Sometimes comfort comes in unexpected ways.
For the past few days our boys have participated in a Sports Camp at City of Refuge. CORM is hosting a missions team from America who have come to lead the camp. Our oldest four boys have enjoyed their days. I have loved seeing them arrive and immediately engage. Mason, Franklin, and Weston quickly begin kicking the ball on a makeshift field while Braden walks the perimeter whispering to Miracle about secret plans for the club they have created. (They even have a secret handshake.) All of the older boys are enjoying their days here making new friends and doing new things.
However, Godwin is not. He does not want to be here, and he has said so. He spent all day yesterday crying. I stayed with him thinking that would provide comfort, but his tears still flowed. Yesterday he cried. He cried. He wailed. He cried. Cheeks with paths made of tears peeked out from under his hat all day. Because I strongly felt this was something he needed to overcome, I sat with him through nearly every session. The only time I left him was during the indoor Bible lesson. During this time, Godwin sat on Mason’s lap, too afraid to be without someone from our family.
Today I realize my strategy was unsuccessful. Godwin did not “overcome.”
Tears have flowed this morning since our arrival. I stayed with him for the first hour, but then left the field - honestly, because I was running out of compassion and patience for his tears. Was he trying to manipulate me? It felt like it.
As I finally walked off the field, a little boy named Gabriel was close beside him. Gabriel was recently rescued from a life of slavery on a fishing boat. As soon as he saw Godwin crying, Gabriel put his arm around him and held his hand. I looked down and saw Gabriel’s scarred hands and legs touching my son. It deeply stirred me.
Questions started running through my mind. How do these children comfort themselves when they have no parents? How often must they comfort each other? How often must they comfort themselves? The fact that this little boy, who currently speaks no English and has been a freed slave for less than a week, understands that the simple act of putting his arm around Godwin would provide comfort was touching. I can learn a lot from Gabriel’s compassion.
Dora, an older girl at came, just walked up here and told me Godwin is no longer crying. I am praising God. Figuring out what is preschool fear, adoption trauma, 4 year old strong-willedness, or Mommy manipulation is a task that brings me stress. Guilt tries to plague me with any decision.
So, while I am trying to complete some work on the computer away from the Camp, I am thankful that Gabriel stays close to Godwin. I hope Godwin’s confidence will grow as he continues to participate. The squeals of delight carried by the wind tell me the children are having fun. I hope Godwin is making one of the squeals I hear. If so, I am sure I have Gabriel to thank for it.
Actually, this was Godwin's face at lunchtime.
I praise God that the God of all comfort, comforted him through Gabriel today!