Luck for the Luckless

Luck for the Luckless

Beauty.

Worth.

Oftentimes these two things go hand in hand. They are symbiotic: Beauty makes a person worth something; worthiness is judged based on the external.

Today I’m calling that out for the lie that it is.

Worth is a thing we are all born with. Our worth was given to us a long, long time ago, when we lived in a home made of flesh and blood and water and love…our mother’s wombs. In that first home we were declared priceless. We were declared irreplaceable. We were declared inimitable.

We were declared worth dying for.

This is the Truth of Who We Are. It’s an Inescapable Truth that applies to all mankind. God’s love for man isn’t love for men. It’s for man. The individual. He loves us like we’re the only one around. Sure, as it is with any gift or offer of kindness, you can choose to ignore it, or throw it away, or laugh at it. You can do whatever the hell you want to with it. It’s called free will, baby, and it (much like our worth) is our birthright.

Why am I harping on this today?

Shaina-1

This is Shaina. She’s lived her life in an orphanage, with no mom or dad or brothers or sisters to call her own. In a few months time, her chances at having a home of her own will go down the tubes.

Shaina is beautiful.

piper

This is Piper. Piper’s needs are many – so much so that it’s likely she’ll spend her entire life in what’s (ever-so-kindly) termed as a ‘laying-down room’ – aka, a place to put unwanted children who have too many needs to deal with. She won’t learn to sit up. She won’t learn to walk. What she will learn is how to cope with life in a cage – chewing on her fingers, banging her head on the bars of her crib.

Piper is beautiful.

Jackson-2007-279x300

This is Jackson. He’s missing one foot. Instead of prosthetics and patient, loving care, he will get a crib. Like Piper, that crib will be his cage.

Jackson is beautiful.

Here’s the Truth of Who These Kids Are:

Just like you and me, they were declared Priceless by the One who gives worth to all things. Just like you and me, they were made by a Creator who does all things well and with intention. By a Creator who makes no mistakes. 

But unlike you and me, these kids break the mold. They are not the norm. And because of that, their lives – their precious, priceless lives – are lost to cribs and walls and minimal care. And love? What do they know of love? The love of a daddy who would scour the surface of the earth just to rescue them? The love of a mommy who would sell her soul to buy the one she’s found?

That’s the kind of love these kids need. The kind of love that matches the worth that was attached to them at the moment of their conception. The kind of love that doesn’t simply see physical deformity or potential medical expenses or the inevitable grief of burying a child in your lifetime.

They need love that does not fear. They need love that lives in courage. They need love that feeds on service and obedience.

Don’t give in to your gut-level knee-jerk reaction. Don’t give into the Oh-I-Could-Never-Do-That and the I’m-Not-Strong-Enough and the That’s-Not-What-I’m-Called-To-Do. We’re talking about the weakest, most vulnerable of our kind. The ones that are wholly dependent on the rest of us to do the right thing.

This doesn’t mean you have to go to a far-away land and adopt. I certainly haven’t. Obviously, the need is there, but there are other ways to help.

*GIVE. The families who are planning the rescue of their soon-to-be-adopted children are facing ridiculous financial hurdles. Help them out.

*ADVOCATE. Don’t shy away from the conversation. Let yourself be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.

*PRAY. Lift ’em up. It’s simple, it’s powerful, and guess what? God’s listening. When it comes to the weakest of mankind, His ears are open – wide open.

It might seem like this post has come out of the blue. It has, and it hasn’t. Years ago our family was involved in advocating for a little darling girl who, because of her country’s changing laws, was deemed unadoptable a few months in. Her country literally took almost every chance of a home and a family to call her own away from her. As devastating as this was to us (and it was), I can only imagine what impact it had on her life. Since then I’ve stayed on the fringes – perusing the Reece’s Rainbow website and praying. But my heart is being squeezed. I don’t know why. I only know that when I look at these children – so hungry for stability and love; then look at my own children – thriving and joy-filled…

I can’t stay silent.

And maybe, because of one girl’s willingness to speak, one little child will be a step closer to finding her family.

“I dare to believe the luckless will get lucky someday in you. You won’t let them down. Orphans won’t be orphans forever.” Psalm 10:14

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Luck for the Luckless

I dare to believe that the luckless will get lucky someday in You.  You won’t let them down: orphans won’t be orphans forever.  Psalm 10:14b (the Message)

Those of you who knew me before I began blogging over here at Blogging Barefoot might remember that about this time last year, I started advocating for a sweet little HIV+ orphan named Annabell.  Oh my goodness, she had the chubbiest cheeks and sweetest little smile you could imagine.

