Friday, July 15, 2016

Be The Answer

Be warned!! This is a lengthy post! Typical Jodi fashion! But it's a post that has been brewing for a long time. It is a post that was sparked by these photos I saw posted a few months ago. Photos that will forever haunt me.

Meet Kyle and Ksenia. They are two children who will never know the touch or a kiss of a mom. Beautiful souls who will never be read a bedtime story or tucked into bed by a dad. Perfect beings who will never walk hand in hand with a brother or sister. Two precious children who were worthy of love but just didn't get it in time. A love that could have saved their lives but instead they died alone, never knowing what that love even felt like. The photos on the left are ones that were on their "waiting child" photolisting. The ones on the right were taken after they were transferred to an adult mental institution. You read that right, an adult mental institution. At the age of 4 or 5 special needs, waiting children who do not have families committed to them are transferred from an orphanage to an institution. Here they are left to endure many years of pain. Most don't even make it past a year because they are picked on, beaten, starved, neglected, tied to a bed, have health issues that are never addressed, cause self inflicted harm, and are left to die. Their bodies and spirits have endured so much, even before their transfer and they just can't hold on any longer. You can see why these photos are haunting, but is it enough to spring others into action? Do you look at these photos and want to help? Or are they easy to ignore because it's not your problem? (I mean that in the harshest/nicest way.) 

It is no surprise that foster care and adoption light my fire. But I am always surprised that more people aren't feeling the heat. Why aren't more followers of Christ, more Christians talking about the orphan crisis? Why does or did the church offer assistance for those wanting to adopt "healthy" babies domestically? But there isn't or wasn't a program to help those in greater need, children who are left abandoned in other countries because they are deemed unworthy? Or children who are truly orphans, because their parents have died from HIV or Ebola? I wonder why it's not taught from the pulpit often that we are responsible to care for the fatherless and needy. Are we fully living our religion found in Matthew 25 and could we do more?

"Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?"

“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?" 

"Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?"

I cannot explain why others don't feel the same as I do. I do not understand why it's not on everyone's heart. I know there are many more issues that our world is facing and perhaps the orphan crisis is not top on the list. Maybe we don't even look at these scriptures and think of it in terms of orphans. But then I wonder too if it's because many just aren't aware of the need. My heart was only pricked 7 years ago. Adoption was a discussion prior to 7 years ago, but it was never an option until I recognized it was my responsibility to help. It wasn't until I saw 3 girls who were separated from their parents and other 7 siblings because of neglect that I became aware. I went home after meeting them, told my husband we needed to do something and the rest is history. We got licensed to foster, waited a year until our first placement, adopted Liam, then adopted Sara. My heart was changed then and it has never been the same since. I know without a doubt that those little girls prepared my heart for Liam. And Liam prepared my heart for Sara. When I was made aware of children who were neglected in other countries because of their special needs I was ready. Liam taught me that "special needs" wasn't so scary so when I felt the tug to adopt Sara, I knew it was something we could, should, and would do. I do not condemn those who don't feel the same way. But I have to wonder why? Especially those who are able and available? I know the cost scares a lot of people. But it's not the only reason that holds people back and if it is aren't we taught to have the faith of a mustard seed? He will provide. I will say money is the easiest excuse and an easy first response to reply "I don't have $25-$50K." Who does? But I feel there's more to it. People tell me all of the time, "I just couldn't do what you do." Or "You are so amazing?" Let me just respond to both, yes you too can do it and no I am not amazing. I was led by His love, that's it! 

Besides being unaware, here are my feelings as to why we don't take the adoption leap of faith. Either we're too young or too old or we're always waiting. Waiting until we have more money. Waiting until we are in a bigger house or until the remodel is completed. Waiting until we drive a bigger and better car. Waiting until the kids are a little bit older. Waiting until the kids grow out of their tantrums or until their "issues" are manageable. Waiting until we are healthier and skinnier. Waiting until our job situation changes or when we get a raise. Waiting until we get new furniture or appliances. Waiting until we finish school. Waiting until a lightning bolt strikes us from the heavens and says "Now is the time!" Basically we're waiting for the "perfect" time when really there is no such thing as the "perfect" time. Money will always be an issue no matter how much or little you make. A bigger house just means more expense. Better or bigger car may be necessary, and having older kids is convenient. Kids will always have "issues" and being skinnier would be awesome. Getting a raise would be nice and acquiring new furnishings for the home is ideal. Waiting to finish school would alleviate stress, I get it. I am not discounting that some of these points are valid, important, and necessary, but they are not required to commit and say yes to a child. I personally feel (let me emphasize this is my personal opinion) that many of these things are excuses to fool us into thinking that we can't do it. Children in need don't care how old you are, what you drive, what you do, how much money you make, how many kids you have, how much you weigh, where you live, how fancy or posh your home is, or what you wear. They just need a family who cares and who is willing to take a leap of faith and plant that mustard seed. Again, He will provide.

