The tears pressed against my eyeballs. I fought them, but they won, as usual. They overflowed and slid down my cheeks. These were just the latest in a river of tears I had cried.
How can you make the decision to give up on a child? Not without heartbreak.
Molly was a heart-breaker from the first. She was angry, defiant, and determined she would not come to live with
Looking back, I wonder why on earth we were so determined that she should. We knew from our experience with her in the old children’s home, now closed down, that she wasn’t going to be easy. But we had no idea what difficulties that lay ahead.
Raising her fell to me, as Paul had his hands full with the mission field here in Thailand. She filled my hands and my days. And took every scrap of patience I had. She roused in me a temper that I didn’t know I possessed. And I loved her. Where did that love come from? It had to be from the Lord.
I understood her. She had been abandoned several times in her eleven years.
For many of those years she was in a children’s home where her basic needs, even of food and clothing, were not met. She had to fight for everything she had – and she was a scrapper. It took forever for her to learn that she didn’t have to fight me.
One day she walked up to the table at the food court where the boys were enjoying sodas with their meal. Did she say, “May I have one, too?” Nope. She said, in that high angry tone we knew so well, “You didn’t buy one for me! I want one.” She could turn anything into a battle.
“Why, Lord?” I asked more than once. “Of all the needy children in Thailand, did I get this one?”
One who was never thankful, always demanding more. One who fought me every step of the way.
Over the course of the years she lived with us, she learned that she had to obey me and show me respect – something vital in the culture where she must live. But as she became a teenager, we faced problems on a deeper level. Things like sneaking out at night, being deceitful, lying…. We saw her influence over the others grow, so that they were often in trouble, too.
She made poor Kimmy’s life miserable. I’m sure that if someone had waved a plane ticket before her face, she would have been headed back to America in a flash. That was another factor in the decision. We couldn’t keep a child who discouraged our volunteers who make schooling the kids possible.
So the hard decision came to rest on me. Do I throw away three years of my life that I spent trying to help this
child? Do I let her go back to the village to a life of poverty and hopelessness? But can I let one child turn all the others away from God and from the values we are trying to teach them? Should we let one child disrupt our whole home?
In the end I made the hardest of decisions. I would have to let her go.
We talked to her uncle, who is responsible for her. He understood, but sadly said that at her age, our home was the only chance she had to catch up and continue her education. She’s bright, but impossibly behind in school, as are the majority of hill tribes kids. We asked him to make other arrangements for her after the school year ends next March.
I could hardly look at her without bursting into tears. But in another way I looked at March as a release. The end of the battle. I had lost, but at least it would be over.
She knew we had made that decision and was positively angelic – no doubt hoping we would change our minds. But over and over situations would crop up that revealed that she wasn’t changed, but only cleaned up on the surface. Each one confirmed we made the right decision. She would have to go.
We talked to her often of the Lord and her need for salvation. We prayed for fervently.
On the night we took our family and friends to the airport at the end of the dental mission weeks, Kimmy called me. She had the best of news for us.
She had talked to Molly about the Gospel many times before. Molly had seemed concerned and knew she wasn’t a Christian, but always said, as she always did to me, “I’m not ready.”
This time she told Kimmy she was ready. Kimmy prayed for her, but Molly asked her to step out of the room so she could talk to God by herself. She did – and Molly came out of the room a changed girl.
“I asked God to forgive me and to be my boss,” she said.
Of course, we were hesitant. She knew she was on her way out. Would she fake a “decision” so she could stay? But before long we were reassured. She was sure the Lord had saved her, and immediately concerned that her friends might be saved, too. She was eager to be baptized.
What a day of rejoicing that was! A changed heart, a changed life, a new creature. What greater miracle could we ask to see?
She’s still a teenager. That means hormonal, full of drama, and sometimes quick tempered. She still has a strong, dominant personality that is tenacious and slow to give up on any plan. We aren’t expecting perfection. But we see a change — a difference in her eyes, in her reactions, in the things she finds important.
I’m thankful for Kimmy’s help as she faithfully reached out to this child who was making her life miserable.
And thankful to God for saving her.
We are looking forward to seeing what the Lord has ahead for this hard-won girl. Please pray for her with us, that God would raise her up to be a godly woman, greatly to be used by Him.
Was it worth all the angst, headaches, and drama? Yes! What is three years of my life compared to eternity for a soul?
I’m crying again as I write this – but this time with joyful tears. God is good!