By Kelly Chadwick
“How are you?”
“I’m fine, thank you, how are you, Auntie?”
Hope* and I have this conversation multiple times each day because it’s about the only English she knows how to speak. One day I caught her crying in the stairwell and immediately asked what was wrong. With tears streaming down her face, she looked straight at me and responded, “I am fine, thank you, how are you?” Now every time I ask her, I follow up with an assortment of facial expressions for her to choose from to tell me how she’s really doing. She’s still usually fine.
But regardless of the tears, her story has Redemption written all over it. See, when she was rescued just a few short months ago, she was suffering from a fairly common “job hazard”–an unwanted pregnancy. She came here to the home a scared 18 year old who wanted nothing to do with her child. She didn’t want to look at this baby’s face and wonder who the father was. She didn’t want to be reminded of her suffering. She was just a child herself, forced to grow up much faster than she should and she had no idea what to do with a baby. But she was convinced to give birth and nurse the child for a few weeks before giving her up.
When we arrived here six weeks after Baby J* was born, Hope was already madly in love with her. It didn’t take us long either… I fell in love with her immediately, but I have to pry her away from Hope’s arms to spend a few minutes holding her. She can already hold her head up and ‘stand’ on her legs for hours it seems! She likes to be held in your left arm instead of the right and loves being rocked back and forth.
And she’s not the only child of redemption here.
Polly* is almost three and her squeals echo throughout the stairwell all the way to the roof. She loves being upside down and you better hold her tight because she’ll flip herself upside down in your arms if you’re not doing it for her. One look at her puppy dog eyes and you’ll know exactly why she’s spoiled rotten. She wears bells on her ankles so you can always hear her coming. She stands outside our door staring at us and waiting for us to invite her in. We know better than to make eye contact because we can’t resist her charms.
Macy* is almost a year and has more hair than I do. She has the chubbiest legs you’ve ever seen and was deathly afraid of us when we first got here. She’s warmed up now though and she crawls all over the place exploring and squealing at the top of her lungs. They must be disproportionally large because she makes more noise than the rickshaws just outside our windows. Her smile will melt your heart.
Lou* is a little younger than Macy and you’ve never seen a happier baby. His chubby cheeks give way to a heart stopping grin and he is quite the little charmer. He is NEVER still and instead bounces everywhere he goes. He can’t quite stand on his own which means you get to bounce with him for hours on end. But one look at his face and you never want to stop.
These children weren’t planned. They weren’t really wanted. They probably came close to being aborted. But the God of Redemption chose them. He planned them. He created them in His image and they have brought complete joy to their mothers and this house. And we pray over them daily that they would never be forced into the lives of people before them. In the middle of painful suffering, of shame and fear, the Lord spoke LOVE and JOY through these precious children. And every time we see their faces or hear their giggles, we are certain that He has redeemed the lives of their mothers. He is redeeming the streets of Bangalore.
*Not their real names.
Kelly is a missionary who is traveling on a year-long adventure around the world.