This I Believe

Debbie - New Knoxville, Ohio
Entered on June 6, 2007


A little boy living a continent away solidified my belief in the sanctity of life. His name is Emmanuel. He is living in a foster home for orphaned children in Monrovia, Liberia. He is probably sitting in a baby carrier seat sleeping. Maybe he is in his crib … sleeping. Since he can’t hold his own bottle, perhaps someone is feeding him. That’s it — sometimes inside, sometimes outside. Doesn’t sound like too abnormal of an existence for a baby. However, Emmanuel is somewhere around 2 ½ to 3 years old (judging by his teeth). According to the director of the foster home, he has cerebral palsy. They think he might be able to hear, but his eyes are crossed.

My husband and I have accepted a referral to adopt two boys from this same foster home. In the process of waiting for a referral a mention of Emmanuel came through the e-mail with the comment that the agency did not really expect to find a family for him, but would care for him as long as they could. I felt bad on hearing about this child, but my 10 year old son was moved. He prayed daily for Emmanuel and asked us to adopt him. By this time, we had received our referral for two boys and were preparing ourselves for parenting six children.

We talked about Emmanuel occasionally, but were not really too concerned. Then, the DVD arrived. It was a DVD of the foster home showing us where our boys would be living until their paperwork was processed. As the camera traveled around the house, there sat Emmanuel sleeping in his baby carrier. He really didn’t look anymore than an infant, although you could see that his body wasn’t quite right. My 10 year old immediately started his pleas for this child and my heart broke.

How is it possible to judge the worth of someone’s life? Are some lives worth more than others? How could a life lived in a baby carrier have meaning, purpose … sanctity? Emmanuel changed my heart. I was humbled at my pride and selfishness. How could I question whether Emmanuel would fit in our family? Shouldn’t the question be can we serve Emmanuel?

Maybe the worth of people like Emmanuel is to show us how to be compassionate, and to teach us to pray and trust God. Is it right to take a baby like Emmanuel into such a large family? What about the other six children and their needs? Would they learn compassion for the disabled, or develop bitterness? Would Emmanuel turn into a huge testimony for the power of God and the value of all life?

Emmanuel humbled my pride, caused me to pray and troubled my heart. Who knows in how many ways he is touching the lives of the people who have the privilege of caring for him. Thank you Emmanuel; I believe in the sanctity of life.