Sunday, November 04, 2012

Orphan Sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. A day that brings awareness to the millions of children around the world that are without families. Everywhere else in the world they are known as orphans, but not American children, they are called fostered youth fostered youth is less traumatic than being orphaned. As Americans, we like things neat and pretty. We push aside and hide things that we deem undesirable. We rename things to make them sound less harsh. But the reality is there are still over 500,000 orphans in this country, with 100,000 of them being legally available for adoption right now. In this country, with all of our resources, this should not exist!
I have experienced first hand how broken this system is. I know families that have worked hard for months and even years to adopt, to just get frustrated because the process to become an adoptive parent is too difficult. I have had to give back baby Leah after we nursed her back to health, to her drug abusing, neglectful parent who continues to get herself in to domestic violent relationships. And now I am the mom of a special needs child who went back and forth between a abusive and neglectful family and foster care. My heart breaks to know that most of these kids become damaged emotionally to the point that most people would not even try to parent them. And they then eventually age out. These are the kids that we have failed. Kids like my Sweetie's biological sister. She is only 14 and has become so damaged by the years of abuse and neglect that she would rather live on the streets than be in a foster home. Can you image you have been hurt and failed by every adult in your life? Who would you trust? How could you trust? If Cris & I had not been led to adopt her, Sweetie would surely follow in her sister's footsteps. I can not bear to think of this long. To think of Sweetie living on the streets, having to do what ever is needed to survive makes me sick. But the harsh reality is that many of these kids do end up this way. Those who age out of the system have no where to go and noone to call family. Can you imagine having noone to come to your high school graduation? To have nowhere to go on Thanksgiving or Christmas? With noone to love and noone who cares? How do you survive that?
I will not lie and say that parenting Sweetie is not challenging. It is the most difficult thing I have done in my life. I am tested daily on how much can I love unconditionally. But, how can I not love her with all that I am and even with what I am not? I often hear from people how I should be commended for adopting her, as if she was not worth being adopted. Like she is a lesser person. This is really offensive to me. Yes it is hard, but it is I who receives the blessing. I am the one who has gained from this relationship. She has opened my heart to love more than I ever imagined possible. I have spent years protecting my heart from getting too close to anyone. Yes, I am a "good person", yes I will do anything for anyone, including perfect strangers. But when it comes to truly deeply loving someone and letting them completely into my heart, it just does not happen that often. But she has done it, she found a small little crack in my wall and wiggled her way right in. I will be grateful to her forever for allowing me to experience this kind of love. A true mother's love.
With all my heart I know this is something that I need to do again. I know now is not the time. Sweetie It may be years before we can do it again. Sweetie needs individual time and affection right now. It might even be once Sweetie has gone off to college or where ever her path may lead her. I have a longing to be the mom of the children who have been deemed unfit for a family.  I would adopt them all, just so they had a place to belong. Someone to call family. To just not be alone in this world.

- I started this blog early this am when I could not sleep and stopped because I finally got sleepy.I am glad I did stop. The message today at Warehouse 242 confirmed this for me. Our message in service today was this... "To care and not do something is not caring at all." That God's opportunities to care for others are never convenient and always come at a cost (money or time). The opportunities are all around us. It may be helping a neighbor, feeding a stranger or it may be a greater sacrifice and opening your heart and your home to a child or children with no family. I know this is not a calling for everyone. And I do believe it is a calling. But if it is something you have been called to do, I promise the blessings in the little things make everything worth it.

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