Friday, April 18, 2008

Remember Them

One of the really touching things about older child adoption is something I have written about a couple of times here in the blog...and that is the friends left behind. These "friends" are really siblings in every sense of the word, the often have been together since birth, they went to school together, played side by side, ate meals at the same tables. They have a shared history and are denied a future by the adults and governmental systems that control their every waking moment. They can be separated at a moments notice, never to see one another again after spending years in one anothers company. I can not imagine one day having someone walk up while I was a child and yanking my brother from me. Yet this little mini-drama takes place over and over again on a daily basis in foster homes and orphanages around the world. Is it any wonder at all that then these children sometimes have problems forming attachments? I think it is miraculous that after birth parents have abandoned them (and not always in infancy), friends have been taken from them once they have let go and trusted again, caretakers have quit jobs and left them, these children still have a modicum of trust on which to build a bridge of love with their new families. When you really consider it, how incredible is that?

We had a magical moment this morning, thank to our internet buddy John Wright over at . His link has been tops on my list over on the right for a long time, and you can see why. This week, not more than a day after I made a request, he was able to fulfill it and he connected two "brothers" each living halfway around the world from one another, each obviously missing one another deeply.

John is a Canadian missionary working in Kyrgyzstan for 6 months this year, and he is an incredible man with an awesome family who all "get it" in a way many of us never will. He is being used by God in extraordinary ways to reach out to others...not to merely evangelize but to show the world how it is really done...Actions Speak Louder Than Words. I have enormous respect for John as he sees beyond his own limitations and lets God use him however He might choose...and his life is a reflection of just how much God is using him. Despite his self-admitted challenges with writing, his blog makes an incredible impact. He knows which stories to tell, how to tell them how to help others visualize what he is experiencing overseas.

Today, he told a little part of our story. Previously on the blog I have spoken about Kenny's buddies left behind...Turat, Askar and Amir. Turat and Askar were pictured on the blog during our trip, as we met them at the orphanage and my heart broke at leaving them behind. Little did I know that the day we attended the international church service in Bishkek I met the man and woman who would later become Turat and Askar's mom and dad. What a blessing it was to have that encounter and not know at the moment what God had in store.

Sadly, we were unable to meet Amir, as he had been moved earlier to another orphanage and Kenny spoke of him even as we left the orphanage that day for the last time, wistfully wishing he could say good bye to his younger friend. Since learning of Turat and Askar's adoption and speaking with them on the phone, he has fervently prayed every night for Amir to find a family (as well as for our girls), for God to keep him safe. Can there be anything more touching than for a former orphan to pray for the future of a current one?

I spoke with Karen at our agency and she had a family going to the orphanage she was told Amir was at, but we were never able to connect in time to get a package sent to Amir and were going to try before the family left on their second trip. In the meantime, I read John's blog earlier this week and read that he was in and out of Tokmok, where we were told Amir was, so I decided to ask him if he could find Amir and tell him Kenny/Toktogul loved him and thought of him all the time. John kindly even offered to take along a photo of Kenny so Amir could see him with his new family.

God bless John, for he went to Tokmok and couldn't find Amir, he was not there after all. He then decided to check at another orphanage nearby, and there he was! John has blogged about meeting Amir, and even has a video of him posted so Kenny could see it...John, from the bottom of my heart thanks for your kindness in doing this. Your blog is aptly named. Go to John's blog RIGHT NOW to see little Amir as he actually sees Kenny's photo for the first time.

It is short, 57 second short...but it was impossible for me to watch without crying. This was my son's, not biological but still every much his brother just as Josh and Matt are...and this little child is still alone in the world, still not held in the loving arms of his family. Can I possibly express how much I HATE THIS?????? Why??? I don't get it and never, ever will. I know we don't have to "get it", that questioning God about such things is pointless and faithless, but as I sit here with tears in my eyes I still will question it. I wanted to reach through the screen, grab him up in my arms and never let him go. How can anyone not want to do that?

