Saturday, October 5, 2013

The hardest part

The most difficult part of our Ukrainian adoptions has not been the maddening and seemingly impossible paperwork. Not the multiple layers of government clearance. Not even the huge mountain we call fundraising.

The most difficult part for me is leaving the other children behind, knowing what will likely happen to them. Most kids with even mild disabilities will live their lives behind locked gates of an asylum. Typically developing boys and girls growing up in orphanages face huge challenges as well.

Unwanted, unloved, and with few practical skills, orphan girls often turn to prostitution. The boys get involved in crime. Drugs are freely available to escape from the pain. 10% commit suicide before they reach the age of 18.

I consider myself fortunate to have visited many facilities during our adoption of Max. From an adult mens' mental asylum to trade school dorms, I met some of the most precious people. The young man with Down Syndrome who begged me to pray for his hurting teeth. The big talking teen boy with a swagger...who remembered my name after a whole month when I visited his dorm a second time. The little girl who gave me her Masha doll as a gift. The young woman who had escaped a life of drugs and prostitution, but not without losing her good health. I hold all these in my heart now.

One boy grabbed my heart and just won't let go. Today was his birthday and I just get very emotional when I think about this sweet boy.

The first time I met him, he would not leave my side. He wanted to show me his English book and we practiced reading some sentences together. He wanted to please me so much!

The second time I visited him was for his facility's Christmas program. All the kids did a wonderful job performing. The priests were there giving out baskets of candy, but he was willing to hang out with me for a few minutes and let me take some pictures.

Perhaps you wouldn't ever consider adopting a disabled child (it's NOT for everyone, I get it)...but would you consider a teen? Gosh, I have met some of the absolute SWEETEST teens...I'll tell you about a couple of others next time.