Crying for Mercy
A Factual Story
by Sally Nelson
Completed on May 5,08
I thought I had come to terms with the pain, hurt, and anger. Tonight I found that it still rages deep in my soul. It continues to burn with a passion I had thought had disappeared. I now know that it will never leave.
I cried, no sobbed, last night. I sobbed for Mercy. The full realization of the love stolen from her hit me like a blow to my gut. While I held my adopted sister Josie, I realized Mercy’s loss. They took from her the thing all humans crave, want, and need. They took love.
It is hard for me to not rage at God, man, and anything I can pour my anger upon. I want to scream. I can not describe how I feel when I imagine Mercy lying awake at night with fifteen other orphans, around so many people, yet so alone. Tears rush to eyes. My throat dries up and my head aches. I feel fury, hurt, sadness, and grief all at once.
I had so many dreams. I had planned to teach Mercy to play paintball and to ride horses. I anticipated playing dress up and helping her learn her first words. I wanted to instill my love of the written word in her heart. I dreamt of crying at her wedding and rejoicing over her first child. I imagined being her sister and friend. I will never forget how one woman’s cruelty destroyed those dreams.
My family and I originally went to Kenya two years ago. Our pastor told us about an orphanage, Imani Children’s Home, where he volunteered. God gave us a desire to serve and we responded to that call by going to Kenya. For three months, my sister, my two brothers, my parents, and I cared for and loved orphans in the “home”. We laughed at the rotten things they did and acted like enthusiastic new parents, comparing the children’s development and fighting over who was the most precocious. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m ., we cuddled with, bathed, fed, and nurtured the orphans. My twelve-year-old sister and I cared for around eighteen toddlers, usually without assistance. At only thirteen, I learned how to handle two kids on each hip and with one hanging on my legs. I learned how to oversee the feeding of eighteen toddlers at once and managed to love each one more than I ever imagined possible. Everyday, the little children greeted Heidi and me with smiles, kisses, and screams of “Auntie Lally!” and “Auntie Idie!”. Everyday, our hearts broke a little bit more for the children, stuck in the quagmire of orphanhood and extreme poverty. For most of them, life meant pain. Life should never be like that for children.
As weeks passed, my dad began to truly love a little girl with the most hair we had ever seen on an infant. She had dark skin, shining black eyes, and a two-inch “Afro”. Among all of the children, she drew the least attention to herself. At seven months old, she rarely cried and just watched as my dad changed babies diapers and fed them their food. When my mom met her, she melted over Mercy. Our parents introduced her to us and we all fell for her.
Adopting in Kenya was no easy process. We researched it before we returned to America and found out that it took a minimum of six months in country. Shocked and slightly dismayed, our family talked for hours and unanimously decided that Mercy was worth it. Once back in Indiana, we waited until we were approved to go. It took nine months of waiting and praying.
Upon our approval, we packed to go. On Christmas Eve, we boarded our flight to Kenya, anticipation growing in our hearts. We could not wait to get Mercy. Once we arrived, we went to visit her. Crying and laughing, my family held her and told her that we loved her. Sadly, we didn’t know that we would never see her again.
My mom began working on Mercy’s paperwork. Anticipating an easy time, my mom did not get nervous when we found out that Mercy was in the custody of Irene, the head of an adoption organization. Unfortunately, we had no way of knowing the true nature of the woman and her organization.
For our family to adopt Mercy, Irene had to relinquish her rights as Mercy’s guardian. She refused. She had no real reason to refuse us, except for her hatred towards our adoption agency. We begged her. We pleaded with her. We tried everything. None of our efforts could change Irene’s hard heart. Trying every option, my family realized that she had “goods” on many important officials and even the head of the orphanage. Irene had even created a fictitious family to adopt Mercy and many of the officials used that as their excuse. No one would help us as they knew that Irene’s retribution could destroy them.
The day after my sister’s birthday, my mom received a horrible phone call. The caller told us that Irene had sent one of her “social workers” to take Mercy from the orphanage. Racing as fast as we could, our family reached the orphanage a few minutes too late. The “social worker” had kidnapped Mercy.
Devastated, we drove home.
Later, we found out that the director of the orphanage had found Mercy but had sent her to the Kenyan coast. Now, she has absolutely no hope of freedom from the chains of poverty and orphanhood. She will never have a mother and father or sisters and brothers. She has nearly nothing and one person took all of that away from Mercy.
After almost eleven months, our family returned with a new sister and daughter. Josephine Wakanyi Nelson fills our home with laughter and vibrancy. Our entire family loves her and would never give her up but we still cry. We all still cry. We cry for Mercy, the daughter and sister we lost.