Originally posted 17 July 2006
I saw this piece in a missionary journal and I thought I might share it with you.
It's difficult to describe to people who do not understand what it's like to have nothing but hope that someone somewhere will provide a solution to a problem as like this Papa.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005 DAVAO CITY, PHILIPPINES
Both my schedule and that of my wife are hectic. They keep us separated doing different works of mercy, I with the churches and she with the many children. I recently took off a day just to be with her. Beauty for Ashes called and requested Betty Jo to come to the clinic. A man was coming to give us his child. We went together and found them waiting for us. The man was dressed in torn jeans and a dirty shirt. He was unshaven and his face had heavy lines that told of a hard life. My wife took him and our Social Worker into their office to listen to his request. I stayed outside with a darling dark eye little girl named Carla who was two years old. She looks well fed but very unkempt and in bad need of a good scrubbing. She soon was in my lap telling me about her father which she affectionately called “Papa”. Her love for him was so obvious. I carried little Carla into the office to see what progress my wife had made in encouraging the father to keep his little girl. He shared his experience of months sleeping under the bridges and the eves of homes. He had no job, no home, no money and his only trade was fixing umbrellas door to door. The mother had left them and he was all the guardian the little girl had ever known. He reaches into his pocket and pulled out a store bought peanut butter cracker and gave it to the child. With delight, Carla crawled into her father’s lap and turns to us with joyous eyes and said, “My Papa, my Papa”. We encouraged him to try to keep the child and we would let them stay at the clinic that night and talk about it in the morning. He finally arose from his chair, tears in his eyes and said with a breaking voice, “I pondered it for months. I have made a decision not to keep my child in this hard existence. Please take my child and raise her”. Little Carla began to cry, “Papa, Papa”. Betty Jo and I quickly left with her. As we walked to the car she kept looking for her father and crying, “Papa! Papa”! Her heart was breaking as she was being separated from the only security she had ever known. Upon arriving home, I rocked her for three hours. The whole time she quietly cried and said over and over “Papa, Papa”. Clinging to me out of desperations she finally went to sleep. We put her to bed right beside us so if she was awakened we could console her. She slept the night. It has been almost two weeks since that sad separation. During the day or even at night when she finds something new or given something to eat she goes to the window where she last saw her Papa and calls him wanting to share it with him. Each time I see her looking for her father I cry a little with her. I think of a lonely father with empty arms and aching heart. However I am glad I can comfort this little girl when I rock her at night and she looks up with those dark eyes as she tightly clings to my neck and softly says, “Papa, Papa”.