Dear Friends,This summer as I look back on the years that God has allowed me to know and love orphans in , I have been challenged again by the words of William who played a huge role in ending slavery in during the 1700 and 1800s:
"Having heard all this, you may choose to look the other way . . . but you can never again say that you did not know." William WilberforceIt was 10 years ago this summer, that I first visited Ukraine. The first time I set foot in the country I knew basically nothing about the orphans who called Ukraine home. I spent two weeks at their summer camp, meeting and spending time with many children. When I left, I never expected to return, I never wanted to return. But something happened during those two weeks:
My eyes were opened to pain I had never before imagined.I knew.
And I could not go back to not knowing.After meeting orphans in Ukraine, I could never again say that I didn't know they existed or needed help.
I knew that I had to do something; and that I needed to ask God what that something was. It turned out to be moving to Ukraine, which I had never even considered before. Over the years my eyes have been opened to many more needs. So many children have touched my heart and force me to go to God again and again asking what my role should be. The answer is different every time.A few weeks ago, I was faced with another need, another hurting child, another plea for help:
A girl from the orphanage came up to me and quietly asked if we could talk in private. I agreed. Later that day as all the kids walked from camp to a nearby park, this girl and I hung to the back of the bunch and she presented her request: Can you please find me a family? I really really want to be adopted and have a family! I don't have anything here. I don't have any relatives. I don't have a future. I want to have a family!It is so hard for me to respond to this question. Everything in me cries out that this girl should have a family; that no child should have to plead for someone to love her. We talked awhile and I explained to her that being adopted is not so easy, that it is hard to adjust to being in a family, following rules, learning English etc. She said that she knew and would do her best to make it work, if only she could just have a family.
I have known this girl for several years but have never really been close to her. She is a nice girl. She is confident, smart, and has many friends and I am usually more drawn to the quiet, shy kids who are ignored and end up in the background all the time. But now here she was, begging in the only way she knew how for the one thing she longs for more than anything else - a family.Now I knew.
I knew more than the general knowledge that all kids dream of being adopted. I heard the words come out of this girl's mouth. I saw the look in her eyes as she talked about being adopted. I saw the fear as she thought of what it would mean to stay here in Ukraine. Now I really knew and it was time for me to ask God again what I was to do with this knowledge.I hadn't planned to write about this specific girl, in fact I didn't even plan to share her picture as I travel this fall. But then this conversation happened, and I couldn't pretend that it didn't. An orphan shared her deepest wish with me, and now I share it with you . . .
I hope that moved you as much as it moved me. As we are coming up on Thanksgiving later this week, my heart breaks for children all over the world who do not have families to celebrate with. They don't have a family to cook with, to share the things in life that they are thankful for, to cuddle up with and know that they are loved. I am thankful that God has given us a love and desire to offer a home to at least one more orphan. God is so good to us and I pray that before long she will know the goodness of God in a personal way.
To update on where we are in the adoption process, we have mailed the immigration application. The home study is in progress. We cannot finish the home study until the results of the fingerprints come back from the FBI. We have made our initial payment to the translator we will be using and he has sent us some of the forms we need to complete. I will probably start working on some of these forms over the Thanksgiving holiday since I will have more time at home.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope it is a great celebration of your many blessings!!