I hardly slept Sunday night. Part of it had to do with drinking coffee at 9pm (stupid), but the other part had to do with some blogs I was reading.

They reminded me of a few hours I spent at an orphanage in Donetsk, Ukraine, over a decade ago.

By instruction, I was wearing clothes that dried quickly in case any of the kids had an accident (which they did). I got to hold a little girl for a while, and play with many other kids. I remember one girl on our team, Nicole, was holding a little boy, about 2 years old, who was completely unresponsive to her. He didn’t smile, laugh, or talk to anyone, yet she held him the entire time we were there. When it came time to leave, Nicole started handing the little boy back to one of the orphanage workers. When the boy realized what was happening, he began to scream hysterically, clinging to Nicole with all of his might. The workers literally had to pry him off of her so we could leave.

Here was a boy who had no mom, no dad, and no one to spend time just holding him. Those orphanages are packed full of kids and, try as they might, the workers can never spend as much time as they’d like with each child. The hour or two Nicole held him might have been the most attention he’d ever received at one time.

In Abilene, I worked with 0-12 month babies at a daycare for a semester. I remember one little girl, Norah, who never cried when she was hungry, dirty, or tired. She just went about doing her own thing. When it came time for her bottle, Norah would gulp it down like she had been waiting weeks for someone to feed her. She also wouldn’t fall asleep if you rocked her; instead, she would just find a quiet corner to fall asleep alone. She never cried, because she was accustomed to no one answering her at home. Her mom would show up tipsy to get her, if at all. One day she forgot to pick Norah up entirely, until we called to remind her.

Quite often, when I wake up in the middle of the night to my own little boy’s cries, my heart breaks thinking of all the other 3 month old babies around the world who have no one to answer their cries. I think of the little boy in Donetsk, I think of sweet Norah, and I think of the summer I spent in Ghana at the Village of Hope.

I’ve always had a deep desire to adopt a child (or 5). Maybe it is because of what I’ve experienced. Maybe it’s a calling. Maybe all of the above. After the arrival of Sir Beckett, my desire has deepened.

So, back to Sunday night, I was reading the blog Kisses from Katie (a must read if you haven’t heard her story) and I came across a post from a while back that was talking about one of her daughters that was adopted as an older child.

She says:

I want her to be a baby so I can strap her on me and hold her there and she will feel secure and safe and protected. I want to be the person who taught her to write her name and how much fun it is to make mud pies, and I want to be the person who laughed with her when she lost her first tooth. I want to know where the scars came from that she can’t remember the stories about, and I want to be the person who wiped her tears when she fell.

But I know that is not how God intended it.

He did not choose me for those moments, He chose me for these. I entered motherhood through a different door, and I get a different kind of stretch marks.

I believe that this is how He has loved us and I do not pretend to know why. But I know that He who did not spare His own Son will also graciously give us all things we need, and so I cling to believing this is for good.

I believe that He held her all the years that I didn’t. I believe that He stood beside her in the line for porridge that the UN workers passed out, and I believe that He clasped her hand as she made the long journey from Arua to Masaka without her first momma, and I believe that she leaned her head into His shoulder as she fell asleep on hard dirt floor to the sound of her uncle’s drunken fury. I believe that He carried her all the way here to this new family and I believe that His hand is on her still.

And maybe the missing pieces just allow me to trust Him more.

So I kneel beside her bed and I whisper His name over her and when I look at her face, I see His. I am thankful that He did choose me for now, these moments.

He is a good Father. And I can trust in that.

You’re speechless, right? (I may or may not have gone and gotten a sleeping Beckett out of his crib to rock him for an hour after reading this.)

I then came across an organization, Serving His Children, and the blog of the director. She recently posted about some of the children they were serving. These photos and stories are shocking. Check it out here: Miracles.

One of the emaciated babies pictured in the link above is Beckett’s age, and that makes me keep tearing up…especially as I look over at my son whose cheeks weigh about 3 pounds each.

…kinda makes your Christmas list look stupid, huh?

But, alas, this isn’t a post to depress. It’s a post to encourage.

Maybe adoption isn’t your thing. Or maybe you put tons of effort and resources into a completely different type of ministry (equally awesome).

One of my passions are these kids. The ones without moms and dads. So, if you aren’t involved in an organization, the possibilities to help children are endless. Below are just a few of my favs.

Other options: 

1. Supporting a child through an organization like Compassion or World Vision. It’s $35ish per month, and it provides food, water, and clothing to a child in need. (Some may not be orphans, but children of families in need.)

Meet our kids, Brayan and Ruth. Shameless advertising for both organizations listed above.

They are obviously very happy to have their pictures made.

My favorite part of supporting them is yes, the letters we write back and forth, but also the super adorable drawings we get. Last week we got this from Brayan:

Sorry for the bad quality, but you get the idea.

2. Buy a cool t-shirt from 147 Million Orphans.

This one is awesome:

3. Host an event at your church or small group or ministry, like Orphan Sunday.

(Obviously this has passed, but there’s always events like this.)

Don’t [ever] use money or laziness as excuses not to make this world a better place in some form or fashion. We are some of the wealthiest of the wealth even if you are “less fortunate” than your coworkers and friends. Plus, with about 5 clicks on your computer mouse, you can donate to any number of organizations. Easy cheesy.

This post is a tad out of the norm (just a measly little tad bit), but it is on my heart and it is something I never want to put on the back burner until “later”.


Plus, this post prepares you for a few years down the road when I shamelessly hit you up for money to help us adopt a little peanut or two. It’s coming.

Which organizations did I miss that are your favs?

4 thoughts on “Orphans.

  1. Tracy "Baker" Matera

    Hey Sarah I remember Nora, as a matter of fact her existence has blessed my life entirely. It might help ease you to know, her father now has full custody of her. Her grandparents (maternal side… are great generous Christian people and have touched many lives including mine… as well as their adopted daughter (Nora’s mother). Her story is even deeper than most from the daycare even could prepare to internalize. Prayers for Nora and children like her continue to be on my heart.
    Recently, I have actually written a paper for one of my classes about adopting from China. Of course, you can adopt from other countries as well, but this particular class is about gender issues. So I chose China due to the One-Child Policy and the male gender preference.
    My husband and I also plan to someday adopt a child that is needing the love that only a family can truly give. If you’re interested there is a website that would be a great place to start your adoption quest, you know for “later” http://adoption.state.gov/adoption_process.php
    Good luck!

  2. Maggie M

    You can sponsor a kid at the Village of Hope. They still have quite a few that need sponsorship. It cost a little more though. It is $100 a month. Also I love reading the blog Kisses from Katie.

  3. Amy Couchman

    I feel like you will really like this blog just in case you need another blog to read. Her family adopted two kids from ethiopia and she talks about that quite a bit but also lots of other really great, hard stuff. i was crying last night reading a few different posts. the one about christmas is especially kick-you-in-the-teeth.


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