In spring 2011, I was searching a book called "The Connected Child" by Karyn Purvis. I plugged it into google and a link to Reece's Rainbow popped up www.reecesrainbow.org. And that was that.
Then I saw the below videos:
From Orphanage to Institution: Serbian's Mental Institutions
Bulgarian's Abandoned Children: From 2007
And that was that...
Proverbs 24:12 "Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act."
This may mean different things for different people. For me, I thought it meant sponsoring a child and/or family through Reece's Rainbow. That's what I thought...but then I saw that smile!
But, I didn't think that was what I should do. So, I prayed for her. I prayed "Brigita" would find her family. I prayed God would keep her safe. I prayed her grant would grow. And I checked on her,daily.
Then one day, God spoke to me and told me "this is your daughter."
And that was that...
So, what does that mean for me now? It means Orphan Sunday takes on a whole new meaning. It also means that this Orphan Sunday, I don't just know about the statistics. Because there is a real, living breathing Orphan in my home, in my arms, and in my heart!
But for her, its means so much more: mommy, love, acceptance, family, pets, a home, her own clothes (that fit properly too!), daily baths, snacks and drink whenever you are thirsty or hungry, church, God, school, doctors, medication when needed, dentist, toothbrush and toothpaste, snuggles and more snuggles, and learning to communicate and self-care.
Brigita is a wonderful little girl! I cannot imagine my life without her. Although her adoption is not yet finalized, she is my daughter in every other way. And she knows it! She knows she is loved. She knows someone cares for her. She knows what it means to belong.
In the past 2 months, she has riden on trains and planes for the first time. Attended a birthday party. Played in a bounce house. Went to a pumpkin patch. Attended church. Been to several doctors appointments. Tried many new foods. Learned how great bath time is (every day). Dressed up and went Trick or Treating for Halloween. And swings and swings til her heart's content!
Combining her 2 favorite pastimes: Swinging and dangling/chewing Luvie
Please really think about Orphan Sunday.
Think about the Orphan.
What it means to be an orphan.
What it means to have no family. No mother or father. No home to call yours. Only a bed or metal crib that is quickly replaced if you move out. What it means to go to bed hungry. What it means to learn to stop crying because you have learned it doesn't matter. What its like to know no one cares if your ear hurts, if you have a fever, or if you got hurt. To live in a place where you rock just to have something to do. Where you hit your head for stimulation. Smack yourself on the side of the head because there is so much fluid in your ears you cannot hear well anymore. What it means to have no one teach you how to speak or communicate at all. To live in a place where you learn to make odd clicking noises and to hit/bite/push/pull hair to get your needs met, to communicate, to play. To spend hours and hours doing nothing every day. To be deemed unadoptable and worthless at the age of 5 and sent to a mental institution where you will spend the rest of your life. To have your life span shortened due to all these conditions as well as malnutrition and dehydration. To be smaller in size because the lack of stimulation causes your brain stop producing growth hormones correctly.
That was Brigita's reality. And she was in a good institution.
Please consider adoption, sponsoring an orphan, or helping an adopting family this Orphan Sunday.
Look at the blogs of the families. Read the stories of the children. Watch the videos above. If they are too hard to watch, try to imagine how hard it is to live. Because they are true and unfortunately exist today. Places where 10yo girls weigh 10 lbs. Where they are intentionally underfed to keep them small. Where children are treated like animals, to be cleaned, fed, and placed in metal cages, and even tied at times.
Don't close your eyes. Don't look away. Don't forget the orphan.
"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes."
And that isn't the end for many kids. Here are 2 of my favorites