Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Life Grows With Love

This past Sunday was my daughter’s first birthday, and in 8 days, she will have been in an orphanage for one year.

That’s an anniversary that makes my heart ache. It’s an anniversary that should never have been.   Babies are meant to stay with their mamas and daddies; to be cuddled, loved, adored, celebrated. Not abandoned.

One year in an orphanage... I find myself wondering how long it will take to undo the damage done by a year of deprivation. I don’t mean to insinuate that the orphanage staff is uncaring or that the nannies don’t do their absolute best, but with over 900 children in the facility, it is impossible that any child would get what he or she needs.

One year in an orphanage… I find myself wondering about her birth family. The one-year anniversary of their decision to leave their daughter to be found by strangers. I can’t help by think, no matter what their reasons or their feelings towards her, they must be thinking about her now.

One year in an orphanage… I rocked my almost-3-year-old daughter to sleep today, a rare occurrence for my busy gal these days. And I thought of the thousands of times I rocked her to sleep in her first year of life. I wondered if our newest little one has ever been gently rocked to sleep? Even once in her first year of life?

One year in an orphanage... She's tiny, and I worry about underlying causes and scary "what ifs."  Fundamentally I know that it takes more than food and water to grow; it takes love.  Without it, no one can thrive.  I pray the days go by quickly until she can be home, learning what it means to be a part of a family and getting the chance for life to really start growing.

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In a recent article on the global orphan crisis and international adoption, CNN reported that “UNICEF estimates that there are 151 million children who have lost at least one parent worldwide and 18 million who have lost both parents. Globally, there are more children living in foster care or institutions than there are being adopted, according to the United Nations. But most of these children are older and have special needs, and are not the healthy infants many adoptive parents typically desire.”

It’s November, and people across the nation are talking about it being National Adoption Month. I’m thankful for the attention paid to the orphan crisis both here at home and abroad, and we do need to encourage more families to seriously consider adoption. (Seriously. If you haven’t stopped to really ask yourself if you are called to adopt, start asking the question. It’s a question I believe everyone at least needs to consider.)

But the sad reality is that the vast majority of the world’s orphans will never be adopted. That’s true of children raised in foster care here in the USA, and of orphans living around the globe. And even for the ones who eventually will be adopted, like my daughter, they spend considerable amounts of time living in institutions – and those institutions need our assistance and partnership to meet the needs of the children residing in them.

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Here at Scarlet Threads, our heart has always been connected to orphans, so we knew we wanted to celebrate Adoption Month… but we wanted to think about it more broadly than that. Because the need to care for orphans extends so much farther than only adoption, we want to celebrate Adoption + Orphan Care, and we want to invite you to join us.

For the remainder of the month, we will be raising funds for two purposes.

Through the sale of items in our Scarlet Scraps line, we will raise funds for an adoption grant. We hope to have enough sales to give a sizeable grant to an adoptive family before Christmas, but that’s only possible with your help! Remember, 100% of the proceeds of the sale of those items go towards our grant fund.

We also hope you will help us get the word out about our adoption fundraising program. Quite a few families have already benefitted from selling our aprons to raise funds for their adoptions, and it helps our artisans at the same time! This program is a win-win, and any adoptive family can participate.

We also want to introduce you, if you don’t already know them, to New Day Foster Home. New Day is an incredible organization working in the trenches to bring hope to the hopeless and the fatherless home. (I know it’s incredible, because Jacob and I served there for 4 years, which is when/where we started Scarlet Threads.)

They partner with government orphanages across China, taking their most medically challenging cases, and provide the medical treatment, TLC, and education that these children need to thrive until they can find their adoptive families. We want to help sponsor the anti-rejection medicines Mark and Talley, two of the children in NDFH’s care who had liver transplants to treat biliary atresia, a congenital birth defect. The medicine costs $500 per month per child.

We have lined up 3 matching donors, each willing to match contributions up to $500. So here’s what we want to do. We want to raise $500, which will be matched and turn into $2000, and we can provide the medications Mark and Talley need for two months.

That’s Orphan Care, ya’ll. And we can do this. Maybe we’ll even blow that total out of the water and raise money for 3 months or 6 months. 

To contribute, just go here and make your contribution. The funds go directly to Legacy Charities, the 501c3 NDFH is registered under in the USA. That means your donation is tax-deductible and 100% of it goes to buying these medicines. Tell your friends. We have 2.5 weeks before the end of November. We can do this.

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As a waiting adoptive mama, I’m praying others are standing in the gap for my little girl. I’m praying that other arms are holding her, rocking her, loving her. I’m praying that there are people making sure she gets enough to eat and who comfort her when she has a fever and doesn’t feel good. I’m praying she gets the kind of attention and nurturing that I know she would get if she were at a place like New Day Foster Home. As a waiting adoptive mama, I’m even more thankful for people who stand beside orphans while they wait… for the people sending warm jackets and buying medicine. For the people sponsoring surgery and formula and field trips.

Orphan Care isn’t just for a few. It’s for all of us, and we're on this journey together. These kids need us to love them so they can grow into the people they were destined to be.  So please join us in funding a Scarlet Scraps Adoption Grant this holiday season, spreading the word about our adoption fundraising program, and helping us raise the money NDFH needs to buy the medications Mark and Talley require while they wait for their mamas and daddies to find them.

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