Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Aaron's Nothing

      We live a harried life.  Running here, there and everywhere.  We work, take our kids to this activity, then that activity, rush to meetings, juggle schedules and cook, clean and work side-jobs in our spare time.  We rarely have time to do Nothing.

     We love doing Nothing.  A day where we have no appointments, no meetings and no places where our children have to be.  An evening where we can stay at home, curl up as a family with a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie.  An afternoon where we can take a walk or play in the yard.  Nothing.  Nothing so that we can do what we find pleasurable.  Reading a book, building a puzzle, playing a game.  Nothing has warm connotations, happy thoughts.  Nothing is what we live for as a family. 

For us, in America, Nothing means Everything.

For the Lost Boys and Girls, Nothing means NOTHING.

This is what NOTHING looks like for the Lost Boys at Aaron's former institute.  This was Aaron's Nothing.  A shed with Nothing in it but carpets and benches.  Nothing. 

On warm days, 20 plus boys will be led to this shed.  20 plus boys will go inside this shed.  A bench will be placed across the door so that they will not be allowed to leave.   Then, those 20 plus boys will do nothing.  They will sit inside that shed.  They will sit.  They will rock.  They will cry out.  They will moan.  They will stare at the walls.  They will hit each other.  They will hit themselves.  They will sit.  They will sit.  They will wait.  After hours of sitting they will get to leave for another shed, to eat.  They will be forced to eat quickly so that they can be led back to this shed.  To do Nothing.  In the afternoon they will be led to their rooms.  They will be made to lay down on their beds.  For hours they will lay on those beds.  Some will sleep to escape.  Others will lay and do Nothing.  Staring at the walls, ceiling - staring at Nothing.  When it is time to get up, they will go back to their shed.  Again, to do Nothing. 

On rainy days, or cold days, they will stay in their buildings.  They will not leave those buildings.  They will not venture downstairs or get to visit the other boys in the other buildings or even in the other part of their building.  No.  They will stay in their section.  They will sit in the sitting room.  It is as empty as the shed.  Benches and carpets.  They will sit.  They will sit and they will do Nothing.  They will rock.  They will moan.  They will hit each other.  They will hit themselves.  They will sit.  They will wait.  They will stare at the four walls.  They will do Nothing.

Once in a while, on weekends, they will get to hear music.  The bigger boys will get to do jobs.  Some jobs that are heart-breaking.  The best behaved boys will get to kick a deflated ball sometimes.  Sometimes a stick can be found for drawing in the dirt.  Sometimes they will even let a child or two play in the sand pile that is often used as a toilet.  Sometimes.  On really rare days, when visitors come, they may even get out a hidden toy or two.  Rarely.  Most of the time, they do Nothing.

Nothing for the Lost Boys and Girls in Eastern Europe means Nothing.

Two worlds.  Our Nothing.  Their Nothing.  Can we just sit by and do Nothing?


  1. Great post...and no we can not stand by and do nothing..May I post it to my blog?...Some people just don't get what it is like for these orphans and you said it right.

  2. I hope it is okay I posted this on my blog. You did such a good job in expressing the need. It hurts.

  3. Posting to Katya's Blog. I want people to understand *why* we are so passionate to get her out before she too is forced to do NOTHING.

  4. Julie, we sat a couple of rows behind you at church and I was admiring your three boys. I have three boys myself, all adopted so I'm always enamored with families of multiple boys because I believe that takes a special kind of parenting! :) I was touched at how loving and affectionate your 12 year old was with your newest addition. Your youngest had the biggest smile on his face and his eyes were even smiling. You have been and are making such a big impact in his life. Be blessed this holiday season and always!

  5. Beautifully written...breaks my heart.

  6. I experienced this nothingness, too. I think the children may be bored to death as much as anything else. Those glassy-eyed faraway stares broke my heart just as much as the emaciated bodies.

  7. I'm sick with the thought of nothingness, of wasted time, a wasted life.

    I'm the bride of Christ, so how do I redeem the days Jesus has given me? I toss them aside with entertaining myself, satisfying my own needs/goals/wants/desires/whims. I spend an hour every week glorifying my God & the other 167 glorying in myself as I roll around in His merciful blessings.

    This horrid sinfulness is exponentially worse because all the while there is a defenseless child, thousands of defenseless children, forced to endure humanity's worst poverty, a wasteland of His life and His love and His light. I willingly create the same void in my life in which they are imprisoned, and then refuse to hear their cries, or to give up my "nothing" in order to rescue them from theirs.

    Such a strange woman, one who would disregard the basic care of the young, is not worthy to be taken as a Bride.

  8. Very well written Julia. You are doing a wonderful job at sharing your heart and knowledge in an honest and truthful way.

    Now in tears I am left wondering exactly what action I can take to help, what more I can do, as I am forever feeling like I am NEVER doing enough.

  9. That gave me chills. That is written well enough to be published... seriously.

  10. It was a damp, cold day at our house and my kids complained incessently about being bored. That's with a ton of toys, Legos, crafts, videos, board games, a half a dozen siblings to play with. I wanted to smack them. After reading this I just want to hug them. My husband and I are waiting to hear in our hearts what we should do about the orphans, should we bring one (or more) home, should we help another family bring a child home? In the meantime we continue to donate but there is no chance that any of us should just do NOTHING.

  11. We have 5 boys from Ukraine and I am forever changed. I am so moved by this post, as it affirms our decision to adopt a teenage sibling of our boys and one additional unknown child in July 2011! I cannot sit and do NOTHING!

  12. Ugg! I am very glad you are helping to make people aware- and so very sorry that they are there. I am so glad Aaron is no longer there. You can't help but smile at how happy he is in your family.


  13. I can't help but thinking as I am reading this that perhaps this is why God let Aaron be transferred out of the baby you would have the eyes to see and ears to hear and then the words to share to make life better for His "Lost Boys". May He use us as well. Bless you!

  14. Excellent Post Julia, and so very sad. :(
    It is so hard to fathm and you put it into words so very well.
    Our girls were forced to sit and watch MTV or Soap Operas. There were toys, but they were not allowed to play with them. Erika said, "those are for the visitors so they know we have toys."

    Chairs were lined up and they sat. :(

    Aaron's place is even worse. This kind of place is where she was scheduled to go, but they hid her for 7 months.

    The Lord knows. He moves on the hearts of those who can do something; and then he cries.

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  16. I see the signs of nothing in Liza too. In the way that she uses her hands to entertain herself and the dark marks on the base of her spine and hip bones. It breaks my heart to even think about it and she was in a "good" orphanage. I shudder to think of what it might have been like for her if she had been transferred.

    Would it be ok to use on my blog? I will quote you and add a little of Liza's story. I LONG for the day that the Church really wakes up to the need!

  17. I am glad Aaron is out of there. I do wish they treated those boys better. I do want more kids to get adopted out of there. I really do wish that more people would consider adoption if they want to be parents. People don't need to be making lots of money, have a home like those in the home and garden catalogs, etc.

  18. I am glad Aaron is out of there. I do wish the boys there were treated better. I hope more children get out of that place. I do wish more people would consider adoption.


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