Friday, March 16, 2012

The Unbeloved

While we were in country waiting to adopt Aaron back in 2010, we visited him at his mental institution more than 60 times: Once in the morning and again in the afternoon, every day, day after day until all of our court dates and waiting periods were finally finished.

During one of those visits, we happened to be sitting on the sidewalk playing with Aaron when, suddenly, the gates of the institution opened and a 1960s-vintage ambulance backed onto the grounds.  Moments later, two of the institution's caretakers came rushing up the sidewalk, each of them carrying one end of something that I thought for a moment was a stiff, heavy board.  A moment later, I realized what they were really carrying: It was a boy, a boy with an unnaturally rigid body.  Even though one caretaker held him by his shoulders, and the other by his feet, his waist was unbending.  His legs were so contorted that the caretakers had trouble grasping them.  His face was unbelievably white, as colorless as a corpse's.  The caretakers rushed past us and loaded him into the ambulance.

We never found out what happened to that poor boy. We didn't know enough of the language to ask any questions, and everyone there was too suspicious of us to tell us anything anyway. It was only through my reading that I knew what I had just seen: That boy was one of the hidden ones from the "lying-down rooms," the rooms where special needs kids lie in cribs all day, every day without receiving a trace of affection or human interaction.  The ones who are too weak to sit up, even for meals.  The ones who spend their entire lives untouched, unbeloved.

These Unbeloved did not arrive at Aaron's institution walking and talking; no one there starved them or beat them into their weakened condition.  Most of them were already weak when they arrived from lying-down rooms in baby houses all over the region.  These are the rooms that no one likes to discuss - the rooms for orphans who are considered too weak or too disabled to live in the company of others.  The Unbeloved may be the failure-to-thrive babies.  They may be the ones who cry too much, or not enough.  They may be the ones who have colic, or other infant ailments.  Or they may just be the ones who drive their caretakers crazy.

For any or all of these reasons, the Unbeloved end up being placed in lying-down rooms along with other children who are sick and weak.  At first, they cry out in protest; but when their cries continue to go unanswered for days, weeks, and months on end, they learn that crying won't do them any good.  So they just lie there in their cribs all day, day after day, staring at the rails.

The Unbeloved do not know what it is to be picked up, held or carried.  The only human interactions they receive are feedings and diaper changes.  Their "food" is often a drinkable mixture that their caretakers pour down their throats as they lie in their cribs, using a bottle with a large nipple.  They have only a few minutes to empty their bottles; whatever they can't swallow fast enough dribbles out of their mouths.  Because they are typically rationed just 2 diapers per day, they spend most of their time lying on wet sheets and in soiled clothes.


They just lie in their cribs hour after hour, day after day.  For stimulation, they rock themselves back and forth.  For entertainment, they twiddle their fingers in front of their eyes.  For excitement, they bang their heads against their crib rails, hard.  They live in their own little isolated worlds, friendless and abandoned.


Over the last couple of years, we have watched several of our friends cross the ocean to rescue the Unbeloved from their unbelievably sad lying-down rooms.  Each time, we've seen something amazing happen: These formerly failure-to-thrive babies suddenly begin to thrive.  As soon as the Unbeloved get a little bit of the love that they've been missing, they begin to surprise everyone with what they can accomplish. The proof is in these before-and-after pictures:

This is Victoria, whom we've been blessed to meet at Shriners Hospital....


This is Carrington, who is now thriving in her Mama's arms....
Carrington Ann   

This is Kori, who almost didn't survive....

I could go on and on. Just in the last few weeks, several more have come out, many of them landing in hospitals the moment they arrived on American soil: Gideon, Micah, Conner, Cooper, Andrey and Sasha.  Formerly Unbeloved children who were destined to spend their entire lives in lying-down rooms unless someone intervened.

There are still so many more.  Uncounted hundreds, even thousands. Abandoned, Unbeloved children who will spend their entire lives staring through the rails of their cribs. They will grow in age, but not in size - their bodies will adjust to the confines of their cribs, and to the limited nutrition that they receive.


Now we come to the children and families that we've been featuring in our Mulligan Stew Giveaway.

 Hanson is one of the Unbeloved.


Right now, Hanson is lying in a crib in Aaron's old institution.  Abandoned and unnoticed - even by us. Although his grant account has been open for a year, he has only a few hundred dollars in it, half of that gained in the last week.

