Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Startling Contrast

As my family adopts from Russia, God is leading us on an amazing journey, a journey that has had some emotionally charged moments. Two of these moments in particular have impacted me deeply. They’ve given me a deeper understanding of the brokenness of our world and that our only hope is in God, who will come to make all things new. These two impactful moments were captured by my parents on a digital video camera while visiting Russia. On this trip, they met my new siblings and spent a few days touring Moscow with a group of orphans and other prospective parents.

The first of these powerful moments was captured on video at the end of the trip. The group had gathered for a Q & A time between the orphans and the adults, tapping the skills of their translator to circumvent the language barrier. Initially the adults asked a few casual questions, and one of the children asked if the adults liked Moscow. However, a fourteen-year-old orphan girl quickly brought the discussion around to more weighty matters. She asked, “Do you want to see us again?” Moved by the depth of her need, the adults quickly answered, “Yes!” Then my ten-year-old brother-to-be asked, “Do you love us?” The adults again emphatically affirmed this. Then the fourteen-year-old who had started the series of questions asked, “Will you show us you love us by giving us a hug?” The prospective parents were moved to tears and responded by moving around the room, hugging their new children and also showing affection to the other children in the room.

There were many tears as the children and adults embraced. The fourteen-year-old girl who had started the more poignant questions was especially moved. This moment was the fulfillment of a dream —it symbolized that she had gained a family who would show her permanent love and affection! This strong desire had been planted in her heart when she was five years old. At that time, a worker with an orphan care agency told her the agency would find a find a family for her and her two siblings. Somehow the agency lost track of the three orphans, and the girl waited for nine long years. Finally, an American couple who had suffered infertility began examining hundreds of photos of Russian orphans, looking for the children just right for them. The couple came to the picture of the three siblings and immediately knew their search was over! After the loving responses to the two questions that had been echoing in her heart for nine years, this orphan was overcome by the gift of a family that would not forget her. I was amazed by how deeply she prized the permanent love and affection of a family, whereas I often take it for granted.

The second impactful moment was captured by a clip in which my mom was hugging one of the three orphans who did not have a host family for the trip. I had seen video clips of these children from points earlier in the trip, and their demeanors had grown more and more dejected and closed as they realized no one would be adopting them. Now, when my mom moved on to hug other children after embracing one of these orphans, the video camera caught his face with an expression of utter loneliness that cut me to the quick. That expression frightened me because I understood that after this event, no one would truly and lastingly care about what happened to him. Good or bad, no matter how great the extreme of his circumstances, no one would be there for him. I was stunned.

How do you move on from an experience like that? How do you go on and live life normally, knowing that another’s life is filled with hardship, loneliness, and misery? Unfortunately, I’ve done it all too easily. That’s why I need to stir myself to remember and pray. I need to beseech my Heavenly Father to give this orphan and countless others like him the security of knowing Jesus. I also need to beg God that He would inspire Christian families to bring orphans like this one into their homes to show the love of Jesus to them.

- Joe

1 comment:

Scott said...

Thanks Joe, for a very thought provoking and insightful article. It hits deeply. I think I've read and reread three times now.