The orphanage was quiet. All the babies and toddlers were napping. The older children were doing their studies. Down the hall came the distinct sound of skipping. The children were supposed to be in class. Everyone knew who would not be in class….Carlota!
The rebellious eight year old was a pretty girl, with long, dark curls. They delicately framed a cute pouty-round face. But Carlota had a problem, a big problem. She had an attitude like a boss! She thought she ran everyone and everything around her! She skipped out of class, literally, at least twice a week. She never did her homework and she bragged…a lot! This made her not so popular. But that was okay with her, was used to not having anyone in her corner.
Abandoned by her mother at the age of five, she remembers it like it was yesterday. One day she and her mother were taking a long walk through the Russian village they lived in. The next moment she was at the orphanage. The walls, made of stone, were cold as a Siberian night. But the people seemed warm. There was something different about them. The orphanage, in the town of Tatarsk was poor but rich in spirit. She thought her mother and she were there to visit someone. But after talking to the nice lady in the blue dress, Stanislava, her mother turned and walked out the door, without so much as a goodbye.
Carlota tried to run after her, but the counselors had a gentle, but firm, hold of her. She cried and screamed and cried until she could cry no more. The counselors gave her a moment then took her to the nursery. There was a little bed in the corner, by the window. “This is your bed,” the counselor quietly said. Carlota looked hopelessly at the drab color of the blankets, fell belly down into it and buried her tear-stained face into a smelly worn pillow. Then the lady in the blue dress came in.
She picked her up and spoke kindly to her as Carlota quietly sobbed. “Carlota, you are a precious, precious child. You may not know us here, but you will. You will see that this is a happy place and that we love you. Please do not be afraid.” She softly put her fingers under Carlota’s little chin, and tilted it up so she could look her directly in the eyes. The lady’s sparkly hazel eyes gently looked down at Carlota, “Chin up darling, everything will be alright. I promise! Do you want to see the playground?” Carlota nodded yes.
Carlota learned a lesson the day her mother left her; trust no one. Although she did not understand her feelings , experience had taught her well. Carlota adjusted. She made friends with the other kids, but she never got close to anyone.
The kids came and went. The young ones usually got adopted first. Twice a month Carlota with the other children lined up in their “best” clothes and stood side by side as potential parents walked by. They never picked her, but she did not care. She did everything she could, NOT to be adopted. No one wants a problem child…and a problem child she was! She never wanted to speak the word “mommy” again…or did she?
Robert Marland, and his wife Marsha, were a kindly older couple. They were Americans who had children who were all grown and gone. One was in college and the other married with two children. They lived in a beautiful home near the ocean in Newport R.I. Owners of a small store, they retired in their 40’s. They were in their fifties now. Life was good, but something was missing.
One day, as they were praying, Marsha felt as if God was calling them to adopt a child. Marsha shared this revelation with her husband. He looked away for a moment. He had to think about it. After what seemed like forever, he replied, “Why not! Now Marsha knew the idea HAD to be from God for Bob to say it was ok (without being sweet talked!)
Several weeks later, as they watched TV before bed, a commercial came on showing children in an orphanage in Russia. They were so poor. The children were even going without food sometimes.
“That’s it!” said Bob. “We are going to Russia to get our child!” Within a week Marsha found herself on a plane going half-way around the world to get her baby. She pondered, a girl or a boy? Marsha thought she would adopt a young child, one without too many “issues.” But as they pulled up to the run-down stone building, in Tatarsk, God was putting a thought on Marsha and Bob’s ’s hearts, “serve Me in this.” They knew that whomever they chose, it would have to be God’s choice, not theirs.
The children all lined up as usual. They were all underweight, in their red and white uniforms hand stitched together in love. Anyone could see they were poor, but well cared for. One by one the Marland’s prayerfully looked them over. Carlota looked down at the floor when they got to her. Stanislava was with them. Afterwards, as they walked down the hall to her office they talked about a few of the children. The Marland’s told Stanislava that they would call her in the morning with their decision. They wanted to seek the Lord about it before they made their choice.
Morning came, the bell for school rang and all the kids went to class. Carlota was supposed to be doing her math, but she was busy drawing cute forest creatures on the back of her page. Suddenly Stanislava appeared. “Carlota , come with me please.” Carlota slowly put her things away, thinking she was in trouble. How she hated disappointing Stanislava. She secretly loved her so. But she was ready for whatever discipline was coming.
Carlota followed Stanislava into her office and sank into one of the big chairs. Stanislava had a big smile on her face. “Carlota, you are going to have new parents. Mr. and Mrs. Marland have petitioned to adopt you. You are going to America, to live in a big house by the ocean. Carlota was overwhelmed! “Me?” She thought. “They chose me?” “Miss Stanislava,” she said, “Why did those nice people choose me?”
“Always remember Carlota, Love chooses us because that’s what Love does. It is not what we do, it’s just Who Love is. God is Love.” “I will always remember,” Carlota said with tears of gratefulness in her eyes,” I will.” ~
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6