I believe I’ve lived in denial. Even living with proof, I am in denial. Everyday I catch glimpses of this truth and my heart doesn’t really want to acknowledge it, let alone act upon it. Yesterday I read an interesting statistic and once again, denial was right there to shield me.
However, denial has a hard time living with truth. And my piece of truth is Israel. I see the truth everyday. And by sharing our journey, I hope that a piece of truth comes to live with you also.
I see it at mealtimes when he cries because I didn’t get him his food fast enough, it’s not what he wanted, or any other myriad of reasons. Now you may think this is typical of a 4 year old, but it’s steeped in a dark place. It’s not a defiant behavioral issue, it’s fear. In the orphanage his meal was in a metal cup filled with liquid broth and a soggy bread chunk. Consumed in seconds with his thank you smile of gratitude. If he was hungry or thirsty, he would need to wait until the appointed time to receive the metal cup.
I see it in his mimicry and hyper-vigilance. He is forever assessing every situation and navigating with a smile and beguiling personality. He is at all times garnering favor in case he needs it to survive. Every adult he meets might potentially provide for him in some way. He was kept in a glass-walled room by himself. I imagine he was becoming high needs in a unit that had children who were mainly non-mobile and non-verbal.
On one visit, he was tied to his crib rails because he had an IV. He had a broken toy and when I walked in he was sitting with hands clasped, rocking. And my heart wanted to be shielded from the truth. The truth of a small boy holding his own hands because no one else will, and rocking to occupy hours of time inside a crib with nothing to look at besides a ceiling and glass walls. I quickly filled his crib with the toys I brought and sat for two hours horrified. My son was sick and this was my last visit. It would be months before I could come back to pick him up.
Denial assures me that he was allowed outside and had experienced something beyond just the four walls of his section. Denial tells me that when I visited him, he had actually been outside before. Truth tells me that he had been denied outside time because as the staff noted “people don’t want to see that kind of malformation”. My son was not allowed outside.
There are days that I pretend he is not so damaged as all this. But then I hear him weeping in his sleep. Sadness and fear expressed through dreams, and when I wake him he immediately smiles and says “hi Israel’s mommy” with tears still fresh on his cheeks. And I’m so sad because for 4 years no one cared. I don’t have a single baby picture, a single story, a single cherished moment. It’s as though he never existed and truly he didn’t.
Denial lives in my heart because I sat with all these dying children. The 50% who will not live to the age of 20. The babies without hope and love and I’m weeping as I type this. Because denying it is so much easier than actually seeing it, or touching it, or smelling it…
With a loss of denial, comes PROMISE. My promise is to share the story, the images, and the truth. Because we can make a difference. Today I ask you to help. I have shared families who are trying to bring their children home and I ask that you pray for them and financially give. It can be as little as $5. With truth comes responsibility and I have seen what a community can do. Yes, your prayers and donation do make a difference.
Today I ask you to see Mark and share his needs. Click this link and truly SEE the little boy that desperately needs a home, a chance, a family. My friends are desperately trying to raise the money to bring him home. This is an amazing family who have stepped out in faith to rescue a child. Please join me with a promise to not look away, but truly see.
James 2:14-22 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. …