Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two extremes

Imagine one child who's life is like this:

She's a baby in an orphanage crib. She rarely if ever gets held. It's cold, and she's wrapped in shabby blankets for warmth. Her bottle is shared by other babies, so she has to drink as much as possible before the nannies take it away. There are only two or maybe three designated times during the day for her diaper to get changed. The rest of the time she lies in soiled clothing. If she gets sick, the nannies give her less attention rather than more. Their goal is to keep the strong ones "healthy." If she gets to the point of being critically ill (an ICU patient by our standards), she gets sent to the hospital where she gets substandard care. Again, she's the last in line for attention.

When she reaches toddler age, she has to sit tied to a chair during the day so she can be controlled. She gets a little cereal, two small bowls of rice, and a couple drinks each day. She's required to sit on the potty at designated times. She mainly stares into space for lack of anything else to do, but once in a while extra treats or toys may come her way from donations outside the orphanage. She lives for those rare moments. Once a day she gets let out into the concrete courtyard to run around with the other children. If it's cold, she has to endure the elements. **

Imagine another child who's life is like this:

He's an adolescent living the American dream - nice house, good family, plenty of food, lots of friends, a great school, and tons of social activities. His house is filled w/ books, TV's, video games, computers etc.

He gets sick. His doctor orders tests and sends him to a specialist. More tests are ordered. He gets a call that something might be really wrong, and he should come in for another test, but in the meantime gets critically ill and goes to the ER. He's rushed into a room, immediately given medicine to eliminate his pain, and goes through a series of expensive tests throughout the day. His diagnosis is serious. He gets sent to the best medical facility in the country for treating it. When he comes home as an outpatient, an emergency occurs. His family calls an ambulance, which is there within two minutes. At least six medics enter his home, get him on the stretcher and rushed to the hospital. Every conceivable medication is at his disposal. The long term goal is to restore him to full health, no matter how long it takes. And he's just an average, middle class kid.

My youngest child was spared from at least some of the first scenario when we adopted her. My oldest child experienced all of the second, and is soon to complete his treatment after two and a half years. Obviously, I've been struck by how different a child's experience can be based on their country and its laws, economy, history, and position in the world. Knowing that God is sovereign over all, it's hard to process why the situation is as it is in the 21st century.

Being that as it may, my personal response needs to be one of listening to God's heart. What can I do about the orphan crisis? I'm only one person. Yes, I've adopted one child, but that doesn't "get me off the hook" for continuing to ask that question. Yes, we support a World Vision child and send Christmas presents overseas every year via Samaritan's Purse. But am I done? I think not. Most of my personal resources are exhausted because my youngest child is very difficult to raise and my own health is failing. But I still feel I need to listen. I can still become more educated. I can still pray. There may be other things that God has for me as well, and I want to be ready.

The answer can't be the same for all of us. God doesn't call us all to adopt. He doesn't call us all to give of our money. He doesn't call us all to donate our time on a missions trip. But we do all need to listen and not miss His answer.

**Silent Tears, Kay Bratt, 2008