My friend, Katie, is currently in China adopting handsome Simon. A little 4 yr old boy who happens to have thalassemia, like our Vivian. Yesterday, she visited his orphanage. Today, she wrote this
She has said it so well. We are indifferent. If you haven't seen it, it is easy to tuck it away, and go on with our lives. We do say it is too hard. Me included. We worry about trivial things, like Easter baskets, and what we are going to wear for Easter Sunday. Again that's me too. And every day innocent children created in the image of the Most High God, suffer. Suffer unimaginably. Living their lives in conditions we couldn't handle for more than a few days.
Everyday, I think about what we saw. Particularly, when we visited Calvin's orphanage. I find it very hard to explain. To find words. It was so heartbreaking. Overwhelming. Such raw need. So wrong. So many and every one of them deserving so much more. To be more than a number. To be well fed. To be clean. To be warm. To have even one thing that you could call your own. To not be shut away from the world. Hidden. To be LOVED.
Calvin was terrified, truly terrified of leaves, or any kind of plant. We found that out when Michael accidentally brush up against a plant at our hotel. I don't know if Calvin had ever been outside in his 2.5 years of living in the orphanage. Can you imagine?
It was dark and very institutional there. It was cold. All the kids had on full jackets inside in an attempt to keep them warm. They had blankets hanging over all the doors to try to keep any warmth in the rooms. The walls were old, and dirty. It had an overall cold,depressing air about it. It smelled in many of the rooms. I don't know what they were fed or how often, but I know that I see Calvin struggle with food. Always looking for something to eat. Always needing more. He will eat anything, and he has to finish everything. Even when you can tell he doesn't really want it, that he is full, he can't stand to let you take it away. He will sit there and eat until it is all gone. He can't stand to waste a bite. I wonder how often he was hungry. I suspect with so many children, they were fed on a schedule, and if you didn't finish, you didn't get any more till the next scheduled time.
We visited Calvin's orphanage just barely 24 hours after we met him. He was still so very afraid of us. And yet, he clung to me when we visited. His nannies and all the many workers we passed in the two floors we visited wanted to hold him. Take pictures with him, and he wanted nothing to do with them. There were rooms he would cry if I even started to walk into. Only one nanny out of many was he happy to see. I think this says a lot. What 2.5 year old child is handed to weird looking strangers, who don't speak your language, and you choose them over everything you've ever known after only 24 hours. He didn't trust us. He was not happy with us. And yet, he willingly chose to take a chance on the complete unknown of us, over the life he knew in the orphanage.
When we walked out I felt relieved, and guilty all at the same time. I was relieved because I felt like I couldn't catch my breath there. I was struggling not to cry in front of them. I was relieved to be taking my son out of there. I was horrified that he had lived there all this time. I felt guilty because I knew we were walking back to our comfortable lives. To our beautiful hotel suite . To our choice of dinner. Hot showers. Skyping with our FAMILIES. Guilty because I knew many of them would never have a family. Guilty because we did so little.Knowing our tomorrow was bright and full of promise, and theirs was the same dark hopelessness. We handed out hugs and candy. So inadequate. I prayed in my head as I walked through room after room for God to please help them. But we are his hands and feet here on this earth. What are we going to do?
I'm not sure what God has for us next. I know I will never forget. I will always advocate for these children and adoption. But there must be more. And we must be willing to do more than read about it. Or write about it, and then we go out for lunch and forget about it. We are so busy and we are missing what is really important. Lord, forgive me. Help us to see.
Link to some pictures and what we wrote the day after we visited.