Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The orphan insanity continues!  Just to fill in those who are interested: My older sister, Amy, had signed up to be a prayer warrior for Bernadette.  Who's Bernadette, you ask?  Just the most adorable fifteen year old imaginable.  Take a peek:
Wwwwwhhhhaaaattttt!!!!!  She was so excited to have her picture taken.  Of course, we would never have guessed based on that spectacular smile, eh? Bernadette currently resides in an adult mental institution in Eastern Europe.  She will be turning sixteen in November and would be considered an "adult" in the eyes of the State and therefore not be available to be adopted.  Each region in each of these countries has their own way of doing things.  While some regions forbid adoptions once the child turns four or five, others make exceptions.  For example, the little girl at the adult mental institution in the Diane Sawyer video named "Masha" has recently been put up for adoption.  The director of the institution made a special exception in her case because of her newfound fame and put her up for adoption on a trial basis.  Pray, pray, pray that Masha gets adopted!  Anyhoo, after a couple of weeks of incessant tears over Bernadtte, we just received word that a family will be officially committing to her soon!  O my gosh!!!  Some people are AMAZING.  Now, all credit to my sister, she was preparing to speak at a church this weekend about Bernadette and has cried the tears of a mother over this child.  Amy would have committed to Bernadette herself but the country Bernadette resides in forbids single women to adopt.  Whatev.  All hope is not lost, though.  Some sweet family saw her picture and fell in love.  We look forward to following this family's journey to pick up their beautiful girl.  Bernadette, you will not spend the rest of your life in an institution.  YOU, my friend, will be part of a family.  Where you belong, girl.  Sniffle. 
The news front on Colton isn't quite as dramatic.  Pleasant but not dramatic.  I received an updated picture of him.  Let me pull out my virtual wallet and show you:

Always dressed in green, this little one!  Therefore, I have affectionately nicknamed him my little "Grasshopper" or "Hopper" for short.  Everybody knows I love me some nickname action.  Hopper seems a bit thinner here.  Not sure if that's just because he's older or if I should definitely hit the panic button.
They had BETTER be feeding Hopper or I might just lose the last couple of marbles rolling around in my spacious cabeza.  Of course, it also worries me a bit that he's laying down in both photographs.  And then there's the obvious fact that he's not smiling in both photos.  As you can see, I worry about Hopper like he's my own.  Every night I tell my guardian angel to tell his guardian angel that he has a secret admirer.  Hoping the message isn't lost in translation.  He obviously doesn't look like he's just heard he has a secret admirer, now does he?  Hmmmm.   I want so bad to pick him up and hold him and say, "Hopper!  Why the frown, little guy?" or "Hopper!  Do you know you are loved?"  I want to shout it from the rooftops, actually.  Something along the lines of: "Hopper!  Someone cares if you live or die!  Even if every single thing in your life points to the opposite, someone cares intensely about your life."  I can't help it.  I hear what the orphanages are like.  That they're eerily silent, because the children give up their voices quickly when they realize no one is listening.  That right there is enough to make me vomit.  
     Then, there's the malnutrition thing.  Here's an example.  A family just adopted a little Down Syndrome boy from Eastern Europe.  They already have a Down Syndrome boy and the two are ten WEEKS apart.  Get a load of the difference in size:
The one in the red shirt is their biological son.  The one on the right is the newly adopted little boy.  These kids are ten weeks apart in age.  Is that not unbelievable?  You hear about malnutrition and stunted growth due to neglect, but to see it is astonishing.  Human beings need touch to thrive.  To survive, actually.  These kids get the bare minimum.  
    All this information got me thinking, of course.  I'm doing my best to spread the word.  I'm praying fervently.  I'm studying our budget like I'm cramming for the MCAT, all to find ways to cut back so we can give more.  I feel overwhelmed at times, to be honest.  I feel like sometimes people think, "Who would want to adopt these kids?" even though they don't say it.  I know that with an abortion rate of 92% for babies testing positive for Down Syndrome in utero puts the odds against this mission.  After all, it seems many are resorting to murder to avoid even having a biological child with this type of special needs.  And, please, don't even start with the whole "it's not a person yet" crap.  I'm tired of the lies.  So very, very tired.  In trying my hardest to give these kids a voice, I find my patience with ridiculous propaganda at an all time low.  Just warning you.  

    The other day, as I was rambling off my list of things I'm thankful for, I had a revelation. No, not a vision.  Not even an inner locution.  Just a bright light bulb hopefully lit by something divine.  I thanked God for my home, my family, plenty of food, a nice car that is very convenient with kids, a big backyard and plenty of other things.  As I finished my litany, it hit me.  Hopper has NONE of these things.  It's not just that I have health insurance and he doesn't.  Or I have a house and he doesn't.  Or I have plenty of food and he doesn't.  The terrible reality is that I have many, many, many things and he has.....nothing.  Even the clothes he wears are the property of the orphanage.  That made me incredibly sad.  I have a problem giving up my addiction to McDonald's caramel frappe.  He has never tasted anything but a thickened concoction they feed them out of bottles.   This makes my eyes start to water.  I feel terribly selfish.  And don't pat me on my virtual back and tell me I'm too hard on myself, either.  No, sorry, I'm not.  It's time I woke up to this.  And, no, I don't consider myself a socialist.  There are severe injustices in this world and I don't want the government telling me to give more, I want my own heart telling me to give more.  

    While we increase the never-ending list of things we "must have", many people are struggling to exist.  Cell phones, retirement, savings for our kids college tuition, and all the rest of it.  I see it now.  These are luxuries many, many people in the world can't even conceive of.  We continue to box ourselves in with fear of future while the hungry of today stay hungry.  We lament another economic downturn while orphans stay lonely.  We save up money for our retirement in thirty years (if we even live that long- I'm getting downright morbid now) while many go without clean water.  What the h-e-l-l are we doing?  I know if you're like me, sometimes you just want to throw money at some charity and not be bothered anymore.  Cory, my resident professional in the fundraising world, calls it "donor fatigue."  Now that we're in the same business :), I have my own feelings about donor fatigue (and, let me say, Cory does not necessarily feel this way).  I am much, ahem, more "spicier" that he is.  But I'll tell you what I tell myself when I'm feeling like there's so many charities asking for money- get used to it.  It's what happens when you live better than almost everyone else on the planet.  The minute we start to feel sorry for ourselves as we're burdened once again by the poor, that's the moment we can safely realize we have lost touch.  
     I don't want to be selfish anymore.  I'm weary of asking myself, even subconsciously, what would make me happy.  I want Hopper to have a family.  I want Bernadette to know she's got a smile that lights up the darkest of nights.  I want little Ruslan,
 already transferred to the institution, to know that I'm sorry.  I'm sorry I haven't cared enough until now.  I'm sorry that I've been living a very comfortable life when all you really want is someone to call your own.  I'm sorry, Ruslan.  In some small but powerful way, I take responsibility for you.  And I cry while I type this because in my deepest of hearts, I know it to be true.  I've cared about myself for so long and nurtured my own dreams while others lay lying at my gate.  Forgive me, Ruslan.  


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