Choosing to be a Hummingbird

Recently I heard that a friend of mine was stepping down from the Orphan Ministry at his church. When I heard this I was saddened, but understood his motivation. After spending the last 11 years in orphan ministry and the adoption world I have lived the frustration.

It is easy to get discouraged when those around you do not seem to understand what you feel about the plight of the orphan. It is hard when all of those around you can’t understand your passion for the fatherless. It is difficult to pick yourself up and face the opposition time and time again, only to get knocked back down feeling defeated. I mean we are talking about ORPHANS! How can people NOT want to do something?

I have faced churches who had other focuses, people that were empathetic but not led to help, bureaucracy in foreign countries that get more and more bound by red tape and restrictions, the disappointment of families, the crushed dreams of older children that so desperately wanted a family but it never happened for them…..I could go on and on. Those things all point to the fact that it is easy to become bitter and feel defeated.

A friend of mine on Facebook (Carolyn Twietmeyer from Project Hopeful) had posted a picture of a hummingbird. It has become her personal symbol of “doing what you can” and never giving up. According to Wiki answers, the hummingbird represents love, joy, and beauty. Because the hummingbird can fly backwards, it teaches us to reflect upon our past but to look to the future and move forward.

Noble Peace Winner, Laureate Wangari Maathai shared a story about a hummingbird in a speech she gave. She told how this tiny bird, when faced with a forest fire that would likely kill all the animals, decided to take action and mouthful by mouthful carried water from a nearby stream to douse the fire. When asked why, the hummingbird replied, “I am doing what I can.”

The story reminded me that despite the frustration that orphan care and the adoption journey may bring; the pain, rejection and bureaucracy, that I can choose to be a hummingbird – I will do what I can, and that even though it may seem small, if I can encourage enough people to also do what they can – we just might accomplish something big for the sake of waiting children in Bulgaria, Congo, Ukraine, Honduras, Samoa, Nicaragua and all around the world.

Click here for the full story of the hummingbird by Wangari Maathai

Lydia Tarr works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Bulgaria and Ukraine. She is the adoptive mother of four children from Ukraine and was recognized as a 2013 Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Angels in Adoption Program.