I do believe it was the second day. It is hard to remember already. I should have written it down sooner. But that time was so raw and the words were not ready.
Jamesy was sleeping at that moment. I stared at his beautiful face and snapped photos, but it was hard to do much more than that with twenty other beautiful brown babies crawling all over me. It seemed as if all of the other babies were either sleeping or happily playing on the floor - except one. This particular little guy was kind of propped into a bumbo seat.
I asked a nanny his name. Tinsae. (Tin-say)
I called to him, and watched as those beautiful eyes landed on mine, and then to my delight he gave me a smile so huge I thought it might stretch right off of his little cheeks. I asked to hold him and was quickly given permission. I was startled to find how stiff and thin he felt, but he immediately melted into my arms. I knew immediately that he had some physical difficulties, but his smile betrayed that knowing. I spent the entire time that Jamesy slept with Tinsae, and I learned where to tickle him under his chin. He would grin and open his mouth wide, as if to belly laugh, but no sound came out. It is as though the sound would have been too big for his little body.
I remember kissing his cheeks over and over and watching him grin and grin and grin. I left the transition home feeling so blessed to have interacted with that sweet boy. He eased the sting of Jamesy's reluctance to us. Everyday of that trip I spent a bit of time with that sweet boy, and immediately began praying for his adoptive family.
Soon I learned that he did have one.
And I learned that Tinsae also had HIV.
When I read his mommy's email to me, my stomach flip-flopped for a moment, but then I remembered all that I had been learning about children with HIV and the amazing life that Tinsae could have despite the diagnosis. Ethiopia is rampant with these children. These children are passed over time and time again.
These children are passed over time and time again by believers - people who claim the name of Jesus and are supposed to be his hands and feet.
I passed these children over. There were children with HIV on the waiting child list, and I said no way. I used lame excuses that do not hold up to the truth.
I acted as though God was not big enough for HIV.
I was ignorant, foolish, and scared.
But then I met Tinsae, and I did not see HIV. Instead the only thing I saw was the face of a child. A child just like my child. A child hungry for love and needing a family.
And he has one today.
But there are so many others who lay their head down tonight and don't. They lay their head down as a statistic, but if you really look - it's not HIV that you will see. It's the face of a child created in the image of God.
And the only thing scary about it - is my response.