We have had an amazing time putting together small gifts to fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Each of the kids filled a box for a child their age; it was funny to see what they wanted to put in “their” box and how closely it was tied to their personalities.
After our shopping trip we were talking over dinner. The conversation was much as I anticipated at first. We talked about how much we have and how so many in the world have nothing. I was trying to impress them with the idea that new toothbrushes, a barbie and some school supplies would be the Christmas gift of some child’s dream. After making a donation on line for shipping the boxes we also found out that you can track your boxes. The kids were thrilled and each speculated where their box might end up.
That is when Little Monkey jumped into the conversation.
“I hope mine goes to China.”
No surprise there. Our girl is very passionate about praying for China, keeping her Chinese language skills and eating her rice! It was the next statement that made me choke on my meatloaf.
“I remember what it is like to have nothing. The first day in your family you gave me lots of presents. Then I knew I wouldn’t be hungry or without a Christmas ever again. I want my box to go to a little girl waiting for a family. Cause nannies at an orphanage can give them nothing.”
She is a normal 5 year old so much of the time. She loves to dance with her tutu on, fights with her sister and whines that she hates my meatloaf. But at times, I simply forget. I forget that she has come from such a difficult beginning.
She carries these memories and in a way it shapes her. She is healing – is now happy and adjusted, but our girl was abandoned, deprived of basic needs, and without love for many years. Being adopted into our family doesn’t automatically erase all of that. The warm fuzzy side of adoption could claim that once our kids are in a family – viola – all is right with the world. This probably won’t be a popular statement….but I just don’t think that is true. Just like anything else that is filled with benefits and blessings…..adoption is hard work. It takes a life time of reassuring our kids that we won’t abandon them, their needs will be met and there is unconditional love.
Sure the first few years without anything have shaped our Little Monkey, but look how she is responding! She now is a little girl with deep compassion and endless empathy. It gives me chills thinking of what God will accomplish through her life. Now that is a warm fuzzy that I believe in!
One more thing I believe in…
When my 5 year old looks at me and says “I remember what it was like to have nothing” and, “I waited so long for you to come get me” it reminds me of what I am called to and why we can’t stop.
“Defend the cause of the fatherless.” Isaiah 1:17
Interested in Operation Christmas Child? http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/
Interested in finding more resources on advocating for the fatherless? http://orphansunday.org/
Is adoption for you? http://lifelinechild.org/
Feel called to pray for the children who are waiting? http://wonderfulwaitingkids.com/