We need to find homes for orphans to go home to. Alright, maybe “orphans” is the wrong word. Heaven knows that word has been brutalized for monetary purposes. There are “children of systems” who are saved from death without being given a chance at life. That is to say that we feed them and give them shelter until they have one-too-many birthdays. Then we turn them over to a brutal world where they have a few children of their own to place in “systems.” Many of these “children of systems” are alive at the same time as at least one person who was successful in completing a temporary interaction of compatible parts from multiple bodies that resulted in their offspring’s creation. You “get” where I’m going with unreasonable semantic manipulations. What’s the point? I’ll guess I’ll just call these unfortunate children orphans. So… sue me.
After three biological sons, and one adoption of a little boy with Down syndrome, we were back in adoption mode for all the wrong reasons. We wanted little girls. We wanted princesses. We wanted children who looked like us. We wanted. We Wanted! WE WANTED!!! When the unreasonable system that handles “orphans” in the U.S. refused to let us adopt without fostering, we could afford to ignore it. We went overseas.
That is when the light came on. That is when my eyes were opened. That is when I saw warehouses full of orphans (“orphans”). They were children. They were just like my children. They laughed. They played. The shouted and teased. They wanted to grow up and be ballerinas and doctors. They wanted to grow up to be sports stars and professionals. They wanted to grow up in their own families; their own homes. They wanted to grow up.
We decided that we need to give the other siblings a chance, whether or not they were “orphans.”
We were paired with two biological sisters, ages four and two, and then we added an unintended adoption of a one-year-old little boy, a true orphan, who was the unfortunate remainder when both of his parents took their own lives. Soon we learned that our new daughters had older biological sisters in other orphanages. We were told not to worry about it. But we had learned during our recent experiences with warehoused “orphans.” We decided that we need to give the other siblings a chance, whether or not they were “orphans.” Our adoption agency and many of those involved in the Russian system told us not to get involved.
These “orphans” were trouble makers. They were invalids. They were bad. (Yes, that’s as politically correct as it got.) When we insisted, road blocks were stacked up to discourage us. They were not insurmountable, though. It took a year and a half to bring the two teenaged “orphans” home to be with their younger sisters. Yes, they were troubled. They had been traumatized their entire lives. The older one had some learning disabilities and the younger of the teens had moderate intellectual challenges (hardly “invalids”).
There were days we thought that we were losing our minds. It was a lot of work. It was hard. But it was worth it to give “orphans” a home to come home to. The magnitude of that statement didn’t really sink in until one of my older daughters was preparing to go on her first summer camp. One of the women volunteers, a friend of the family, was talking about how excited she was for Annie to go to camp. My wife acknowledged that she was happy for our daughter to be able to spend some time with friends, too.
That wasn’t why the leader of young women was happy, though. “I’m excited for more than that when it comes to Annie,” she said. “This will be the first time that she has ever been able to come back home after leaving.”
And that, my friend, is what giving homes to orphans is all about.
My daughter was nervous as she left for that camp. Who would expect anything different for a teen that had lived as an orphan for half of her life? Upon returning, Annie ran to her mother and squealed while throwing her arms around her. After that reunion, my daughter cautiously entered the house, checking to make sure all of her siblings were still there. She surveyed her bedroom and found everything as she left it. Then she returned for more hugs and squealing.
For the next several days, pure contentment filled my daughters face. A feeling of security and relief emanated from her. And that, my friend, is what giving homes to orphans is all about. I guess it’s not just giving orphans homes to go to, but providing them with homes and families to go back to, and back to, and back to.
If you are sixty, or younger, the excuse of being too old is inadequate. There are plenty of fifteen to twenty-year old “orphans” who need their own families. If you think it is too expensive to adopt, you haven’t contacted Children and/or Family Services in your area to see what programs are available when you give an older child your home. Here’s a link to get you started: https://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/adoptive/expenses.cfm.
That time sent me down a path to see that there are “orphans” in all countries and places.
My life would have been much emptier had I never set foot in an orphanage and learned for myself how much children need their own homes and families. That time sent me down a path to see that there are “orphans” in all countries and places. These are children who need a hand up. It might be a lot of work. There will definitely be frustrations. I think that is what parenting is about, though. And just like those who parent after building their families in other ways, at the end of the day, it is worth it. So, go find an “orphan.” Better yet, go find a sibling group of “orphans” and give those “children of the system” your home.
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