As I mentioned
, the 9 & 10 year olds that I got close to were very loving and affectionate,maybe even a bit clingy. I noticed that to be largely the case with the children from about 6-11 years old. Perhaps they felt that at their ages they still had hopes of a visitor deciding to take them in and be a part of their family. But some of the older girls, around 12-14, seemed to have a different appearance. Don’t get me wrong, these kids were well behaved and polite and in many cases pleasant. But there was something in the faces
of some of them that I cannot shake. One in particular appeared distant and hardened. Perhaps she had a terrible past that has been weighing her down. Perhaps she looked ahead and didn’t see much of a future. You see, at about age 16 most of these kids will have aged out of the orphanage. If they don’t have a family, where do they turn? I expected to be playing with toddlers and loving on babies; most of you have probably had that as your first impression of orphans also. Few people make a decision to adopt and say that they want an older child. I believe this girl is aware of that fact.
The instance that keeps going through my mind was from a day when we were playing with several kids. One member of our group, Nicole, was playing with a group of kids that included this young girl. The girl did interact, she was not withdrawn from the group, but I just saw something that appeared hard and distant. I don’t know the conversation that she and Nicole had or what was said to lead to the hug, but at one point they leaned toward one another and embraced. As this girl wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck, the warmest smile come across her face. I sat a few feet behind Nicole where I could see this girls now beaming face. She was beautiful. That’s how children should look. As they released their embrace, the smile faded and her face returned to the distant image I had seen before. As I’ve thought about that moment, I wonder if the girl was imagining that THAT must be what it’s like to be loved. I don’t know for certain what she was thinking, but God certainly showed me the need for love by ALL of these children, not just the infants and toddlers.
I pray that I will not soon forget about the vast need, not just in Nicaragua but in our own country, in Congo, in Ukraine, and throughout the world. I know that adoption may not be for everyone, (I have been praying about where God wants to place me and my family into this equation), but I urge everyone to listen to God’s call. Whether an infant or an older child, whether they are orphaned by “traditional” methods (whatever traditional means) or by other circumstances, whether international or domestic, the need is great. The events of the week were wonderful. I made some wonderful new friends and I saw what unconditional love is through the eyes of Christ. After seeing these children that I have never met and never known, and knowing how my heart just ached for them, I believe I have a little better understanding of how Christ could have loved me so much that he would do anything for me. Before I knew Christ, I was lost. I was destined for death. I was not a member of His family. I was an orphan.
I’d like to leave you with one final thought. What would you do if you knew the exact day you were going to die? How would you act? How would you feel knowing that one morning you would wake up and THAT would be the day that your life, as you now know it, would be over? Now, imagine you are a child and you see that fateful morning coming closer and closer. That’s what some of these children could be facing. Please think about it…pray about it….listen to God’s call…make a difference.
originally published by the Fatherless Foundation