Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Grieving for the Lost Boys

Life would be so much easier if I could just forget.  If I could just erase the images from my mind.  If I could walk away without looking back - Oh the bliss.  It would be so nice to just slip back into our old lifestyle, worrying about the worries of our 'past life', stepping in time with the flow of our schedules from a year ago. 

But I can't forget.  I can't walk away from what we saw.  I can't stop the memories.  I wake up and think of the boys.  I walk through my day and remember the nurses. I see their faces.  I hear their words.  I drive in the car and am caught up in thoughts of the workers - the buildings - the gardens.  I am reminded about life in that institute wherever I turn.  I can't rid myself of the pictures in my mind.  Because pictures were forbidden, we have few pictures on our camera that drag up the heartache that plagues me, but I don't need to see physical reminders.  I acquired a lifetime of pictures in my mind from the six weeks of twice a day visits to Aaron's former home.  I cannot forget. 

I struggle with what I remember and I struggle knowing how to respond.  I don't know how to communicate what we saw to those who weren't there.  What do we do with our knowledge?  How do we go on from here?  I know that unless we become a voice for those Lost Boys in that village, in that forsaken institute, that they may become lost again. 

I shudder, knowing that Aaron's little bed, in that lonely place, has a new boy sleeping in it.  Beds are never empty for long.  I grieve for that new little lost boy.  I grieve knowing that he arrived from some orphanage in some other part of that country.  Scared.  Oh so scared.  The noises, the smell, the chaos.  Nothing like what he has known all his life.  My heart aches for that unknown little boy.  I ache for all the little boys.  For the older boys.  They don't get to stay there.  They will be moved again.  Though it is harsh there, where they will be transferred is a much darker place.  An empty bed in the adult institute will open and they will be moved.   For life.  My heart grieves deep within me.  I cry out at the process. 

We couldn't help but fall in love with those boys.  They scared us at first but in the end - they were our Lost Boys.  Each one that we saw day after day.  Sixty-five boys.  We fell in love.  Dirty, grimy, smelly, crazy boys.  It wasn't supposed to happen.  We were not supposed to notice them.  We were told to look away.  We couldn't.  They became our Lost Boys.  I cannot rid my mind of them.  Their smiles, their waves, their groans.  The ones who hit themselves in the head.  The ones who had to be restrained lest they flee.  Dear ones who came over and shook our hands.  I miss them.  And so I struggle.

Only two of those lost boys have any hope of getting out.  Only two have a chance at a life outside those gates.  Brady and Heath.  Over the course of the next weeks I want to share some of what we saw, what we experienced.  Not to sensationalize but to educate, to encourage and to be a voice of hope and life for all the little ones in the orphanges and in the institutes across Eastern Europe who are waiting, day after lonely day for a family. 


  1. I can't imagine what you saw. I wish my husband was open to adoption but, he isn't at this time but, I will help advocate for these boys. Your story breaks my heart,

  2. Julia, only by those of us who know being voices in the wilderness, crying, will change come. I heard someone say the other day that being a prophet is a VERY lonely job. I don't know what the job title is for what we are doing, but it's lonely at times too. However, God once told me that if my heart is broken by what breaks His heart, I could trust that He would be there to comfort me. I think the same applies to you.


  3. Your pain in this brings to mind something I read - "Let our hearts be broken by the things that break the heart of God." I personally cannot even imagine what it was like for you there, much less what it is like for the children. It must be so hard to know and remember - even what you wrote about the children being fed rotten apples for snacks was horrible to know, and that must be only the tip of the iceburg of what you saw and are carrying. I am praying for strength for you to bear this burden placed on your kind heart.

  4. Oh Julia, I know just how your heart is breaking. Once your eyes are opened to are never the same. I still wake up hear the voices of the other children yelling "mama" and "papa". I sit down for dinner and feel sick because I know on the other side of the world there are still orphans in that same room who are not being fed. I tuck my kids in their warm, cozy bed at night and cry for all the orphans on the other side of the world who are waking up to another day with no love, no kisses, and no hope. I thank the Lord for burdening my heart and giving me the desire to do something about it. Your love for the Lost Boys WILL change their fate and I will come along side you and help you in any way I can. Hugs and blessings.

    Michelle Enskat

  5. Julia,

    I am profoundly grateful that you are talking about and sharing about the Lost Boys. As a mama, my heart hurts to hear and I am moved to action time and again. May each of us search ourselves and serve God in the best way that we can as we become His hands and feet to the Little Lost ones of His.

    Kristin (gcmomblessed)

  6. Yes, I do understand this! It has been 22 years since I visited my first orphanage in Haiti. The eyes of several children still haunt my dreams. I can still feel the desperate arms of a love-starved little girl clutching my neck in a death grip. I don't even let myself think of what they have lived through in 22 years, or even if they lived.

    I believe if you keep seeking the Lord's heart, He will reveal what he wants you to do about what you experienced. Many times I wanted to go back to Haiti. Sometimes I thought I should go on a mission trip. None of my ideas got the go-ahead, though, except for praying for orphans. That I did for 20+ years. Finally, we were brought to Andreas. Part 1 is over.

    Now, I have new faces in my heart. The boys we left behind are "not cleared for adoption". That doesn't change my feelings about them. Adopting Andreas did not erase those memories. Some families adopt again and again. I don't see that happening with our family. So, I will go back to praying, and advocating, and reminding people of the children who are waiting. Praying you will be given clear direction.

  7. I am glad you are posting--I want to hear the rest of the story.

  8. why are they the only ones who are available to be saved?


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!