I’ll never go back, I’m stepping off this plane and I’ll never return. My heart is destroyed.
She was just an infant. She had some sort of wound bandaged on her foot so the doctor laid her on the cold metal table and just began ripping the gauze out of her foot. Dry dressing change, no pain medication.
I need to leave the memories of the orphanage behind and focus on my own kids. I can’t continue carrying the weight of the children I left behind.
Some of the gauze was REALLY stuffed in her foot and he couldn’t rip it out so he got out a scalpel and started cutting it out….of her flesh.
I’ll surround myself with the busyness of life, I’ll let it drown out the silence of the orphanage and the babies who were born to die.
Blood pooled onto the floor, her screams were unlike anything I’ve ever heard, I squeezed my eyes closed, and wished that she would pass out from the pain; so she wouldn’t feel it anymore. I asked to hold her to comfort her, they said no, she wasn’t in pain, she was just crying because she was cold. I’m not exaggerating in the least when I say if I could have grabbed both the kids and ran, I would have.” Alexandria – adoptive mom
I read this account months ago and the story has stayed etched in my mind. I had met Alexandria when we picked up Israel. She was visiting her son in the orphanage and later when she told me what she saw, it horrified me. I filed it away with the things I wanted to forget. Because truly I knew I could not save them all.
As the past year has rolled by, I have come to realize that even though I am not in Eastern Europe, I have indeed left a piece of myself there. I left that orphanage over a year ago, but the sounds, smells, and silence will cling to my mind forever. The children that remain locked away are not so easily forgotten or dismissed by the daily minutiae. And not a single day goes by without something reminding me of the priceless treasures I left caged in a cold, stone building.
Several months ago my husband brought up adopting one more child. My children joined in the chorus, but I remained stolid in my belief that we were finished, we had given enough. So, I flung a quick prayer skyward for these forgotten orphans and I went about my day. It’s not like I can save them all. We have settled into life, found our new normal and I believed that it was now my job to advocate. I could fund-raise for others, and my heart and perhaps my mind would be settled as time passed, and I reasoned with my heart saying I have already sacrificed time and money to help. But each day I looked at a reminder living in my own home of the children left behind, and what love and family can do. How our tiny sacrifice has given us so much.
And so began the thoughts looping in my mind… “Kids are dying”so I increased my fundraising for friends. “Kids are dying” as I loaded the dishwasher and tucked in my children. “Kids are dying” as I shouted out the need to others. “Kids are dying”, and so I looked to God and pointed, “Kids are dying, where are you?” And God replied, “Do you have room for one more?” “No, of course I don’t have room for one more”. How would I have room for one more. And then my husband said, “Stacey, how can we not go back? You have seen with your own eyes what happens to these kids, we cannot have our eyes opened and then walk away.” And then the final words that swayed me. “Look around you, we have room for one more”. And I looked, and I saw my life through the eyes of an orphan. I saw a bounty of food in my pantry, I saw a large house and lots of toys. I saw a daddy that read bedtime stories with silly voices and tuck in prayers. I saw a mommy that kissed the owies and listened when the best friend in 2nd grade wasn’t a best friend anymore. I saw a family sitting around the dinner table laughing and sharing, and I truly looked and saw there was room. There was room for one more bedtime story, one more plate at the table and one more child to give a home. So, we decided yes to one more and my husband decided it needed to be a girl. But still I wrestled with God, with my career, with my husband, with my family, with my own ambitions and fatigue. Weeks and weeks rolled by and I tried to forget my commitment to one more until God showed me our one more. Because the hard thing with God, is that he does not ask for only a portion of our lives. When he calls us to follow Him, we are to deny ourselves and pick up our cross. And that is where I struggle, because it’s a lot easier to deny only the parts that are easy. It’s a lot easier to follow Jesus if I only sacrifice what I am willing to give up.
Several months had passed and I received an email of a little girl who was chosen at birth to reside in an orphanage. She was unwanted because of her limb differences, which are considered a curse. There was no future for her without an arm and a foot in her country. After further research I found out this little girl was in the same orphanage I swore I’d never return to. She had been sitting across the building when we picked up our son. And I actually cried. I cried because I could not imagine walking back into that hellhole, and I could not imagine that God would want me to go back there. And then my world shifted because my friend Alexandria posts this little girl’s picture and identifies her as the infant whose story of abuse I had actually written about in a post called “Don’t You Just Want to Lay Down and Die“, and my heart knew. This was our daughter and God was calling us back.
How do I bring home one more child, one without an arm or foot? How will we afford this, manage this, do this? According to my American dream, I can’t. You may be asking how can they adopt one more, why would they choose to do this, and I’ve realized following Jesus will never be safe and probably won’t make sense. However it is He that goes before me, and it is He that is leading me back to a “treasure” I left behind.
I can no longer insulate myself with the busyness of a day, surround myself with the beauty of man-made treasures or try to skip across my life without swimming in the deep. No, that life died the day I stepped into an orphanage and I once again find myself wading back into deep waters. God has called me by my name to “one more” and yes, I’m scared of being swallowed by the waves. However, I am more afraid to stand looking from the shore.
Coming in 2017, the newest Gagnon – “STAR” on Reeces Rainbow!