Skip to main content

A Ukrainian Orphan Who Deserved a Name (#7)

Ukrainian orphan 9bbf6c8b
We continue with the countdown of the top 10 World Race stories of the last 18 years. In this story coming in at #7, Rachel Hartman shares about an orphan she met long before the current war. A Ukrainian Orphan Who Deserved a Name (#7), April 2010 I walked into the room with a pounding hear…
By sethbarnes

Ukrainian orphan

We continue with the countdown of the top 10 World Race stories of the last 18 years. In this story coming in at #7, Rachel Hartman shares about an orphan she met long before the current war.

A Ukrainian Orphan Who Deserved a Name (#7), April 2010

I walked into the room with a pounding heart. Would I be able to connect to these special needs children?

One of the workers carried a young girl to me to hold. They told me she was about eleven years old, but she looked to me to be about five. Whatever the physical problem was, her body was stiff as a board.

When she smiled something lit up in my heart.

Her laugh was sweet and innocent. The only thing she had.

I sat and held her. Her body was stiff for some reason, I don’t know her condition. But I held her close.

I hugged and prayed for her. She held me tight and I fell in love with her.

After a while, I could hear her whisper and feel her breath on my neck. She was saying something over and over and over and over.

I didn’t understand, so I asked an interpreter to come over and translate her words.

She was saying, “You are my momma, don’t go anywhere. You are my momma. You are my momma.”

It BROKE my heart.

She had no mother. Her real mom couldn’t cope with her disability, so she gave her to an institution where the workers are overwhelmed and don’t have time for hugs. So she’d lived her life without hugs, without affection.

And when a stranger came in, after eleven years of isolation and gave her just a little attention, it was enough. If I hadn’t come to adopt her, she was going to adopt me.

What do you do when a child adopts you? How do you walk away from that? How do you cope?

Her words haunt me still. I wondered as I held her, Is it better that she feels this, that I hold her and memories come back of her having a mother and being held? Or would it be better she doesn’t feel this and forget? To not dredge up feelings and a sense of loss, missing something she doesn’t have.

“You are my momma. You are my momma.”

I put those thoughts aside, and decided to just hold her. She needed to be loved, to be shown she is special and wanted.

After a while I asked the nurse, “What is her name?”

The nurse’s reply stunned me: She doesn’t have one.

What? How can an 11 year-old girl not have a name? Everyone needs a name. To not give a child a name is obscene!

The nurse must have read my thoughts, adding, “It doesn’t matter; she doesn’t understand it anyway.”

It killed me. It was so wrong. This little girl not only had no momma, she didn’t even have a name!
I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to cry. I just wanted her to
feel love. The whole thing left me reeling and numb.

I will never understand so much about how God works. I can’t explain why things like this happen. But I do know this.

God loves that little girl and he used her powerfully in my life. He used her to show me his heart. I could feel his heart beating for her, beating in me, calling me to love her.

This girl pulled the love of God out of me.

Lord, thank you for that day with your daughter. Father I love you so much and I send my prayers, and thoughts to the little girl, that lays in the same bed day after day. I ask that you continue to give her joy and send more people there to hold her. Father I pray that touch is not a distant thing from her. That there are many more mother’s that come in to hold her and to show her how lovely she is. I know you have named her… I know her name is in the Lamb’s book and I thank you for that.

Jesus. Lay next to her in her bed, send angels to dance around her, Holy Spirit give her shows of fireworks and Your colorful personality. Lord, my good and gracious God, THANK YOU. I pray I see her again. In Your Name Jesus… I pray this for her…. AMEN.


Postscript: When racer alumnus Allina Robie went to work with Ukrainian orphans, she spent time looking for this little girl. She couldn’t find her. But she carries her memory as she cares for others like her. More about Allina’s ministry here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

about team