Monday, April 6, 2015

This One's For You

(Rob writing)

Over the last several days, it has been my privilege to spend a great deal of time with two of the most inspiring people I've ever met. One is Aaron; and the other is our new little guy, Ian.

As someone who cares for Ian, I hope I can say this without fear of recrimination: he is also the shortest person of his age I've ever met.

From the waist up, Ian is powerfully built, with a deep chest, broad shoulders and big hands. His strong arms can pull him up a climbing pole almost as fast as a cat climbs a tree.

He also possesses a skill of which I'm terribly jealous: he can stand on his hands effortlessly, and even hand-walk a few steps. I think that with a bit of practice, this kid could hand-walk from here to the capital.

The story is less positive from the waist down. Ian's legs are short, stiff and twisted, barely adequate to carry him. Although he walks with great energy, his gait is painfully crooked, and his progress painfully slow. Indoors, he relies on his orphanage's many handrails to keep him upright. How he may fare outdoors, we have yet to witness. Fortunately, he has an advantage that Aaron lacks: strong arms to catch himself when he loses his balance.

Oddly enough, Ian's legs are a big part of what makes him so inspiring. Every step costs him so much effort; and yet he never complains or feels sorry for himself. When I think of all he's had to overcome, I am ashamed to recall how often I, who have enjoyed near-perfect health all my life, have nevertheless found reason to feel sorry for myself.

The other part of what makes Ian so inspiring is his winning, ever-positive personality. Given all he's been through-- including multiple abandonments, physical disappointments, painful surgeries and the harshness of orphanage life, just to name a few-- one might expect him to wallow in gloom. Yet he is perhaps the cheeriest person I've met in this country-- unless it's Aaron, who has always shared Ian's gift for greeting each new day with joy.

In our first interview with the orphanage director, we learned how Ian displayed his gift for inspiration on a recent trip to an army hospital. Although people often seem to forget it, this country is at war with a far larger neighbor; and war leaves grievous wounds, both physical and mental. With help from his director, Ian was able to visit some wounded soldiers who had been so traumatized by war that they were refusing to speak to their doctors. Some were grieving over lost limbs; while others were shell-shocked, emotionally shattered by the horrors they'd witnessed. At the very sight of Ian, though, these soldiers began to open up, hopefully taking their first steps down the road toward healing. The director was so proud of Ian, and the doctors begged her to bring him back soon.

In light of all this, my head is spinning with possibilities for what this boy might become. Given the right opportunities, might he become a therapist of some kind? Or perhaps a state department negotiator, or even an ambassador? For someone as naturally engaging and lovable as Ian, the possibilities are endless.


  1. I'm so happy for you! Aaron and Ian seem to make a great team :)

  2. Well, he certainly has a winning smile! What a little charmer.

  3. This is such a beautiful, heartfelt post. I hope I get to meet this special little boy.

  4. Wow, what a wonderful little boy!

  5. I can tell, Rob, that you are totally smitten with this child. I think it's mutual, judging by the photos of you with Aaron and Ian! I'm so looking forward to following in the blog to see both these boys grow up. I'm so glad you share them here! samm

  6. The possibilities are incredible! Good God! He is so perfect for your family! I am so incredibly happy that he was chosen. Thank you for sharing him. Thank you so much! I can't wait to meet him! The Ambassador of Greatness!

  7. The possibilities for Aaron and Ian are endless! The boy's futures look so exciting! I hope I live to see them change the world!
    ((((HUGS)))))) to all!

  8. What a lovely and unexpected gift God made you !
    I think it is quite a lesson for me !
    There are the plans I make, the things I dream of
    and there is what God planned for me.
    Sometimes it is hard to accept but being faithful in our confidence in God is the best thing to do !
    Thank you !

  9. He is awesome :)
    Perfectly meant to be your son.
    And I was just thinking of my cousin, she and her husband raised 4 boys, all dirt, tractors, skinned knees and long afternoons of fishing and sports. My cousin loved every second of it. But she did yearn and wish for pink, for tea parties, paintng little nails, and bows and braids. Her four boys now? All married, and among them she has 3 granddaughters and one more on the way. She is swimming in pink butterflies and once again, loving every minute. So enjoy those boys...and maybe granddaughters are in your future!

  10. I can't decide who is the lucky one in this situation. I suspect that's because you both are. The long road that lead you both to each other is surely evidence of God's larger plan for us all!

  11. There are no words to say how excited I am for Ian and your family. You guys are the vessel to the great things he is destine for!

  12. What a treasure! Congratulations on your new son! And, I envy his upper body strength :-)

  13. It looks as if Ian is a naturally-gifted Para-Olympian in the making! I bet he'd be a whiz at gymnastics. Is modified gymnastics instruction for children available in your area?? Perhaps CHOP's staff could advise about this.

    So glad Ian got to visit and inspire some of his country's "wounded warriors". That sunny smile of his is such a gift.

    So many possibilities, and so many happy surprises, just ahead!

    Susan in Kentucky
    Cousin to 2 from Aaron and Ian's original country

  14. I think these 2 boys will be besties and will do great things in life. So excited for him to go to his new home and start his new life.!

  15. What gems Ian and Aaron are. Can't wait to see how life with a family and American medical care changes Ian's life. Your family is greatly blessed with four handsome boys!!!


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