Sunday, September 26, 2010

Changed Forever


     As our time here drags to a close, we are recognizing that this experience has changed us forever. This change was inevitable. No one can walk into a disabled boys' institute in a remote village in Eastern Europe and remain unchanged.  No one can see what we saw, hear what we heard, and sense what we sensed without being changed.

     Our understanding of the institutes has changed. When we left A*ani*v, we left the Lost Boys of A*ani*v behind. We left two Reece's Rainbow boys, Heath and Brady (47), behind. These two still have a chance, but they will never know the love of a Mama and Papa unless someone rescues them soon. We left over 100 other boys who, barring some miracle, will never leave the institute until they are 18. Then they will move on to a place of far worse horrors, the adult mental institute. There they will die.

     Our understanding of the word "transferred" has changed. We now understand the shock and horror these children experience when they age out of the baby houses and are transferred to the institutes. In many cases, "transferred" means that they are no longer available for adoption. They have lost their last chance. The few that still have chances don't retain them for long. The weak and the bedridden do not survive long. By God's grace, Aaron survived his transfer, and he's free. How many other transferred children will ever be free?

     It will take time for us to process what we have seen and to determine how we should respond. We want to be a voice for the Lost Boys and Girls, but we don't know how that might work, what it might mean or where it might take us. For now, we plan to enjoy our little fugitive, re-unite with our precious treasures at home and pursue Aaron's medical treatment. But with God's grace, we will not forget.  We have been changed.


And now, a few more FASCINATING FACTS from Aaron...

  • Did you know that when you are in that really cool bathtub, which is filled with water and bubbles, that if you ignore Mama's warnings and pull that black stopper out with your foot, all of the water will disappear?  Did you know that Mama will NOT fill that tub with water again?
  • Did you know that apple juice, which has been my daily favorite for at least a year, is no good when it's been in the refrigerator?
  • Did you know that Mama will take my jacket off when I am hot?  Do you know how wonderful it feels to run around in short sleeved shirts when it's hot?

  • Did you know that if you put batteries in this little toy dog that it will bark and bark and bark and bark and bark?  Or that you have to put the batteries in just right to make it go? Did you know that Mama and Papa forgot to bring ear plugs?

  • Did you know that I do not have to wear my socks in the house?  Do you know that it took me a long to time believe that this was true, and I kept telling that crazy Mama and Papa that I needed my socks on?  Do you know that I like having my feet free?
  • Did you know that Mama does not stuff my food into my mouth until I choke?  Did you know that for the last six years I choked at every meal, but now I can chew as slowly as I want?
  • Did you know that my Mama and Papa are a little on the dumb side?  Did you know that they don't understand most of what I say to them?
  • Did you know that in this country you can't take pictures inside the shopping malls, even if the subject is only a cute little boy sitting beside a fountain?  Did you know Mama got in trouble with her camera AGAIN?


  1. I wasn't in an "institution" but Stas' room/groups felt like one in many ways in a baby house. I have such a hard time getting any of it out of my mind. I cry a lot. I miss them...I want good for them....I want many of them. Hope to do it again. Wondering if I will "feel" any better after bringing one or two more home? There are still so many more there.....It's almost like a PTSD of sorts,I guess :-(

    Blessings and Praise God again...

  2. Aaron sure has added a sparkle to those blue eyes, and he can't seem to get rid of that smile on his face. It is AMAZING!!! I know the extra days in Kiev were not a part of your plan, but maybe they were so Aaron could see some good in his birth country so he has more than one memory of it. God will bless both of you for the good deed you have done for this boy!!

  3. i love love love these pictures of a happy, loved and free boy!!!!!

  4. I've just been lurking for the past month or two and Aaron's story and face has touched my heart. I'm not sure who is luckier - you guys, or him. I hope you have safe travels tomorrow so you three, plus the boys at home, can begin your new life as a happy family of five! All the best to you!

  5. That second photo is the textbook definition of joy. That face!!!! I can't wait to hug you guys!!!!!!

  6. Oh Julia! Could he possibly get an cuter? Could it be that freedom looks good on him??

  7. So many things I have taken for granted all these years. Being loved and having freedom are my top two! Thank you for reminding me that I have so much to be thankful for and also so much to give. I pray that I will be obedient when God calls. Thank you for inspiring me! Aaron is so adorable too!

  8. I am so happy he is free and that he has you. For the lost boys... my heart aches for them. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    God bless you

  9. Ok, did you know that reading all of these things has me behaving like a total idiot... laughing and crying!! I am SOOOOOO happy for you all!! I love your posts! I know it wasn't in your plan, but God knew that you all needed a few extra days, and He also knew that the families that you met needed the blessing of meeting you & your wonderful Aaron!! I can't WAIT to see all of your boys together!!

  10. Oh how I understand those feelings. We are still processing them 4 years later. We went back 2 years ago to visit, (not with the girls) and it was another amazing trip. (much less stressful)
    We still are not sure what we will do with all of this in the future. Our church started a ministry to aged out orphans in Ukraine, and to a special Ukrainian minister, Papa Dima, who knew our girls.

    I am thrilled to be involved somehow with orphans there today, but it is overwhelming, just the thought of how much need there is.

  11. You know Aaron,in which Spain is a person who has in his heart, even without knowing you personally?

    Do you know Aaron that wish you all the happiness in the world?

    Do you know Aaron that your wonderful together will have a great life?

    Teresa, españa.

  12. We are on our way this coming Saturday to adopt Corinna (Reeces Rainbow) from Torez. I read your story with much joy. Aaron is beautiful!!

    Feel free to stop by our blog to check and see how our adoption from this mental institution will go!


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!