Exactly 2 years ago, we were in the orphanage in Taiwan. Here's the very first memory I have of our youngest daughter. We followed the case worker off of the elevator, and there was our pint-size princess playing with some toys. They told her to wave to "Mama and Baba," and I snapped this first picture.
Ours was not the "Gotcha Day" you dream about. Our daughter had changed "homes" 3 times, and there we were to uproot her once again. She cried a pitiful cry when we first held her. It was a very long and exhausting day for all of us. She and Daddy took a much needed nap in the hotel room that evening.
But oh what a difference a family makes! Look at this munchkin now. Can you tell she's a happy girl?! Oh yes, she knows she is LOVED and cherished! And top that all off with some cute bows, and there you have the princess of our domain...
This morning (which is night time in Taiwan), I was thinking about how at that moment 2 years ago, our daughter was spending her very last night in an orphanage. Her last night without a Mama and Daddy. Her last night alone, with nobody to rock her to sleep if she had a bad dream. Her last night as an orphan. There's such beauty in seeing a child go from orphan to daughter and heir in one amazing moment in time!
And as my mind pondered the depth of that, I found a sickening feeling also rise to the surface. What about all the others? What about those who will go to sleep tonight crying in their pillows because they want a mom and dad? What about those who are still waiting for their forever family to come get them? What about those who are getting ready to age out of the orphanage and will soon find themselves with no job (and nobody willing to give them a job), no food, no home, no hope?
What about Oleg?
This precious boy finds himself back in his life as an orphan after a wonderful summer hosting program in the United States. What is he thinking? What is he looking forward to? What did he eat today? Are his sheets clean and fresh? Did anybody say good morning when he got out of bed?
My mind visits him over and over. A mixture of smiles and tears floods me as I remember him.
His first Happy Meal...
His first ice-cream-sundae-building party... Look at that SMILE!!! He helped me set everything up for the ice cream event, and he wanted to keep it a surprise for the other children. He kept saying to me (as if we had the most scrumptious secret in the world that he could hardly wait to share with everyone): "ICE CREAM!!" I had the very best time experiencing this alongside him. (And, by the way, he helped me clean the whole mess up afterward too...without me ever asking for help! He's a very sweet boy and a big helper!) Did you expect that?
His first birthday party...
His first trip to buy new shoes...
And quite possibly his fist time to pretend to be a fighter pilot...
Look at that face. Imagine the breath he breathes and the dreams he dreams and the hopes he dares to hope when he's alone in that bed in the orphanage. THIS IS THE FACE of just one of the 143 million orphans out there that is still praying, hoping, pleading to his Heavenly Father to please send him a forever family. He's not a statistic. He's a living, breathing, real boy named Oleg.
As I remember so fondly our Gotcha Day with our daughter, I also long to go far beyond that. I yearn to be God's instrument to help place many of these treasures into their forever families.
1) PRAY that God will indeed place the lonely in families, as His Word says. We have that Word, and we need to boldly proclaim it!
2) TRUST that He will be faithful to do as His Word says.
3) BE WILLING AND AVAILABLE to be used by Him. He places the lonely in families, and WE are His Hands and Feet. Are WE willing to be the family He chooses for one of these precious treasures? Or are we too busy, too comfortable, too afraid?
We are the Bride of Christ, and He has left these little ones in our care. One day, I believe, we will have to give an answer to Him for what we did or didn't do for His children. What we do to the least of these, we do to HIM. That's quite sobering if you truly believe He means what He says.
** If you want to read more about Oleg or other orphans who are still awaiting forever families, visit the New Horizon site.