Friday, May 29, 2015

Facing Reality

As I get closer to travel, I have begun seeking advice from other families who have traveled to the same orphanage to pick up their little ones. Over the past week, I've been in touch with many people who have offered information and pictures about Samuel's orphanage. We were thrilled to get those 3 pictures of our son smiling. But the realities about his "home" are very hard to digest.

The fact is, he lives in an overcrowded institution run by a Communist government. This is not news to us. We are well aware of the reality that exists in China for the millions of children who have been left to fend for themselves. In some ways, we didn't have to face it as much with our adoption of Emily over a year ago, because she lived in a foster orphanage (Harmony House) where they truly did their best to care for her.

Here are a few things we've learned this week, none of which are surprising but all of which deeply pain my heart.

Most of the children at this orphanage have an intestinal, parasitic infection called Giardia. It's awful. Just google it. They do not test for or treat Giardia at the orphanages. Many of the children have had it for so long that their bodies become accustomed to it and are asymptomatic by the time they come home. Chances are Samuel lives with this.

His orphanage has no central heat. The winter was rough. We don't know if they have A/C in the scorching summer heat.

Children with blankets on them in the "play" room

Samuel was born without his left forearm. We are confident that with therapy and practical use, he will learn to function just fine. For now, it seems his lucky fin is simply being covered up. I doubt he is receiving any assistance in learning how to use it. I'm hopeful he will make up for lost time when he comes home, as they all do with their unique special needs.

There's no getting around the simple fact that most of these institutions are filled with hundreds of overcrowded rooms.

One baby room at Samuel's orphanage. We hope mattresses are put in the cribs before the babies are returned.
Other common ailments in the orphanages include scabies, head lice, malnutrition, even scars on ankles from being tied to their cribs. We don't see any evidence that Samuel is affected by these. We pray daily that God will protect him from disease and abuse. It's hard to consider what he may be going through but it's a reality. These realities don't scare us away. Quite the contrary. They drive us.

I'm not trying to be Debby Downer here. I write plenty of posts about the redemption we see offered to many of these children. But we have to face reality. They don't have a voice. I have to be their voice. We have to be their voice. It's all an injustice. One look at these places, one look in to the eyes that barely survive here... it's plenty to convince us that we will never stop fighting. It's too important to the kingdom of God. They are His most treasured ones.

We must go in to the hard places. The price paid for not going is just too high, y'all. And these children don't deserve to pay that price.

Yes, my heart breaks over the conditions Samuel may be experiencing. Hiding from it won't bring justice for him. We will fight every single day to get there as quickly as we can. His life is worth everything to us.

1 comment:

  1. Hello we adopted our son from this orphanage 10 years ago. He was 2 years old when he came home. We are adopting from China again and will be traveling to china in about 2 months and plan to take our son back there for a homeland visit. The reality of his time there will be difficult and beautiful at the same time. Praying for you son and your family as you travel. Blessings!