November is a good month. We have two family birthdays, it’s Thanksgiving, the holiday season begins, the weather is cozy, and it’s National Adoption Month! Did you know? Have you heard? There is a whole month designated for sharing about the plight of orphans and the blessing of adoption. Yep, that sounds just about perfect to me.
I wrote this post last November. I wanted to share it again (revamped a bit) in honor of National Adoption Month. It’s crazy because when I wrote this a year ago I had no idea we would adopt Vladik. Now this post means more than ever to me. There are many different great responses to the orphan issue, and your response will likely be different than mine. But for the sake of our Boys, every response is important.
The work we do, and Mission to Ukraine has done for many years at Romaniv is important and necessary. It is life-altering for our Boys. Boys who were once strangers who flinched at touch and cowered from any human interaction are now dear loved ones who come scooting and crawling and hobbling as soon as they hear our voices. One boy who used to avoid eye contact at all cost now seeks out our gaze and will sit forehead to forehead with Jed as the guitar is played- just looking into Jed’s eyes. No words, just a look. It is enough for us to see that God is doing miracles.
No work we do could ever be more beneficial than a family.
No treatment could ever be as effective as the love of a family.
No weighted vest could be more comforting than a mother’s arms.
No helmet could offer better protection than a father’s embrace.
This work we do is a stopgap. It is the next best thing possible in this situation. But it is not a family, and it is not nearly enough. There is no future for our Boys here. Even when our dreams come true and we build group homes where they can be loved and cared for, it still won’t hold a candle to a life spent as part of a loving family. There are nannies at Romaniv that do care for the Boys deeply, but they face an impossible task. How can 2 nannies care for more than 20 boys with severe disabilities and do an even satisfactory job?
Most of the boys and men at Romaniv are not legally free to be adopted. Either their parents still maintain their parental rights, or the boys are over the age of 18 which prevents them from being adopted. To those boys and men, we commit to doing whatever we possibly can to love them, care for them, and give them a future worth living until the day they are made whole in heaven.
Some of our Boys, though, ARE available for international adoption. After some hesitation and prayerful consideration, we shared them with you. There are many layers to this. We feel protective of our Boys and the work that is being done; we want to avoid any exploitation; we have a relationship to maintain with the orphanage directors that requires vigilant care. Nothing about this is simple, so we have been treading lightly with steps full of prayer. And yet, our boys are just not thriving, and they never ever will in an institution. They need families. ALL our boys need families, but Alex, Micah, Stephan, Aaron, Ben, and Isaiah actually have the opportunity for family- a life-saving opportunity.
So I’m asking that you see our Boys. I’m asking that you stop and see them for the treasures they are. See their immense value. See their precious beauty. Consider their lives as weighty as your own and ask the Lord how you should respond to this knowledge that some of them are waiting for families. If you follow Jesus you are called to care for the orphan in some way. Even if you don’t believe in Jesus I bet you can agree that this is a justice issue that can not be ignored.
“Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
Maybe you are supposed to pray. A million times thank you! Prayer is important and essential. Any of the progress that’s been made has only come through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our Boys need prayer!
Maybe you are supposed to give financially to help improve the quality of life for our Boys. Yes! Thank you so very much! None of this would even be happening if we didn’t have faithful financial supporters on the team.
Maybe you are supposed to adopt. Please don’t dismiss this response. I am confident that some of you who read this are called to respond through adoption. Children were made for families! Children were not made for institutions. One hour spent at the institution will prove that point. I must warn you though that any romanticism concerning the adoption of one of our Boys ends with the fuzzy feelings you may be feeling as you read this post. It will not be romantic. It will be a hard road and much faith will be required. But- it will be a road worth walking. I am confident of that. Orphans are very important to our God and He has gone to great lengths to prove His love for these particular Boys. He will not allow the world to forget them now, and He’s not about to forget them when they step out of Romaniv’s gates.
I have spent hours with these boys. I have held them in my arms. I have kissed their cheeks. I have held their hands so they won’t harm themselves. Now I call one of them my son and he is asleep, warm and safe in the next room. They are real people. They were created with purpose and God has good plans for them. When I look at Vladik now and think of the life he lived there and was destined to live for the rest of his days had he not been adopted I can’t help but cry. Friends, he is precious. He is a joy in our lives. He is smart and funny and loving and worthy of this life he’s been given. All the love and attention and cuddles we can heap on him- he deserves them all. Hopes and dreams of retirement and empty-nester days fall flat when weighed against the life of a child.
There you have it. Now you know, and I now humbly ask you to respond. I ask you to stop and pray and ask the Lord what He would have you to do. Say yes and don’t look back. Please pray that adoptive families would step out with boldness and faith. Any serious inquiries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to talk with you more.
Please share this post and give our Boys a voice this month. Thank you!
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8
Alex, Micah, Stephan, Aaron, Isaiah, and Ben all wait for families of their own. A friend of ours is doing a wonderful fundraiser/giveaway to help raise adoption grants for them so that when their families do step up the expense will be defrayed a bit. If you feel that your response is to give financially, then please, please visit this website and drop some dollars in their accounts. Thank you!