The first time I saw my sister she was eleven, and had the eyes of an eighty or ninety year old. Eyes that had seen far too much, more than I could ever imagine. She came off the plane after nearly two years of Mom fighting to adopt her, and she still found it hard to believe that anyone wanted her. She looked down, refusing to look at anyone in the eyes, she wore the typical garb of a Muslim child, and I knew little of her family other than that they had been killed in a fire fight, when their home was hit. I had a feeling, there was much more that we did not know, but I could not say anything. The little girl, my sister was terrified, if I even looked at her she trembled in fear.
Lord what has she seen?
I could not even begin to fathom what she had seen, I was a seventeen almost eighteen year old American Christian girl, and this was an eleven year old Middle Eastern Child who somehow seemed decades older than I did, and yet in some ways she seemed as fragile as an infant. This was the sister God had given me the sister I had prayed for, but I was not so sure now.
Had I been praying for the wrong things? Should I just have left well enough alone, perhaps I was meant to be an only child.
Somehow I knew that was not the case, this adoption would not have happened if it was not supposed to. God had sent me a sister, and my parents another child. This was what we had all been praying for, and we would have to get to know her, get to know this little girl whose name was not even known. We knew so little about this child, but she was my sister now, my little sister. Excitement and nerves all wrapped in one engulfed me, but if I was afraid I knew my sister was ten times more frightened, because she was in a new place, with new customs and new beliefs.
It was a miracle that we had been allowed to adopt this child, a Muslim child sent to a Christian Family from Kabul was almost unheard of, but I guess they had figured no one would want a withdrawn little girl. We were thankful that she had been allowed to come to us, life in Kabul would be dangerous for a young girl alone, far too dangerous. I had heard stories here and there, but she had lived the realities of life in Kabul, the violence.
“Do you have a name?” Mom asked. “If you have a name you would like us to call you, please let us know.”
The little girl who was more like an old woman shook her head, indicating she did not. Or perhaps she had, and just wanted to close that part of her life.
“Do you understand what we are saying?” Father asked.
“Yes I understand.” She managed, not looking up, Islamic law did not allow for women to look at men in the eye, but it was more than that with this little girl.
“I did not know you spoke English.” I said.
“Yes.” Was all this little girl said. Once again she shut down, and closed herself off to us.
“Do you like the name Star?” I asked. Remembering how full of stars the sky had been the night we had heard we would be allowed to take the little girl home.
She shook her head yes.
Once we got home from the airport, I showed Star her room. She was tired I knew, and would want to sleep. I watched her hoping she would settle in but after ten minutes she still sat in the corner rocking back and forth, self-soothing. My heart hurt for her in that moment.
“I am sorry you lost your family.” I said quietly to Star.
“I am not.” Star said. “There are so many things you do not know.”
I closed my eyes, asking the Lord for the strength and the understanding of this young girl, my sister, my sister who did not seem to want to be part of my life. I wondered if I was going to be able to help her in anyway. If she continued to shut me out this was not going to happen, but I had to give her time. She had only been on American soil for a few hours. I had to be patient, these things would take time. I just needed to be thankful I had a sister now, that she had made it to America.
Before Star came to us, I was the only child. My Mother had complications during her pregnancy with me, and had nearly miscarried. I could have so easily died during her pregnancy so many times, and yet here I was. Mother named me Hope, because she said she never gave up Hope that the Lord was going to see her through the pregnancy.
For seventeen years I was an only child, spoiled as so many other children are. My biggest worries had been, whether or not I would be able to get the latest fashion jeans, or a date to the prom. I was raised in a middle class Christian home, and did not know hardships in the way Star did.
Lord forgive me for being selfish and impatient. I have had my eyes opened in ways I could not imagine into the things that others go through and I really do not have reason to complain. I have a good life and I know that now Lord, I thank you that you blessed me with the family I have, and allowed me to be born in America, where I do not have the worries that Star had before she came here. I do not know everything about what she has been through Lord, but you do Lord so please show me how to help her.