My Orphans on Orphan Sunday

So today is Orphan Sunday (the whole month of November is actually National Adoption Month). I, of course, think about the plight of orphans all the time. Truly, if anything can keep me up at night, it’s this. What can I be doing, how can I be doing more? To say God has stamped it on my heart would be an understatement. It is, for many reasons, probably the single reason I’m so flippin passionate about water.

Today, I thought all day about my orphans. I’m not sure you can make “orphan” past tense, but I suppose you never have to. It will always be part of the my boys’ story, right? This thing that led them to our home and our hearts. They were orphans. They were orphaned. They lived, for some time, in an orphanage.

Think about that.

My boys, my beautiful, hilarious, ridiculously intelligent, ridiculously strong boys…they were orphans. They were without a mom and a dad and brothers and sisters for some time in their lives.

They were without.

Today we went shopping with my family for Christmas gifting. We were in a store and Tomas literally grabbed my hand and pulled me to face him. He looked me straight in the eye and whispered, “Mommy, thank you for giving your love to me.” My heart absolutely shattered.

I had never thought about that. That Zach gives his love to me, or my parents, or my siblings. I hadn’t thought about how blessed I am to have people give their love to me. But certainly once you’ve been orphaned love, in itself, this motherly love I ooze would probably feel like a gift.

The implications of that little phrase don’t escape me.

Lately Tomas has been whispering in my ear, “Thank you for bringing me here. I love my family, I love my home. I’m so happy here.” I think he’s starting to want to just put it out there. It seems he’s started to really love it here, and he’s clearly scared it will all go away just as soon as he’s started to really like it.

As his mom I’m desperate to make him understand that he gets this for the rest of his life, even when he doesn’t like it so much. But I know the mind of the orphan is different, it just is.

I suppose now would be a good time to tell you that I hate the word “orphan”. Hate it. I’m sure there are many reasons why I hate it, but for whatever reason I think people hear this word and give an immediate look of pity. Orphans don’t freakin need pity, can I just say that? People can take their pity and eat it. Pity does no one any good.

I’m a big believer in adoption (obviously) and foster care, and keeping families together and supporting mothers and, and, and.

I think Christians sometimes get stuck on the adoption/foster care narrative. And boy that is so sad. Because it’s a teeny tiny piece of the “Orphan care” complete narrative. Adoption is not for everyone. Said another way, please don’t adopt, please don’t even consider adopting if you’re not ready for more kids. If you don’t really want more kids but think God wants you to adopt, you’re deadly wrong. I don’t typically like to insert myself in God and the people’s business but I’m serious about that one.

I feel like sometimes I might give an all roses and flowers view of adoption. Because, truly, for the most part that’s what it’s been like for us. I’m not sure how, but we’ve been very blessed to have had pretty seamless transitions with our adopted babes. If you are considering adoption because of something I’ve written and think I’m the norm I want you to read her blog. Like she says, she falls under the “normal” of what to expect. Just get real before you take that step. Just get educated before you take the leap, right?

But everyone, everyone can do something. Have I mentioned water? Mmmk. Water is one of the things that orphaned my Tariku for sure. It’s also one of the things that could’ve killed my Binyam. I’m not wanting to go into details but believe me when I tell you that. Or Heifer. You guys know about Heifer, right? This can go a long way in keeping families together. There’s Doctors Without Borders, there are so many things.

But now is not the time to sit idly by. I want people to not only support the kids who have already been orphaned but support the families so they will never have to make that decision.

This is not just about families internationally, this is about families in our own US of A. Lest you think I’m all about you sending your resources overseas, I’m not. I’m all for combining the local and global movements. I assure you, you have resources enough to do both.

So that’s it. Those are my thoughts on Orphan Sunday. Can I tell you that it’s a complicated thing this “orphan” stuff? Zach and I never started on this path to “save” a little kid. We never did. I assure you some of my prayers are begging for forgiveness for being so thankful for these little boys. My gain was someone’s tremendous loss. You have no idea how heavily this weighs on my persons.

But it’s because of that. Because of this dichotomy that I live so passionately in the in between.

I have no idea where I’m going with this. But there you have it.

Why Love Orphans? from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

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6 thoughts on “My Orphans on Orphan Sunday

  1. Tesi, I love what you had to say. And I whole heartedly agree with just about everything…there's just a lot about "orphan sunday" that really doesn't sit well with me.

  2. Yeah, "Orphan Sunday" makes me incredibly uncomfortable, a little nauseous even. It isn't that I am denying reality, it just "orphan sunday" doesn't fit my understanding of reality. I think what concerns me most is a total lack of recognition that adoption is not a solution and sometimes is part of the problem. The whole, "Could you love one?" thing sounds dangerously close to a animal rescue slogan. Yuck.

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