opportunity in this life.
I didn't hold Marianna today, but I did hold a fussy little baby boy. Fighting a cold he would cry then relax and cry again. I cradled his downy head and put my cheek on his tear streaked face. I whispered a prayer to God for each of the little babies that we fed and carried and played with today.
I am finding my heart has stretch marks from the love I feel for these innocent babies who have had life throw so much at them at such a young age. Marianna, I will not forget you, you are forever burned into my life.