Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Lies, Lies and the Hard Truth

I don't know Conrad's story but if it is anything like John and Aaron's - he was abandoned at birth.

He was left behind - his crooked little body rejected.  His Mama probably cried a river when she walked out of the hospital empty-handed. But in that world - most Mamas don't look back. If they do it is to console themselves that they are better off in the orphanage. That's what the doctors tell them. That's what the nurses say. That's what their family whispers. Better off. Leave them. The government will take care of him.




I know.

My boys were not better off.


No child in an orphanage is ever better off than in a family.

No helpless baby is better off learning that their anguished cries will not be heard.

My boys screamed for their Mamas in those first weeks of life.

They cried tears that were not consoled until they learned to not cry again.

They learned to not cry.

They learned that wet, dirty diapers were not often changed. 
They learned that hungry bellies were not always filled. 
They learned that meal times were rushed and food was expected to be eaten quickly.
The learned to gag down their food fast.

They learned to swallow their vomit to keep their belly full.

They learned that they had to create their own soothing tricks to comfort themselves against the dark nights and lonely days.
They learned that by rocking their bodies back and forth in the crib they felt better.

They learned to know who the nannies were who cared. 
They learned to know who the nannies were who harassed and harmed them. 
They learned that hands are often harsh and fast and quick. 
They learned to turn off their desire for gentle, loving touch. 
They learned to recoil when hands came close. 

They learned that no one was going to teach them anything. 
They learned only the world inside their section of the building. 
They learned that disabled children are second class citizens. 

They learned tricks to get attention. 
They learned that their dimples got them favors. 
They learned to smile.

 Even when smiling was the last thing they felt in their hearts.

They learned.

And that was just in the first few weeks of life.

In just the first few weeks of life they experienced abandonment, neglect, hunger, pain, fear, harshness, loneliness, distress

In the first few weeks of life they learned to shut down emotionally.

In the first few weeks of life they learned the coldness of a world inside an orphanage.

In the first few weeks of life they learned coping mechanics to survive.

In the first few weeks of life they came face to face with the reality that they were completely alone.

In just the first few weeks of life.

The damage and trauma from that cannot be erased apart from the grace of God.

They are not better off.

And that is the plain truth.

But not the full truth.

Because in their country - a family with a disabled child faces challenges that equal Job's troubles.

Sometimes hospitals won't take or care for a disabled child unless the family is able to pay bribes.

Hospitals that do take them are often unwilling to go the extra miles for them because, "They are disabled, what do you expect."

Therapies are difficult to access.

Special education does not exist.

Navigating around is next to impossible as there are no modifications for wheelchairs. Buildings are not accessible, sidewalks are broken and treacherous. Buses, trains and other public transportation have no accommodations for the handicapped.

The attitude of the people is that disabled children need to be put away. The pressure is intense on families who want to keep their child. They fight to even validate their child's existence in the society.

There are some charities and some programs but not everyone has access to those programs.

It's a steep hill for families to climb if they choose to keep their child.

Most can't afford to climb that hill.

Most can't handle the pressure from their families and friends that they need to give the child up.

Most have to face the reality that they have no money or means to care for their babe in the ways they need.

Most latch onto the words of the doctors and the nurses who urge them to give their child up as a lifeline to their child. Believing that their child will truly be better off in an orphanage. Believing the lies. Because they have little choice. 

And so they leave them behind. Hoping. Praying. Crying. Not looking back. Few ever look back. 

And their tiny little babe is left alone in the world. Stuffed into a crib beside 10-20 other cribs of babies who also have been left alone.

Babies who stopped crying after weeks and weeks of abandonment.

Babies who learned at the tiniest of age that life hurts.

It just plain hurts.

And that's the hard truth.

I don't know Conrad's story but I can imagine it is close to what I just wrote.

Because it is a common story over there.

It is a story both my sons share.

It's why I can't just walk away.

Because if we don't yell or advocate for the forgotten ones - the least of these - who will?

Conrad needs out.

I know hearts are being stirred for him. His grant account is rising. Please don't stop. His Mama and Papa are listening. I know it. And they are looking for signs. They are looking for a fleece from God. Reassurance. Is this cliff one we should jump??  

Our gifts to Conrad are one simple way to encourage, reassure. God's going to provide. Bit by bit. Little by little. Money can't be the reason that stands in the way for Conrad to find a family.

Please help me get Conrad to 1,000 and beyond!!  Please sow into his life. Not all of us are called to adopt but we are all called to care for the orphans. 

And this happens to be a really adorable little orphan!!


P.S. - The tragedy of the disabled in Conrad's country is something that needs to be fixed in country. Rob and I support adoptions but we also believe in supporting ministries that come alongside families so that they can keep their children. Some of these ministries are listed below if you want to help families keep their children at home.

MTU - They bring dignity and hope to children with special needs and their families by offering medical, therapeutic, educational, psychological, spiritual and social services to their clients.

HU - Their ministry includes children from troubled homes, children with special needs, refugees, graduates of the orphanage, families who have adopted and/or are fostering children, and meeting the needs of the older generation

MAYA'S HOPE - They provide families with the basics they need to support their children - formula, diapers, medicines, therapies and more. 

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