The other day I was talking to my neighbor, who is a middle aged divorced woman. She lives with her two adult sons. Her sons are somewhere around my age, in their 20′s.
I mentioned that we were going to be hosting an orphan from Ukraine soon. She was just shocked. Flabbergasted. She couldn’t believe it. She said, “Why would you want to do that?”
I’ve been surprised at the reactions we’ve gotten from people when they find out we’re hosting a little girl. I understand the worry that it will be like a tease for her to come here and then have to go back, but they are told they are going on a vacation and they understand that. A first world comparison would be like saying you couldn’t send your kid to Disney World because it would be like a tease when they went back home. No, it would just be the most memorable and awesome summer ever. (Obviously that is a very loose comparison to loving an orphan for a few weeks, but you kind of get what I mean, right?)
Past that fear of disappointing the kids, what else could be negative about this? People say they would never be able to do that. They would never want to do that, as if it’s shocking and a little repulsive. Of course it won’t be easy, I’m not completely ignorant. I’m expecting it to be hard in many ways. But would it not be worth it? Why would it not be worth it to change a child’s life by offering them unconditional love, even if it’s only for six weeks?
I think people feel very defensive when it comes to the subject of orphans. Do you think people feel guilty? I have a hunch maybe some people do. They don’t want to hear about, they don’t want to know about it. It’s weird to me, I don’t understand this reaction.
I have learned that everyone is different. For some reason I come hardwired with a soft heart. Can’t help it. I have trouble understanding people who can look at the homeless, the mentally ill, or the orphans, or any suffering person in need of love and just move on.
It’s certainly NOT because I’m some kind of saint, or perfect, or anything like that. Far, far, from it. I struggle with things just like everyone else–money, sometimes crippling anxiety, IBS, I’m not patient enough with my kids, my house is too messy, my kids are not perfectly behaved, I’m tired and grumpy, and on and on…no different than most other human beings, or at least those who are willing to admit their faults. ;-)
I can’t move on because it literally breaks my heart. I will think of someone’s sad eyes for hours afterward, for days, at random moments, or when I’m trying to sleep. I physically feel their pain and sadness. I worry about them, even if they are strangers. I can’t help it. I am overloaded with compassion and I don’t know why. There’s no excuse or reason, I just am. I naturally pick up on emotions. (I think that’s why I love photography. I seek out emotions and then photograph them.)
My mom always tells me that I can’t save the world. She’s been telling me that since I was a little kid. You know what? I can’t save the whole world, she’s right. But I can save the people within my reach.
Today we had our homestudy. It’s not a full homestudy for adoption. It’s a shortened version where the social worker does a quick interview, checks around your house to make sure it’s clean and safe, and then she writes a two page report on our home and family. The full homestudy is several visits and a 8-10 page report. (If we do decide to adopt we can count this homestudy as the first visit towards the big 8-10 page report!)
I was really nervous about a social worker checking over my house, but it was fine. I did some super frantic cleaning and organizing until the wee hours of the morning in preparation. The social worker was very nice. She also has chickens, which is cool.
Now that the homestudy is done we have nothing left to do but wait. T is flying into Atlanta and we’re picking her up there on Wednesday the 18th. We find out the exact arrival time tomorrow. We’re staying in Fayetteville outside of Atlanta with Tyler’s Grandma. It’s shut down week for the Toyota plant, so it worked out perfectly. This is Tyler’s one week off a year.
Today we got some more pictures of the kids from T’s orphanage. It’s a photo album of a VBS put on by some visiting Americans. Looking through the pictures I felt so sad. It really hit home just how many kids live there. It looks like a school with outdated decorations and playground equipment.
I just keep thinking of what it would be like to grow up in a huge group of kids. When you’re sick or scared you can’t just run to your parent to be cuddled. No one tucks you in at night and whispers I love you. No one tells you you’re beautiful, smart, or gives you praise, or holds your hand. T has never in her seven years of life been someone’s beloved child.
How would it be to grow up without any memories of a family?
Here I go again with my broken heart. Send help.