It started out great. I found some really fun foam clay stuff in the market that I bought to take into the kids. Monday’s class loved it and I was confident that it would be a hit with today’s group as well. It was so fun that the nannies went and gathered more children to use the clay that I had left over.
I was surprised with one visitor, a 16 year old boy I had seen around the orphanage wandering around bouncing a ball. He has been in foster care, but for education is back at the orphanage enrolled in a vocational school.
He hasn’t done well.
He now has been kicked out of the school.
He is a healthy normal teen…no special needs…other than having no family. Anger bubbles behind his dark black eyes and his intelligence is used on sarcastic remarks. Today he came and played with clay and made a snail.
I had brought in a cow that Roo had made to give the class some ideas of things they could make. As I explained my daughter had made it, my new friend’s head came up. “You have children?”
“Show him the photo, teacher!” another student exclaimed knowing I carry a photo of my kids in my purse.
I pulled it out and handed it over. Usually I hear comments about having so many children, his comment: “You have adopted two kids? From where?” I told him where Little Monkey and Little Man were born and he asked another question. “Why not from here?”
My heart sank as I understood where the conversation was going. I answered lightly with a forced cheerfulness, “Maybe someday. You never know what the future holds.”
His response was anything but light and I am sure his words will burn in my heart for the rest of my life. With anger in his tone and raw pain flowing from his eyes he said, “If someone had adopted me my life would be so different. Tell your kids they are lucky.”
I looked him in the eyes and said the only thing that came to mind, “I AM SORRY.”
I am not sure what I am sorry about really. Sorry that I didn’t adopt him. Sorry that his birth family abandoned him. Sorry that his foster parents weren’t forever? Sorry that the children at school are brutal to the orphan? Sorry that he doesn’t have a family name? Sorry that he has allowed anger to fester in his heart?
There is nothing I can do for this young man, but it is stories like this that fuel my passion. All children need families….forever families. I wish I could scoop up all the kids in that orphanage and bring them home with me. I can’t.
But, what I can do….
tell their stories.
I want the stories of these children to change me. I want to serve and sacrifice knowing that there are millions of children who need hope. One child at a time, I want to offer hope. Even a step further….I want to share their stories hoping that many will hear and take the hard step toward doing something about kids like this. We must advocate. We must adopt. We must share resources. We must tell their stories so their voices can be heard.
Because feeling sorry for them and saying sorry isn’t enough.