they look cute, but be careful - they can bite
I'm learning a lot regarding what life is like on a daily basis for the kids and workers in the children's homes Back2Back serves. After being a full time care giver to 14 for the past month, God has given me a whole new perspective lens into the daily reality of what it's like to care for so many orphans with so many needs. It didn't take long for my perspective to change.... it only took about 36 hours of walking in their shoes for me to freak out a bit, take a step back and say, "I had NO IDEA how hard this was going to be."
When you care for 14 abandoned and often times special needs orphans 24 hours a day - you don't always have time to go to the bathroom, or eat, read a book, or do anything for yourself. These workers get up at 5 or 6 am everyday to start getting the children ready for breakfast and for school. They care for children NON-stop till usually 10 or 10:30 pm. Once the kids are in bed, you race to eat something, shower and go to bed yourself so that you can get up the next morning and start all over again. And throughout this 16 hour work day, kids call you bad names and take out their frustration on you. They almost never say thank you. Many hate living in these children's homes and they tell you it non-stop.
This past week, one of my 14 had an ear infection and was up from 2:30 am till 6 am screaming my name, waking up the other children, and yelling, "CAROLIIIIIINNNEEEE!!!! My ear hurts!!!!" He must have yelled that 300 times. I sat with him for about 3 hours. I rubbed his back. I begged him to go back to sleep. He kept yelling about why he wanted to watch TV at 4 am. I gave him children's tylenol and gave him more medicine for his ears. By the time he finally fell back asleep, it was literally 5 minutes till when I was supposed to get up myself and wake up the other children to get ready for school. So I never went back to bed. The following day was rather long as I'm sure you can imagine. But the needs for these children never stops. You can't say, "time out." These workers do not have the ability to say, "I need a nap" or "I need a personal day."
When a child has not had a bath in 2 days because a worker has had a fever or just can't handle it anymore - now I think I understand a little better why this would happen. My heart absolutely goes out to these workers. I've only been one of them for 1 month. I cannot imagine doing this job because my husband died and now I don't know what else to do or because a children's home is a safe refuge from an abusive boyfriend. I'm not really sure what kind of "refuge" you'd find as you take care of 14 plus special needs kids.
Pray for these workers. This job is without a doubt the most difficult thing I've ever done in my entire life. They are my heros. They do this everyday. They take care of God's children. They take care of them when they are sick, when they can't read, when they do bad things to get your attention, when they cry because they miss their mommy.
The mom of one of my 4 year old boys came to visit last Sunday. I had to hold him as he screamed for his mom as she walked away and left the children's home. In his screaming, he peed all over my clothing. Our world is very messed up when a 4 year old has to scream for his mom and watch her as chooses to leave him and walks away, never looking back. Afterwards, of course he was angry and threw a fit all day. Add dealing with that aftermath to list of responsibilities for the world's most tired workers.
Perspective. Mine is changing.
If I want better for these kids, I'm going to have to help. This is exactly what I've been doing- I moved in. But my oh my, I never imagined how difficult it would be. To give you a little more perspective: I traded places with an intern last week so she could come to douglas and be with my boys. I worked for her, she worked for me. I spent the entire day moving bricks from downstairs to upstairs in the rain and it felt like a vacation compared to a full day with my 14 boys who I love with all my heart.
I'm still processing all of this - how I can better serve these children, the workers, the children's homes... would you pray for me throughout this process?