Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cookie cutter orphans

There is about a hundred different blog posts I have been wanting to write lately. But this one seems to be one that has been weighing heavily on my heart. It has been weighing on my heart for some months now, as I see so many blogs popping up on adoption morals, short term missions trips, orphan care, and so on and so forth. Everyone seems to have a opinion on the matter, and very good arguments! I am not saying I am against adoption, or by no means am I rallying behind unethical adoptions. But, as I find myself reading over these blogs, and posts, I find myself confused and frustrated, with all the posts and view points that seem to contradict one another.

And I also find myself sitting here going "Man, that is a good point! They are totally right!" and then a few days later I find myself on another blog that contradicts the previous one, saying the same thing. Because they do have good points, and I guess perhaps I find myself drawn to the passion and conviction sometimes of the writers, or whatnot. But I find it so easy to find myself discouraged, and frustrated, I guess because I so easily can relate to both sides of the coin.

And I think we all have our whole heart in it. But sometimes when we rely solely on our emotions we find ourselves making decisions that are not always the right thing. Our emotions often lie to us, just ask the girl who feels she is not good enough, or a failure. Just as the person who feels like a screw up. It doesn't mean they are right, and no one is a screw up, we all make mistakes. And to go into anything solely based on your emotions, and not armed with council of those who have gone before us, or have more experience. Well, is not the brightest idea. We might find ourselves making decisions based solely on our emotions, which can cause problems for everyone involved.

And then in the midst of it all...... are the orphans. And I realized that a long time ago, I stopped painting them simply with that one brush. It started to seem odd to be considered to be involved in orphan care, because there was so much more to these kids down the street, in the room next to me, curled up in my arms, or grabbing my hand for prayer before dinner. I realized a long time ago I stopped seeing them as "orphans" but started to see them as "Moses, Alysee, Doreen, Kevine...." and the list could just keep going for a long time. Their opinions, talents, hopes, dreams, and personalities differ so greatly. Because they are not simply "orphans". Orphan is not their personality, it is simply a word for a circumstance in which they are in.

And as things change rather rapidly around here, and often I find myself questioning what is best for these "orphans". And sometimes questioning if some of my decisions is what is best for them, and then wondering all kinds of things. And sometimes we find ourselves sitting around and saying "I don't know." more times than I can count on my hands.

I guess it is because there is no cookie cutter orphan. And to be defined simply by only a circumstance, is limiting. Just as if we painted every child in a certain town, village, ethniticty, with the same brush. As if they are limited just because of a circumstance far beyond their control, without considering their individual needs, hurts, hopes, dreams, potential, and personalities. I know me and my sister Kim grew up in the same home, and our reactions to things could never have been more opposite. I remember when my grandmother Zielke died holding my hand when I was a pre-teen, and I walked solemnly down the hallway, and knocked on her door, her reaction was strong, fierce, loud, and passionate. But my response was the complete opposite as I always have been the kind of person who needs to process things. I remember even trying to process how I should react to this. I know, that's just different than most people. And my needs in the midst of such loss at such a young age (I know to some it might seem not such a big loss, but my grandmother lived with us, and she was a face I saw daily, and was part of my everyday life from the time I was born, till I held tightly to her wrinkled hand, and watched her gasp her last breath.) What Kim needed to process and cope with the loss, was totally different than me. Had someone came and painted us with the same brush, having grown up in the same house, and facing the same circumstance, one of us would have had to be drug along, and would have found ourselves outside what we really needed in that moment in time.

I kinda stopped reading all these articles, and blogs, and opinions. Because I stopped being so focused on what "orphan care" should look like. And stopped trying to fit my girls and moses in a neatly wrapped little box. And want to look at their individual needs. And trust me, I am still learning everyday. Just this morning I talked to one of my sweet girls and apologized for being so persistent to want to know what is bothering her, and not giving her room to process sometimes when she needs it. And this bone headed mama is working on that. Because they are not simply orphans, and what is best for each of them, is not what is best for every orphan.

I don't know the solution to orphans all over the world. I HATE that some people find themselves in such poverty, they choose to leave their children like a delivery on a doorstep, because they cannot afford to educate, give good nutrition, or feed their kids in general. That is NOT the answer, and for some of these children, the answer is providing parents with tools and skills and opportunities to raise their own children. And for another child whose parents have died, or is mentally unstable, or do drugs or alcohol and have no desire to raise them, then placing them in there is not the answer, to force them back into the arms who are incapable and unwilling to raise them. Adoption is not always long term answer to orphan care. So many people wanting to adopt children, that some place create orphans to meet the demand of adoption in particular places. My head is already starting to spin trying to consider all the different things involved in the current orphan. Orphanages are not the answer, because God never created a institution for children to grow up, but families.

And I sit here once again, throw my hands up in the air, and say "I DON'T KNOW!" I don't know the answer and I don't know the perfect solution.

And then I listen to the girls singing out back. And I don't think the "orphan girls" are outside, but its each individual voice of theirs. Not a single one of them a poster child of the word "orphan." Not a single one of them like the other, and not a single circumstance for each of them the same as the other.

So I guess this post just goes on the say.... I don't know.


Don't put them all in the same little box, defined simply by a circumstance.

In Christ,


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