Sunday, October 5, 2008

Prayer for Rosetta (Rosie) Burkett

Amazing how one moment in time can change the course of your life.  This moment for me was last Sunday, September 28, 2008.  One minute, I was getting ready for our worship service at Crestwood Baptist Church, and the next, I noticed two young women walk into the auditorium and sit down.  One I thought I remembered her from somewhere, and the other seemed expectant, as if something was about to happen.

Let me back up a little.... let me go back to a very dark time in my life, March 3, 2007.  I had just been transferred from the local crisis center in Oklahoma City to the State Mental Hospital, Griffen Memorial Hospital in Norman, OK, about 30 miles away.  I was having a very hard time coping with this change, especially because of my physical condition as well.  The RSD was in full swing and as I was allergic to narcotics, I couldn't take much more than industrial strength naproxin sodium, or aka Alieve.  The doctor who diagnosed the RSD had also prescribed Lidoderm patches, which numbed the nerves somewhat, and Flexeril, which helped with the stiffness that accompanied the disorder.  I had begun to manage somewhat on a particular regimin, but going into the hospital changed all that.  But the silver lining to this dark cloud was meeting Rosie.

I first noticed that Rosie was sitting off by herself, coloring.  As I walked up to her, she instantly piqued up and asked me to look at some of her "work".  She was serious about this coloring business, and she did a very fine job of it as well.  It only took a few moments of our conversation for me to realize that Rosie was a very "special" girl.  She was in her early 20's but developmentally she seemed to be about five or six.  Upon hearing this you might think that my first reaction would be "Oh, how sad!"  But that wasn't it at all.  My heart just swelled up, and I instantly felt a connection.

Over the next three weeks, I became sort of a "Mom" to Rosie, even though in actuality we could be sisters.   I looked out for her, and I think more importantly I listened to her.  She talks about as much as a young girl who has just come home from a visit to Nanna's house.  So many things to tell you, and there just doesn't seem to be enough words to describe how she really feels.  Not for a lack in the quantity of words spoken, but the vocabulary just doesn't do justice to what she is thinking.  

When Rosie is happy and feels comfortable, her face just glows when she talks.  Almost angelic, I would say.  But when she is troubled, she scowls in confusion, like a child who doesn't understand why it is that she can't do whatever she pleases whenever she pleases.  This is the Rosie that captured my heart what seems like an eternity ago.

Shortly after leaving the hospital, I saw Rosie just one more time.  I went to where she lived in the custody of the Adult Protective Services.  She lived with a few other "special" girls in a home where there was a staff member present 24 hours a day.  But the presence of a staff member doesn't mean that Rosie felt loved and accepted.  She often during our time at the hospital told me how she was mistreated where she lived.  

One thing you have to know is your definition of mistreatment and my definition of mistreatment are going to vary.  The same is true of your definition of mistreatment and the APS definition of mistreatment.  Was she physically harmed or emotionally abused?  Those instances were never documented if they even existed.  But my definition of mistreatment is witholding love from someone who desperately needs to be loved, and that definition is nothing like the DHS definition.

My heart broke for Rosie, when upon my visit, she asked if I would ask James if she could come and live with us.  She promised that she would be "good" and would do whatever we asked her to do.  She also told me that she was a big help around the house.  She could make her own bed, and clean up after herself without being "told" to do so.  She remembered to do that very thing "almost every week, and I'm not lying!!"  She just couldn't understand why her "staff" got upset with her when she failed to do it every day like was expected of her. 

But my growing love for Rosie could not overshadow my own needs at the present time.  I still was having a hard time coping with RSD and my marriage was in trouble.  There was no way on earth that I could take care of Rosie, and James had enough on his plate taking care of me.  Rosie coming into our home was definately out of the realm of possibility.   So I left her that warm Spring day, committing her care to the only ONE who could care for her.  The Lord, whose love for her was exponentially greater.

Fast forward to the present.... After our rehearsal, I came down to where Rosie and her friend Darla were sitting.  It was then that I remembered where I had met Rosie, and the love I had for her then just flooded my heart.  After asking her if she remembered me, she said she did remember me, and guess what?  She was nine weeks pregnant.

Although I would love to continue in story form, I only have time to list what we are praying for Rosie and her baby.

1) That the baby would be born without the predicted birth defects, and severe retardation not only what could be passed by heredity, but also due to a drinking binge after finding out she was pregnant.

2) That Rosie would come to understand that she cannot have her own home and care for this baby on her own.  That she would understand that it could be better for her if someone else helped her take care of her baby.

3) That Rosie would find a permanent "home" one that meets the demands that the APS would place for her safety, but also one that would give her the love that she so desperately needs.

4)  That God would reveal to James what our role is to be in Rosie's life as well as this baby's life.  We have been asked if we would like to adopt this child, with the understanding that humanly speaking, this baby's chance of a "normal" life is very slim.  

5)  For Anna's House Foundation.  This is the decidedly Christian organization that is facilitating the placing of this baby.  You can find out more about them at  Prayerfully consider if you would like to support this ministry, not only for the costs that surround this baby's placement, but also for the other infants and children under the age of two that do not have a permanent home.  More specifically a home where they can be loved unconditionally.  Most of these children have had five placements before their first birthday.  It is for these children that my heart just breaks.

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