'There are stories of happiness as well as sadness from The Salomon Klein Orphanage. This brief story is from Melinda Elliott, on of the board members that just returned from the orphanage in January with her husband, Richard Elliott. Its a sad story of a child not on this earth very long, but touched the hearts of everyone that saw her. All stories need to be told so you can truly see how your impact can help these children now....and in the future.
Sweet Angel from Cochabamba, Bolivia
I am sure this will be a long read, but please take the time to read the entire story. Each trip to Bolivia is a life-changing event and if I can share just a piece of what God has put on my heart with you, I am blessed beyond belief. We arrived in Cochabamba Saturday morning and were met at the airport by our dearest friend Kelly Barton. We decided to stop by Salomon Klein Orphanage to see Momma Emma and let her know we arrived safely and of course to see the kids. As we walked up to the locked gate of the orphanage you could hear singing and laughter from inside. The kids were celebrating Three Kings Day – they were singing and opening presents and volunteers were sharing their love and joy with the kids. After watching them for a few minutes, I of course, headed to the baby room. The precious babies that are abandoned and clueless as to what their life holds for them always draw me near. The first baby I see is the tiniest little baby girl with the face of an Angel (which of course happened to be her name) and a full head of black hair. She was absolutely beautiful. I walked over to her crib and was greeted with one of the staff. I was told Angels story (through Kelly’s translation). Angel was born with no ears. She had what looked like ears but they were closed. She did not have the workings of ears, so of course she could not hear. Her eyes were clouded over, leaving the staff to believe she was also blind and wondering what other birth defects she had. I touched her face and rubbed her chest and looked at Richard and said “I want to take her home!” (which of course I knew could never happen). It was explained to us that birth defects of this kind are often the result of the mom intentionally trying to abort the baby early in the pregnancy. The mom will take drugs and natural herbs and teas in an effort to abort the unwanted baby. When the homemade abortion is unsuccessful it often leads to these types of birth defects. All I wanted to do was hold her and love her and get her picture to forever keep with me. I think the workers could see the sadness and tears in my eyes as I was quickly handed Jose Louis, who by the way is the happiest baby I have ever seen. He smiled at me and washed away my tears. As we left, I stopped at Angels crib to say goodbye, I rubbed her tummy and told her I would see her Monday and I would hold her and love her then. Monday didn’t happen as illness set in at the orphanage and for both Richard and I. We were down for days and upon our eventual return to Salomon KIein I was greeted with an empty crib where precious Angel laid days before. I immediately asked where she was and was told she was in the hospital. My eyes filled with tears and I took a picture of her empty crib and name card to remind me of this sweet Angel until I could see her again. We danced with the older kids, fed the babies and played with the babies but my heart ached for Angel. When our time was up and it was time to leave Angel was still in the hospital. I told myself it would be ok and I would see her and hold her in July when I returned to the orphanage because truth be told no one in Bolivia would adopt her with her birth defects, so she would still be there we when returned. I left the orphanage for the last time this trip with Angel in my heart and on my mind. As I tried to process the trip in my head for days upon return and even a week later, I struggled with putting my thoughts into writing. Plagued with illness upon return, I put my summary on hold until now. See last night Richard received word from our friend, Julia, who volunteers at the orphanage that precious Angel had passed away. I was devastated, I cried and I told Richard that now I could write my summary. The realization set in that I will never see Angel’s face again. I will never get to hold her and I will never have a physical picture of her to keep forever. Her short life and tiny beautiful face will forever leave its mark on my heart and I pray I never forget that beautiful face. Rest in peace my sweet Angel. You are now with God where you will forever have peace.