One moment our little girl’s face was full of curiosity and the next, immense pain, followed by tears.
There were more babies than arms to hold them, and a local volunteer explained why. She said that current law in Morocco forbids granting birth certificates to children born to single women. She said that this means the child will live without identification, making it impossible to get essential permits, registrations, services, licenses, and passports. Without identification, it’s like you don’t exist.
The mom has a terrible choice to make: bring the child back to the village to grow up without identification or leave the baby in the hospital in hopes it will be adopted and given identification. The children are orphans and wards of the king if or until a family is found to adopt them.
I glanced at Allison as the woman said that many mothers choose to leave their child at the hospital. Alli had been hanging on every word, and it suddenly hit her that this was her story. Tears burst from her eyes as she saw herself in the babies.
Allison’s mother left her in the maternity ward in Russia. She was placed in an orphanage like the children there in Marrakesh, and depended on the love of others to hold and care for her while she awaited adoption, should it come.
I remember stepping into the Russian orphanage for the first time and seeing a curious little head lean forward with a look that said “What took you so long?!” We adopted her before her first birthday, and today she is traveling the world living a dream most children will never experience. She has a family and extended family that loves her unconditionally, as well as a world of friends.
As I comforted Alli that day in Marrakesh, I wondered why I hadn’t foreseen the emotional impact it might have on her. Then I realized like never before that she is like flesh and blood to me, to us. I don’t think of her as adopted, I think of her as my daughter.
Later we talked about it, and she said her tears had also been for how thankful she felt over how her story has turned out.
Maybe a prayer like that was whispered for Alli by a volunteer or a caregiver in Russia before we found her – or should I say she found us. Thank God!
To learn about the orphanage, see pictures (since we weren’t allowed to take them for security reasons), and learn how you can help, go to http://www.enfance-espoir-maroc.org/.
Do you volunteer for an organization in your town? If so, which one and what do you do for them? Go to www.facebook.com/TheCourageVibe and post or just post a comment below. We love learning about organizations that are making a difference in the world, plus it gives others ideas on ways they can help also.