When first home from China, the thought of your child having lived in an orphanage, having gone hungry, or having suffered, is so heavy that it sometimes it seems hard to breathe.
The enormity of it is overwhelming.
You look into the eyes of your scared and fragile child, and they are still so haunted by what has just transpired. They are scarred by what they have gone through, and most times will never form the words to tell you just how bad it was.
You are confronted with it like a smack in the face every single day.
Every single time they look at you.
The gut-wrenching fear when you leave the room.
The eating hoards of food as if there will never be more.
Or in Sam's case...the not being able to eat since you were never given the chance and you just don't know how to swallow.
The scared, distant look, or silent cries with puddles of tears...that go on for weeks, months, sometimes longer.
It is easy after you have a year or more under your belt to see your now 33 pound toddler--laughing, playing and loving......
It is easy when your now 5 year old gets a glowing report from pre-school at how "advanced" she is, and how she is a leader amongst her friends, and doing so well that she is sure she will excel next year in Kindergarten.....
To forget that your toddler was skin and bones, and couldn't walk, talk, or eat. That he was hosed off in dirty water and slept in a snowsuit because of the cold--and no heat at his orphanage. To forget that most pictures sent to you he had blue lips, despite their best efforts to keep him warm.
To forget that your daughter was once so petrified when she was handed to you that she actually caused other parents to cry at the pain she felt at being separated from all she has ever known. To forget that she had to be pried away from her caregivers at the orphanage--and that she screamed until she passed out. That she came home hyper to the point of where she couldn't sit still for more than three seconds at a time.
It is easy to get comfortable. It IS easier to push all that unpleasantness far away in your brain, and live in the now. Relish in how they are doing now....forget what they went through. It is easy and comfortable to do that.
But it is so important NOT to do that.
You see, when you "forget" or "move on"--you forget that there are millions of kids out there--millions of "Hope" and Sams". You are ignoring the fact that just because your kid is ok now...that his brothers and sisters in the orphan world are continuing on in that existence that we try and push to the far recesses of our brain.
So I will choose to forever be uncomfortable.
When my babies are sick, and I am holding back their hair while they are vomiting, and nursing them with ginger ale and crackers, and running them a hot bath, cuddling them into clean, cozy jammies....
I will remember the baby I saw in pictures from Sam's orphanage--face burning with fever, tied to his/her crib in an upright position, probably sick with a cough of some sort. I will look at that picture and the sadness in that baby's eyes...
and I will feel uncomfortable.
While we are out to eat as a family, ordering appetizers, meals for each kid, and dessert--and most food doesn't get finished.....
I will think of the children that hoard their food, saving for the next pang of hunger to strike. Or think of the babies with prominent ribs, malnourished and waiting for any morsel...
When we have a birthday party, inviting friends, family, spending money on cake, food, decorations...and most likely a blowup thing of some sort....
I will think of the children that never have their birthday marked with any special recognition. I will think of the fact that two of my children had birthday's "assigned" to them, since there is no real record of their birth. I will think of the pain of that day for their birth parents....
and I will feel uncomfortable.
When my 6 kids are digging for sandcastles on the beach, frolicking in the waves, and screaming with joy as they do on vacation...getting ready for their 5th night of ice cream....
I will remember the children that have never, ever, left the four walls of the orphanage. Never rode in a car--except when they were brought there. Maybe they will get some time to play outside once and again...but their days, nights, holidays, are all spent within the confines of those walls.....some of them aren't babies...some are 11, 12, 13 years old...and have never left their orphanage. I will remember them...and yes...
When I snuggle in front of the fire on a bitterly cold day...I will think of them.
When I fill readily available prescriptions,
when I sign kids up for sports,
when I browse the aisles in the grocery store filling my two carts with food,
when I tuck my kids into bed, kissing their sweet smelling heads goodnight,
and when I greet their sleepy eyed, bed-headed selves in the morning.....
I will think of all the beautiful children waking to no greeting, no morning kisses, cuddles, and hot breakfast.....
and yet again, I will feel uncomfortable.
When I stop those feelings, is when I am forgetting. Forgetting means orphans do not exist.
To be comfortable is to be ignorant.
And in this case.....ignorance is not bliss.
Ignorance hurts children and their chances for a better life. For even one person like myself, sitting and staring at my computer screen in my slippers, can make a difference to them. If only by caring and remembering they are there.
On this very day I urge you....
DO SOMETHING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
THINK OF THEM EVERY SINGLE DAY.......
They just might change your life. They sure did mine.......
ask me how you can help today!!!!!
Fund Raising Coordinator-Orphanage Assistance
Love Without Boundaries
Love Without Boundaries