The whole darn fam

The whole darn fam

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I realize something lately. I have been getting waaay too comfortable. See it's been almost 3 years since we adopted Hope, and over a year and a half since we brought home Sam, and things are settling down (relatively speaking).

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......

to forget.

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.

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...

see the baby in the back?

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...

and I will feel uncomfortable.

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...

I will feel uncomfortable.

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....





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


Mommy said...

WOW! I love to read your thoughts. Very poignant and oh so TRUE. Thank you!

Jennifer and Matt said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I've followed your blog for a while, though I don't know that I've ever really commented. I feel uncomfortable almost every day. It's a hard feeling to explain to most. Unless you've lived it....there's almost no way to understand that uncomfortable feeling. I've had people tell me to forget about what I saw in ds's province, the feelings i had there, the uncertainty of his life before us,etc. "he's home now. he doesn't remember...." well, folks he does remember something, it's obvious, you just don't see it. and I still remember every sight, smell and sound. if i become comfortable and forget, well, I can't-it's just not who I am.
living uncomfortably with ya!

Mary said...

This is a beautifully written post. It reminds me of what Amy wrote for the LWB blog in November.
She quoted from the book China Ghosts:
“They don’t tell you that the children of the orphanage are all coming home with you. That these kids, with their wan smiles and growling stomachs, are going to follow you across the ocean, move into your house, inhabit your dreams”.

It's true, I still dream about the kids I met on our foster care trip in October, and all my foster kids in XiaoXian.
Take care and Happy New Year!

AwesomeCloud and family said...

I think it's good to allow yourself to forget sometimes. Your kids are working hard to transcend their difficult beginnings and grow into thriving, successful, healthy people. You should enjoy their good grades and small achievements for what they're worth, as part of the growing process of normal, healthy children. If you never let go of the pain and suffering of the orphanages, they won't be able to, either. They will always have a mother whose brain is half stuck in a life they don't live in anymore.

It's great to want to rescue every child, but don't forget to appreciate the successes of the children you have.

Anonymous said...

Hi Awesome Cloud! Thank you so much for your insight! I definitely should clarify that these feelings I have, and I suppose always will to some extent, NEVER would be openly talked about on a daily basis to my children.
I do remind all of my children to not take things for granted, But wouldn't make them feel guilty for enjoying the wonderful life we have.
I totally get what you mean, but I totally am "present" with my kids, and love enjoying the good and even bad with them every day!
I just think it can be valuable to remind ourselves that the world we live in is alot bigger than our back yard, and i truly
Want all of my children to be aware of that!
It can be tricky to have a balance of both...I totally

Thanks so much for your comment! Your Awesome
Cloud is truly awesome....what a doll!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to post as anonymous is acting weird!

Amy D.

Judy said...

Thank you for posting this. So many parents are haunted by these similar experiences (my husband and I have been) and they never leave us...or should. They serve to ground us in the present with profound gratitude.

Jewels of My Heart said...

I simply cannot find the words... except to say that you are oh, so right... when you ask God to break your heart with the things that breaks His... He will... and one of the things that most assuredly breaks His heart are the precious orphaned children...
God bless the children...

Ellie said...

Thanks for writing and sharing this. We do all need to be uncomfortable! I'm thinking that is mature Christianity :)

xo ellie
ps I came from Shay's blog.