I am not amazing! I am just an ordinary gal who had the desire to do His will. My heart was pricked and it led me to action. I had many doubts and questioned whether my thoughts were my own or from a greater power. There were times when I wished the heavens would have opened or a lightening bolt struck to give me direct answers, but my desire to help started small and grew into something big. I realized that all of the thoughts that came to my mind, sermons I heard, songs that played, scriptures  or books I read, or people I came across were my personal lightening bolts and had everything to do with my decision to know that we had to take that leap. I am not amazing! I am humbled that God felt like I could do it. I am grateful that I listened even though it would have been easier to ignore. I guess what I am saying is that you don't have to be amazing to adopt, because it's not the adopter who is amazing, it is the greater power, God who is amazing. If your heart has ever, ever been stirred, stop. If you have thought for a minute that maybe you could open your heart and home to a child in need, listen. Stop and listen because God may be speaking to you and is ready to lead you. I know that adoption isn't for everyone. I know there are circumstances that surpass the material things that I have written about. I am talking to those who are able. Sometimes it's easier to ignore or pretend that we're not the "type" or could never do it. But I want you to look at these faces and try to ignore what you see. These children were worthy of a family but now it's too late because they have left this earthly home without one. Sadly the next photos I've shared below include three boys who died this past month. Cristoff and Judah did have families coming for them and Cameron who just passed away a few days ago had no family comitted. These sweet babies had endured too much and just couldn't wait any longer. My heart breaks for their families who never had a chance to whisper, "You are cherished, chosen and loved." My heart breaks for the others like Cameron who never had anyone fighting for them. Unlike foster care, no one is calling registered/licensed, home study ready families asking to take these children in. No one, not even their parents who abandoned them are visiting them at the orphanages. Their basic needs may be met but nothing can ever replace the love of a family. Days, months, years of neglect win and these children suffer and eventually die, alone. They are buried alone. No fancy casket, no service, no celebration of life, no obituary listing their accomplishments or loved ones, no elegant engraved headstone. They have no one to place flowers on their grave. They have no one to keep their memory alive! Nothing or no one! 


Last year, less than 30,000 children were placed for international adoption worldwide. With 150,000,000 orphans around the world, 30,000 didn't even make a small dent. Sure it's better than nothing but we still have a lot of work to do. Christians and non Christians alike, people who have a love and concern for mankind can and should do more. Even if you can't adopt there are still ways to provide help to these children who so desperately need it. Gather needed supplies or diapers for orphanages and send them abroad. Organize a fundraiser to support a care package drive or a monetary donation. Travel abroad to take part of a mission trip, one that visits orphanages and helps meet their needs. Find out if the company you work for offers a matching donation program which can double your donation. If you own a company consider donating to an organization like Reece's Rainbow for a tax credit. Advocate, share, donate to a family in the process. Donate to a waiting child so the financial part isn't a burden for their family when they are found. I know that my work isn't done and I hope that this has helped you see that your's isn't either. If you weren't aware before, you are now. Consider this your Awareness PSA (Public Service Announcement). Please take a moment to ask yourself, "Can I do more?" Please take a moment to listen and see if God is sending you personal lightning bolts. He works in mysterious ways!

I know there are many willing hearts and lots of people who do take action in whatever capacity they can. I know there are many unsung heroes who silently make a difference. I appreciate their efforts and appreciate the efforts of advocacy that Reece's Rainbow and other organizations provide for waiting children. I admire families who have adopted domestically or internationally or both and who foster children. I know that I personally cannot change the world or have by adopting myself but I am grateful that I have changed the world for two children. And I am grateful that at least 30,000 others stepped forward to change the lives and world of 30,000 orphans no more. But, there's always a but, there are still many who are in prison (or an orphanage in this case), poor, naked, hungry, thirsty, sick, and alone. There are many "strangers" who need someone like you to take them in and who believe that it is your duty to impart of your substance. Regardless of what you impart, you will be blessed.

There is a child who lies in a crib waiting to be held. A child who is hungry. A child who doesn't even cry because they have learned that it doesn't make a difference, no one will come.

There is a child who longs to hold anyone's hand but especially their daddy or mommy's hand. A child who just hopes for a gentle touch or even eye contact when they are being fed.

There is a child who is wishing for freedom. Freedom from their lonely existence. Freedom from their prison.

There is a child who deserves the gift of a family, the gift of love.

There is a child who waits for the day when they are welcomed home. An earthly home where they have a sense of belonging. A place where they can experience Heaven on Earth.
More sweet babies who are in the arms of the angel in their eternal home.

 There is a child who deserves life and love and you can help. Be an angel. Be the answer. 

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”