He is completely without hope unless someone intervenes.

You can help  Hanson  by following this link and donating HERE.  Or, perhaps - Is the Lord is calling you to cross the ocean and rescue Hanson yourself?


The children from Katie's former orphanage were also Unbeloved.


Until recently, Katie's orphanage was brimming with the Unbeloved.  This particular orphanage was one of the worst in the world: Over two hundred children lay dying in their cribs, their conditions so miserable as to be almost unimaginable. Their bodies covered with sores from lying in their own waste.  Their flesh so emaciated that they looked like skeletons.

But God is changing that.  He has heard their pitiful cries, and through the adoption of Katie, God is opening that orphanage's doors.

The outside world has become aware of that orphanage's horrors, and changes are coming. Within the last week, medical teams have visited that orphanage and determined that 30 of its children need immediate, serious medical attention.  Many more of them had broken bones due to rough treatment.  Since their broken bones went untreated, they healed incorrectly.

The situation is there is simply shocking.  One child, who was admitted directly to the hospital, weighed only 14 pounds at 14 years of age.  Shelly Bedford is in that orphanage's country right now, and has visited both the orphanage and the hospital.  She has seen that14-year-old with her own eyes, and wept as she held her.  She has been trying to raise money to help provide supplies and treatment for the children there.  Her blog is HERE.

Last week two of the moms from our Mulligan Stew Giveaway, Jenny Sousa and Shelly Burman, visited the children that they're in the process of adopting from that orphanage.

They held them and loved on them.

They washed them and put medication on their sores.  They dressed them in clean clothes and covered them with kisses, love and prayers.


Then they went around to visit all of the other babes who have places at our Mulligan Stew table.  To Ian, Keith, Teddy, Val, Steward, Angelina, Kolina, Makayla, Samantha, Annie and Baby N.  They picked all of them up, washed them and cared for them.  They dressed them in clean clothes and showered them with kisses.  They whispered promises in their ears that their Mamas were coming soon.  That their Papas were doing everything they could to get them out.  

All 16 of our Mulligan Stew babes from that orphanage received love for a few hours last week.  All 16 received whispered prayers in their ears and blessings on their heads.  All 16 had a little hope breathed into their hearts. 

There are so many more.

Within just the last 24 hours, two more children from that orphanage became available for adoption, and were listed on Reece's Rainbow.  Two more little Unbeloved who now have hope of escaping their misery.   I would be remiss if I did not share their pictures with you.

SARAH                                                      CARISSA

"A Common Stew for an Uncommonly Good Cause!"




  1. There are so many kids in these rooms. On Erika's records, her first 4 years are missing. She was in a laying down room. :(
    I am still amazed at God's hand in her life. The words are haunting to this day. "Do you still want to see her? She was in a laying down room. Don't expect much."
    But God.....

    1. Those words at the end of mike and Christie's are the hope and the reason . . . . "But God. . . "! But God can bring them home. But God can keep them till we get there. But God can change hearts. But God made them all. But God loves each one. THANK GOD!

  2. Out of the blue today I received a check for a refund of medical expenses from several years ago. It was totally unexpected. I donated that amount and a little more, $500 total, to Emmitt. I hope his family finds him soon!

    Sue H.

  3. God bless you for alll that you're doing to help these families and orphans <3 I'm hoping to be able to donate again before this ends, in the mean time I'll be praying hard and sharing. I shared on fb and Twitter and +1 on Google though I admit I'm not exactly sure what that means as I never really use my Google+ account :)

  4. May God continue to use you and your words, my friend.

  5. I donated $50 to the Brown family.

    Best regards,
    Suzanne Bouffard

  6. shared on my blog, shared on facebook twice, shared on twitter 3 times...will try to donate as soon as i can xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  7. just shared AGAIN on both facebook and twitter!donated to Heim family and then an additional $10 to emmitt! how i wish i could go get him!!! soryy it cant be more...financially we are wiped out at the moment!

  8. julia i have to add i am in awe honey of what you have done here!you are such a blessing to so many xxxxxxxxxxx

  9. THANK you so much for standing up for these children, for being their voice! Truly some of these children should be just as published as the "Invisible Children" in Africa. ALL children should be loved, protected and in famlies!
    Can I have permission to re-post to my blog?

  10. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I
    am having troubles with your RSS. I don't understand why I can't
    join it. Is there anybody having similar RSS issues?
    Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond?


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!