A couple weeks back I traveled to Kherson, as I was invited to attend the 50th Anniversary celebration of one of the orphanages that we’ve worked with over the last couple years. When I first got the invitation I did find it a little ironic—celebrating 50 years of an institution that was created for housing orphaned children. Now, I understand that in fact it is a good thing to have a state facility that can house children who do not have a safe home or who have lost their parents. I guess in my opinion I just don’t think any such place should be seen as a long-term solution.
Something seemed a little ‘off’ in the celebration. It was as if they were celebrating the fact that this was the best place for the children- and glorifying the institution itself. No consideration seems to be taken into account for what these kids have lost- and what they continue to miss out on by not being in families. Instead institutionalized life is painted as normal, kids grow up in a controlled -yet out of control environment and then are sent into the world, left to fall through the cracks of the same system that placed them in the orphanage to begin with. In my opinion we were celebrating 50 years of broken families in Ukraine.
What if instead of putting so much focus into having better and ‘prettier’ orphanages, the government refocused their efforts and aimed at raising up a better system for placing children in families and equipping families with the skills they need to raise these kids?
Actually, the question should be re-phrased. In reality, the question should be pointed back at the body of Christ—specifically the body of Christ here in Ukraine. What is the church doing to see that these kids are in homes, being taught what it actually means to be in a family? Not just visiting orphans for the occasional holiday celebration and dropping off gifts- perpetuating the orphan mentality of ‘the world owes me’—but instead embracing the spirit of adoption. How is the Church reflecting Jesus' act of adopting us?
Again…these are the questions I continue to ask as I pray for the Holy Spirit to place a growing burden on his people (myself included)– that we would go beyond what is comfortable and open not just our hearts, but our homes to the orphaned.
Maybe then we won’t need to ‘celebrate’ another 50 years of institutionalized living.
Hanging out with the girls on the lovely fall afternoon and having a little photo shoot. Also spent time with the De Young family- new friends, who were in Kherson to adopt two kiddos.