I can’t believe a year has gone by.

Last summer Annabell disappeared – that is to say, the country she lives in determined her ineligible for international adoption.  She was ‘too healthy’ to make the short list of physical ailments allowed by her country to be adopted by a foreigner.  At least until she turned five, at which point she would be old enough to be considered undesirable for adoption within her country.  The irony of that is the fact that because she’s HIV+, she’s already ‘undesirable’.  The stigma associated with HIV in her country will most likely damn her to a life in an orphanage unless a foreign family chooses to adopt her.  And since the older a child gets, the less likely they’ll be adopted, that’s an option her country all but took away from her last summer.

I was unprepared for how hard that would hit me.  I cried a lot.  Not just for her, but for the many (and we’re talking thousands – including her little brother, who I’ve never been able to find much information on) of kids like her.  Unwanted children with special needs of every imaginable kind lost in the bureaucratic red tape of their countries, never to know the love and warmth and security of a family all their own.

There’s no adequate term for how simply wrong that is.

I’ve wondered for awhile what my role in helping these precious ones could be.  After Annabell disappeared, it was hard to want to commit to helping any specific child at all…to get attached, only to have any real way of helping them be yanked from my grasp at any moment.  It felt like setting myself up for failure; opening my heart to guaranteed heartbreak.  If that sounds weak to you, it’s because it is.  Believe me, I’m well aware that in comparison, any heartbreak I might feel in the process of helping these helpless ones is minuscule in comparison to the largely loveless life they lead.  But I don’t think it’ll do anybody a lick of good if I try to lie and pretend that I’m some kind of strong warrior on behalf of the Orphan.  Because I’m not.  I’m weak, and I’m selfish.  And let’s be honest – I’m a tiny little fish swimming in a ridiculously giant ocean.  My voice, though louder than the voiceless, is still a soft, timid whisper in the noisy din of the world around me.

When I found out I was pregnant with Little Miss Took, I had all kinds of conflicting emotions.  Overwhelming joy at the thought of another Shafer bundle arriving in less than a year…and overwhelming guilt at the thought of all the sweet lovies waiting in desperate situations for a home, when my own home was healthy and flourishing.  It was a crisis of faith that I didn’t expect, and it took me a while to really claim the beliefs I’ve stated to myself and others time and time again:

Each child is created with intention and purpose – whether or not their parents planned their birth, and whether or not they’re born without what the world deems as ‘defects’.

Each child deserves the right to be born and thrive.

Each child ought to be welcomed home into the arms of a loving family – whether through genetics, or adoption, or whatever.  Every child deserves a family that will love them and protect them.

There are no exceptions to this.  Each and every child is precious, priceless.

And that includes my child, born into a loving home in a prosperous country.

So, I took several months off from advocating at all.  I needed to let the truth of those statements sink in for me and my family.  I needed to be okay with bringing another child into a world where there are still so many sitting, laying, waiting, without hope, in situations so devastatingly horrific most of us honestly can’t fathom.  I know I sure can’t.

But now that Little Miss Took is nearly here, I’m feeling the pull again – to do something, no matter how small, to help be a voice for the voiceless.  I’m not entirely sure how that’s going to look yet.  Probably just a post here and there to start.

But for now, I’d like to direct you to a place called Reece’s Rainbow.  They are a fantastic organization that has dedicated themselves to helping special-needs orphans find their families.  Please, look through the waiting lists.  The pictures aren’t always easy to see.  For many of these kids – especially the older ones – time is running out.  Once they age out of their country’s system, they become ineligible for adoption, domestic or foreign, and put into ‘institutions’ – the equivalent of mental asylums – where they’ll be confined the rest of their lives, never knowing the love of a mom or dad or siblings or grandparents or aunts or uncles.  To say it’s a bleak reality would be putting it kindly…and it’s one that’s easier to ignore than to face.

I don’t really have a goal in mind with this post, other than to open a window to a world many of us simply don’t know exists.  I heard someone once say (with their tongue firmly planted in their cheek) that poverty doesn’t exist if you don’t see it.  All of us know that’s not true; but it’s easy for so many of us to live like it is because it’s not in our face, staring us down.  The same is true for so many of us when it comes special needs orphans.  It’s not something that’s often put in front of us for us to see…

…and so we live as if they don’t exist.

I hope you’ll take the time to stop by Reece’s Rainbow and let the precious faces you’ll see there open your minds and hearts a little.

Lots of love,

Myndi