I called Kenny in to the room and told him I had a small surprise for him, and he got a big grin on his face and said "What momma?". I pointed to the computer and said "Watch"...and he yelled out "Amir!!!". I sat there, watching the emotions as they played across Kenny's face...the grin quickly left, the brow furrowed, another quick smile, a poignant look of sadness crept in...and then it was over. We watched it 3 or 4 times without saying much. Amir is also a cleft kiddo, and the lip has been repaired but his speech is far, far worse than Kenny's. It was obvious that Kenny was only catching a little of what he said and his Russian has almost completely disappeared although I suspect he understands much of it still, at least for now, but can not find the words to speak it. Kenny then asked a lot of questions, how did we get this video of Amir? Where was he? Did our friend talk to him much? After the questions came a steady stream of conversation about Amir...what a good boy he was, how he talked a lot about having a family, how lonely he was and how he didn't have any friends now that Turat, Askar and Kenny were gone. Kenny thinks Amir is about 7 years old, as he remembers him being about 2 years younger than he and the other boys but due to their clefts they all formed a sort of "Cleft Club" from the sounds of it :-) and a strong friendship was formed between them all.

We know from John that Amir is in an orphanage where the Director really cares about the kids, that they do the best they can with what they have. He has clothing and food, the quality of which can not be assumed to be very good. As always, the orphanage really struggles to make ends meet, and they can only do so much with what they have. But although Amir's most basic of needs are being met, the most important one is not. He is not hugged every day and tucked into bed every night by someone who dearly loves him. He doesn't have parents to push for language services, to protect him, to swipe away the loneliness and replace it with a sense of belonging. Amir has never had that. His orphanage Director thinks he is a great candidate for adoption and Kenny said he thinks Amir would do very well in a family, that he is a loving little boy who is kind and "he try really really hard momma, all the time he try hard". I don't know for certain at the moment if Amir is even legally free for adoption, but legalities aside I sure know he deserves what all the children deserve, a family of their own.

It is interesting to me that just yesterday I remembered to post about Tilek and Everest, and today I get this information about Amir. The timing of it all, a reminder to me I think from Him that there are more children who need homes, and of course most of them will never get them, they will age out of the orphanage to look forward to a life of poverty, crime, and very likely an early death. All because no one loved them, no one cared. I care, I know so many of you care, and yet we can not adopt them all. What else are we being challenged to do? Help John establish more programs for assistance? What a terrific network he already has. Go over as missionaries ourselves? You don't have to be affiliated with a church to roll up your sleeves and get to work holding an orphan, feeding an older person, cleaning and building a bathroom. Pray for those who have no one? Oh, how prayer works! We all can do something and it doesn't always involve cash...we can send letters and cards with pictures and drawings from our kids to be distributed to children there letting them know they are not forgotten, we can talk to others about kids who need homes in the hope that someone somewhere is listening who needs to hear it, we can encourage people like John and his family with comments on his blog and links from our own.

We can remember them.

Thanks John, for helping Amir and Kenny reach out to one another, for letting Amir know he is remembered, and for letting Kenny know he too is remembered. The look on each of their faces as they connected long distance will not soon be forgotten.

Please folks, remember them.


Shannon said...

Oh Cyndi, what a beautiful gift for Kenny (and you). Thank you, John, for bringing these 2 brothers together again for a few moments.

Julie and John Wright said...

It has been an awsome privilage to be used in situations like this and to watch as wonders unfold around us... Thak YOU for allowing us to be part of such an intimate moment
Julie and John Wright

Anonymous said...

Cindy, I follow John's blog daily and have been for quite some time. I love seeing what he is doing there. What an amazing story and yet so powerful and sad. Amir looks like such a sweety and a handsome guy too! I'm sure it will bother Kenny that a family has not yet found Amir, but peace of mind that he now knows where he is.
Heather (mommy to Grant and Allyson)

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS! It takes a village!

I love the beautiful innocence of a child picking dandelions - A.A.Milne/Winnie the Pooh, "Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them."

Forge on! Joan