Thursday, March 5, 2009

Innocence Lost

Last weekend I found myself surrounded by a group of children that are very close to my heart. These children live in Kherson, Ukraine in an orphanage of 220 children. Through summer camps and trips to the United States the last two years, I’ve gotten to know a group of these kids in a unique way and see how they, like all children, are in the process of growing up- right before my eyes.
Upon entering the room where the kids hang-out and play on the weekends, I saw the favored "babysitter" hard at work---otherwise known as the television. Every time I see this influential babysitter keeping the kids entertained I cringe. The kids flip from channel to channel with complete freedom, and the uneasiness grows inside as I see what is shown on regular television in Ukraine. Of course the kids are excited when I come in, as I’m a change to their regular routine. I distract the younger ones, but the older ones are quickly drawn back to the babysitter.

On this trip I’m with my friends Natasha and Erik, who are here pursuing an adoption, and they quickly become new best friends with all my 10-year-old angels who are jabbering away with questions and their fond remembrances of the time recently spent in America.
As always the “foto-operat” or digital camera is a hit and the kids are all begging to take pictures with our cameras and pose as best they can. A couple of these little girls were very excited about being little photographers and asked for permission to take Natasha and Erik’s camera into the other room to have a photo session.

Now anyone who has ever been in Ukraine or Russia will know that Slavic women know how to pose for a picture! If a camera is pulled out, suddenly women will strike a pose quite un-like their everyday posture for the picture about to be taken. Sometimes this can be humorous to watch.
So after the girls came back from their photo session I went through the camera to glance at what they had taken. I guess it didn’t surprise me what I saw, but it truly grieved my heart. The girls had taken the camera into their rooms and posed in a variety of “model” like poses, but very much in a sexualized nature which doesn’t need to be described or shown here. Little girls that can appear so innocent and unaware of the world around them have in reality been influenced by the “babysitter” and the print advertising that bombards this culture. They have been shown what the world deems beautiful and they are trying to imitate it. These are the women they are trying to emulate and it simply breaks my heart and causes me to ask the question: what can I do to make a difference?

If you are reading this I simply ask that you pause for a moment and pray for these kids. Pray for these children who have been subject to images and experiences that would make most parents cringe. Pray that they will be surrounded by positive mentors, and if at all possible, parents who will instill them with values and Truth. Pray for those that have experienced sexual abuse and that they will experience healing through Christ. Pray for Ukraine; pray that the Christians here will remain pure and healthy in a country that is so full of sexual images and pornography and pray that laws will be created to restrict what currently is freely accessible.

This is a war. A war that is leaving in its wake the innocence of orphaned children.

1 comment:

Heidi and Felix said...

Well said! Well said! We, too, have experienced these questionable poses from the camp kids, the Kherson kids, and our two girls here as well. We monitor them as to what they watch and the TV doesn't even come on Sunday through Thursdays.

I have seen the same things you have seen there. The TV is blaring and some scantly clad girl is dancing to a song. I grit my teeth and on occasion have turned the TVs off, much to the dismay of the teens in the room. Don't get me started on the videos playing on the Oskar tvs during the AGAPE dinners and fellowships we have taken part in! (Amen and pass the Shakura, err, I mean salt :) )

I pray and will continue to pray for the orphans of Ukraine each and every night.