An Update from the President
Wonderful news! Sweetie has been picked up by her nation’s version of Child Protective Services and transferred from the madam’s house to a government home! I do not want to go into too many details right now for security reasons. I’ve been at this long enough to know that even while rejoicing in the baby steps forward, I have to brace myself (and you) for possible steps backwards.
When I visited Sweetie this past February, she had been moved to the madam’s home. No longer tied to a pole, she was being used as a playmate for the madam’s granddaughter and spent her days “entertaining” a two-year-old. She recognized me and seemed happy. She was definitely safer there than in the red light district—but she was still being held by her traffickers to eventually be put up for sale to the highest bidder.
Now it appears she is no longer in their care. Still, there are so many uncertainties and questions. Will the corrupt government official who signed her birth certificate as guardian—and who is her trafficker—go to claim her with legal documents? In Sweetie’s case, it is the “madam” they are placing a case against; her guardian could still go claim her. Will her biological mother, also a slave and sometimes on the run, go and claim her and disappear?
More questions: What is the condition of the home she’s in? Will her new caretakers work with us? The home is for children up to six years old, and she is five—so will they move her again, and will they inform us? How quickly can we form a relationship? Her new location is far from our partners. Do we form a liaison with others or take on the cost of sending our partners to visit her on a regular basis?
Since she has been moved, none of us have actually seen her face to face—so with my decades of experience, I am holding my breath and crawling forward on my knees in prayer. My heart desires to cancel my speaking engagement at the Department of Transportation, my trip to North Africa, and my full fall speaking itinerary (which includes the Pentagon) and get on a plane to go figure this out on my own. My high sense of urgency and my mommy heart clamor to claw my way to her side and eyeball the people “caring for” this little one who has claimed my heart and the hearts of the Women At Risk, International family. Instead, I rely on my good and precious Indian partners, the Father to the Fatherless, and YOU! Pray! Don’t stop. Smile through your tears of joy and beg God to hang on to this tiny life that we have claimed as our own!
We will start collecting funds, but honestly, I do not yet know what all the costs will be. I do hope this change means we can have a larger role in Sweetie’s life. I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, until there is no breath left in my body, I will continue to pursue this tiny child’s freedom. The WAR, Int’l family covets your continued prayers for this precious little girl.