Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What would you do?

Sunday was National Orphan Sunday. I never would have known that until this year. Orphan awareness was preached in pulpits across the country. And yet, before this past year, I was so unaware. If it isn't on the news, it didn't affect me. If it isn't on the radio, it didn't affect me. If it isn't front and forefront in your daily life - I'm guessing it doesn't affect you either.

It's so easy to get wrapped up in the need for new cleats, the need for a winter jacket, the need for another box of cereal, another gallon of milk. We have so much that we focus on that our focus becomes completely inward - with the outside world as only a shadow of reality.

Until that reality drops on your doorstep, and then it affects you.

Lately we have had parents who are visiting their children in Ethiopia reporting back about the conditions of the orphanages there. We all knew they weren't the most clean places. Happy places. Places where children are well fed and loved. We knew that. But to hear first-hand descriptions of where my daughter, may, at this moment be sleeping --- it brought me to tears several weeks ago - and it brings me to tears again today.

From another AWAA parent's blog:
"Tuesday was another one of those highly emotional days. Wow. We started off early in the morning to visit two orphanages. The first one was right down the street from our guest house, and when we got there, we realized that these were the kids we hear singing every morning!! Boy did this place grab a hold of us. We walked in to dozens of older children all sitting in a line outside. Then we went to the toddler room. As soon as I picked up the first child, I discovered that they weren’t wearing diapers and just about every one of them was wet. Their beds were soaked. Some didn’t even have mattresses because they were laying out in the sun to dry. One little boy was so scared when we came that he ran to a corner and faced the wall to be avoided. Then we visited the infant room where we saw a similar situation. No diapers, wet mattresses, 3 to 4 babies to a crib. It was heart breaking. One of the families brought diapers to donate, so the ladies immediately started putting diapers on the kids, covering mattresses with plastic and sheets, and holding each of those babies. I don’t tell you about these conditions to speak badly of the orphanage. The truth is, it’s all they have. I picked up the first baby I saw in the room, and she clung to me for dear life, crying if I tried to put her down. When I could calm her down to put on a diaper, her entire bottom was blistered. We stood crowded in that tiny room as long as our guide would allow us to stay. There were moments when I thought about all the germs, infections, and rashes I was touching, but we all decided it was more important for these children to be visited and loved than for us to get dirty. B and I also spent some time outside with the older kids and they would beg us to sit next to them in their line. When we did, they’d weave their arms through ours and hang on tight to ensure we wouldn’t get up. Some would cry if you didn’t sit by them, some would search our pockets, and one even snatched our camera. An older girl walked down the line with an old rag wiping the tears and snot from their faces all on the same spot. Needless to say, our group gave bins and bins of donations to this particular orphanage. To those who donated from home, THANK YOU! Pictures weren’t allowed, but I just wish you could see with your own eyes how needed this stuff was. You cared for the least of these on Tuesday through your generosity."

And this orphanage is, thankfully, being helped by those visiting parents. Who bought those mattresses. Who bought the plastic sheeting to wrap them. Who bought the diapers to put on those babies. And yet - the need is still so great.

And yet - this is only one orphanage in Ethiopia. In the world. That is 'lucky' enough to have a relationship with an agency which can help to support them and improve their conditions. What about the other hundreds of orphanages in Ethiopia? In the world? What about those orphans?

Often times when asked why we are adopting from Ethiopia - Tony has told them - 'if your child was sick, and hungry, and a million miles away. Wouldn't you do everything within your power to bring her home to you?'

So before this post leaves your mind and doesn't affect you at all anymore - could you take a moment, in this, National Adoption Awareness Month, to wonder what you, as one person, could do? You may not think you have room for another child. Or maybe you are too old. Or maybe you aren't called to adopt, or foster.

But you could sponsor an orphan, with Compassion International.
But you could research the possibility of adoption - our agency - America World Adoption.
But you could donate to families who are trying to do everything within their power to bring their children home. With it made easier by lists of families with items for sale for Christmas -
Shopping with a Purpose
One Stop Adoption Shop
Home for Christmas

You could do anything. As long as you do something.

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act."
Proverbs 24:12


Jaime And Drew said...

Tracy, Thank you for posting this!! You are correct orphan sunday, shopping with a purpose none of these things were even thought of a couple of years ago. This Christmas our gifts will be bought with a purpose!! I have had so much fun shopping like this!!! I really hope my friends and family like beads :)

Angi: Tim Cooper said...

Tears of thankfullness that you are showing the truth. Can't wait to take items to KVI, Angi Cooper