Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nothing To Compare

We spent 6 weeks visiting Aaron's institution twice each day. Those visits were a new and raw experience. His institution shocked us, but we had nothing with which to compare it. We really didn't know how baby houses or other institutions compared to what we were seeing.  We saw only glimpses of the boys in the laying down rooms in the hidden buildings. We could only imagine what lay behind those doors.  Our perspective was limited, confined to what was visible, like these walls and their chained gates:


like these perfectly kept flower beds along all of the paths:



like this row of wheelchairs outside a building with absolutely no handicapped access:



like the sheds where the boys sat whenever they were outside:



like the infirmary with no running water or bathroom:




like the dining sheds with no doors:






like the rusted "playground equipment" that was really only used to dry clothes.




We never got to take an official tour of Aaron's building or his room, but we both managed to slip into the building and see what it was like. Most of the caretakers eyed us suspiciously. We felt watched and on edge. Perhaps they did as well. Occasionally, we received a kind smile from someone on the staff. Once, one of the ladies from the kitchen brought us a treat. Every so often, one of the maintenance men who spoke a few words of English tried to strike up a conversation with Rob. But those times were rare; usually, they all left us alone, and only spoke to us when they wanted to reprimand us for violating some cultural standard (like allowing Aaron to sit on the ground). 

Since we had never seen anything better, we didn't really understand how utterly desolate Aaron's world, the world of the Lost Boys, truly was-- until the end of our time there.

Until the day we were finally finished with the waiting, and the court, and more waiting, and the second court, and still more waiting.  Until the day when we were finally able to drive away from Aaron's town in a broken-down rattletrap tinpot car to finish the paperwork so that we could take our boy home. It was on this trip that our eyes were opened to the reality of the Lost Boys' world. It was on this trip that we fully understood what transfer really meant.  It was on this trip that our hearts were completely broken.  It was on this trip that we realized that we could not just grab our son and run, but that we had a responsibility: a responsibility to be a voice for the helpless Lost Boys across the ocean who will all endure what our poor son endured unless God's people intervene.

... to be continued....

8 comments:

  1. Your posts always rattle my brain.

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  2. Having seen Aaron's baby house, I cannot imagine how those little ones feel when they get transferred to an institution like his. I thank God every day that we got to Alex before he was transferred. I am so happy that you saved Aaron from the institution!

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  3. Utterly and completely sad. :( I'm not sure I want to read the continuation of this post but feel compelled to do so.

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  4. God bless your heart, Julia......

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  5. Oh my heart...this saddens me to the core. Heartbreaking for the Lost Boys...

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  6. Just wanted to let you know that I was on Youtube today watching a video slideshow of waiting Reece's Rainbow children, and I saw your Aaron. Knowing he is no longer alone and lonely there made my broken (by various slideshows etc.) heart sing!

    Also, I forced myself to watch a video of a Serbian mental institution. I felt it was important for me to know what we're up against, so even though I didn't want to see and it was hard not to go somewhere else, I made myself stay. All I can say is: BREAK. MY. HEART.

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  7. I'm sure it's difficult to do all of the remembering required to write these posts, but they truly bring to light the importance and the urgency of saving these dear children.

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  8. Excellent post!!! We adopted our daughter from The Republic of Georgia at 3-1/2 in 08. She was placed in Foster care at 3. We were told that if she was not adopted soon that she would probably be transferred to an older children's orphanage or worse. She was misdiagnosed in country and may have been placed in an institution as she was practically non verbal in country. We did visit the baby house and foster home but I always wondered what the institutions and older orphanages were like. I imagine your description is most likely accurate for ROG also. In our case I do believe there would have been a good chance that she would have been transferred as the Russian invasion happen weeks after we left. The orphans both in institutions and in foster care slipped through the cracks. The government didn't fund them during the invasion. As a result many foster children were returned to institutions and I was told 40% of the children in the baby house perished from malnutrition. The staff didn't get paid.. their electric bill was up to 6K US when we found out about it. About 6 months later.
    Thank God we were able to bring our children home and I agree with you we do have a responsibility to help those we had to leave behind.
    I wanted to ask you... perhaps I missed it somewhere. Is there a photo listing of these boys and is there an agency that is familiar with their institution? I know a lot of people.. perhaps?? perhaps we can find a mom or two?
    Excellent blog by the way. ;o)

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