A few months ago I found myself in a small city in Bulgaria along with my parents and one of my littler sister’s. It was a cold Monday morning as we pulled up to an old Soviet concrete building. We walked up some stairs to enter the old building. We then waited a few minutes then were taken down a flight of stairs to a small room about the size of an American bathroom. A few minutes later my world changed in a HUGE way yet again... through the door my newest little sister shyly walked in. I’m not going to lie I was actually about to cry. I couldn’t believe that this princess of person was in the same room as me. But I also couldn’t believe she was abandoned by her mom and dad. I couldn’t believe she has had to spent her entire short life in a orphanage. But none of that is as hard to believe as the fact that she is just 1 out of millions.
I’d only ever seen a few pictures of Vali but at that moment there she was in “real” life. Truth is that this wasn’t the first time I’ve had this experience. In the past I’ve gotten meet 3 of my other siblings in a similar way. It’s pretty hard to explain that feeling of meeting someone you know almost nothing about but love so much. It’s also hard to explain the feeling of pain in my heart knowing what my siblings have been though. This time around it was even harder and more painful. In the past once I met my new little brother or sister they were at that point just a few steps away to being legally and actually in our family and home.
See my parents, little sister, and I got to visit Vali for a few days then we said goodbye seemingly juts moments after saying hello. It was just a visit, a visit that seems as long as a flash of lightning. It’s been months since I saw this precious little girl and with each day that passes my heart hurts for her more and more. Saying goodbye meant weeks and weeks added to Vali’s life without a family to love her. Day in and day out she sits in that old, lifeless Soviet orphanage. It also could mean months and months of potential abuse and almost definite neglect in some way. The thing about my little sister Vali is it’s just a matter of time before this present pain is over. My family hasn’t forgotten her but rather we impatiently waiting for the final steps until we can rush half way around the world to scoop her into our arms forever. Within no more then 3 months Vali won’t be surrounded by brokenness any more. She will live a life surrounded by unconditional love and care.
What pains my heart far more than not having Vali surrounded by love yet, is the millions of children just like her that have been forgotten. MILLIONS. I really want that to sink in. Literally MILLIONS, like a number with SIX zeros after it... 000,000
The problem is that our mind just sees all those numbers and not the actual little human beings behind those numbers. Behind those numbers are countless stories of complete neglect, abuse, and pain. Behind those numbers are scared faces, broken hearts, and tired eyes. Behind those numbers are children, children who have been forgotten and left behind by their own parents and family. Each of those “numbers” is a little human enduring pain of some kind.
I have been in dozens and dozens of orphanages and children’s homes all around the world. I’ve been in a few fantastic children’s homes but sadly most of places I’ve been even if they are ok or good aren’t actually good at all. Children don’t belong in dorms full of other dozens of other kids. Children belong in families full of love. The sad reality is that there are millions of children who have been abandoned, neglected, or taken away from their families because of abuse that are now without a family to care for them. Most are placed in prisons, yes prisons. A place where they can’t escape, an institution called an orphanage or sometimes a “children’s home.” These places are all around the world even right in the USA.
There are 8 year olds the size of a toddler because of extreme neglect, fully functional 15 year olds who are suicidal, 2 year olds being sexually abused, and well children of all ages going through hell. Even when these children are in “good” places being treated well they are still living a nightmare of a life just trying to cope with the trauma of being separated from their parents. They are the orphans, the fatherless, the motherless, and even the rejects of society. They are hidden away in four walled buildings while you and I close ourselves in four walled “church” buildings.
When the Bible talks about the least of these, the oppressed, the poor, the needy, the fatherless it’s taking about these kids trapped in buildings and systems. It’s taking about that group of siblings in foster care who were taken away form their drug addicted parents. It’s talking about those extremely disabled kids tied to cribs in Ukraine. It’s taking about those hard teens who are about to age out. It’s talking about those children left on the side of the street in China. It’s taking about all of them and the millions more who all have insanely sad stories.
To me what hurts my heart more then children without families is the family’s without love towards these children. Like those families who live in states, in a comfortable house, surrounded by hundreds of churches. My heart physically feels like it gets shot when people tell me that they can’t afford financially to adopt, that they can’t do foster care because they would have too much love to let the kid go, that they can’t adopt because they are too young or too old, that they can’t foster because they would have to let their foster kids go to public school, that they can’t adopt because there home is too small, that they just aren’t called to adopt and on and on the list goes. What kind of excuses are these?! Are these kids not worthy of love and a family not matter the cost to you physically or financially? Aren’t these children made in the image of God and considered our neighbors whom we are to love unconditionally?
My mind flashes back to Vali my little sister who is on the other side of a vast ocean who is just months away from a family. But my mind also flashes back to hundred+ kids in her orphanage who don’t have anyone. In my head I can see the faces of hundreds if not thousands of kids I’ve seen in past few years who are completely forgotten who have no hope unless the church steps up. I know that not everyone can adopt and the fact is that if the people that could and should adopt, there would be FAR FAR FAR less waiting children and maybe even non!!! Oh brothers and sisters especially those of you who live in the US I plead with you to show the of Christ to your fatherless neighbors!
It might seem like I’m obsessed with this topic and it’s because I am. There are so many children who need us to care! I’ll end with this. If you found yourself trapped in an institution or system with no family to care for you, wouldn’t you want someone to rescue you!? I think the saddest thing is that while the church remains basically silent about adoption the lgbtq community is running towards these already hurt and abused children with open arms!!! Shouldn’t we as believers of the God who adopted us be the FIRST to rush into caring for the lives of these precious children and teens!? These are some questions to really and seriously ponder. Ok y’all I’m out, I’m always willing to talk with anyone via messenger about how you can help the oppressed children of the world.