Monday, August 2, 2010

No one's children

When we arrived at the orphanage the kids all came out to greet our team- but they didn’t just come- they ran! They had been waiting for us- waiting for a whole year. I know, because all year they had been calling us with the same question, 'when are you coming back?'

These are 65 kids living in a government run orphanage, in the middle of nowhere, in a location that most Ukrainians have never heard of. They are no one’s children. I don't want to believe this. But this is the reality I see with my eyes.

There is a famous saying in Russian that looses a bit of the meaning when translated into English, but it says something like- “there is no such thing as ‘someone else’s child.” Meaning that children are the responsibility of everyone in a community and every child should belong…belong to someone.

I find it slightly ironic that this is an adage in the Russian language; because spending 10 days in Kolinenska leaves you thinking just the opposite. Clearly there is such a thing as ‘no one’s children- and I just spent 10 days with many them.

Reunited with sweet Tanya
Oh the government will claim these children and say that they are providing the very best, entire communities (like Kolinenska) are able to create jobs on the backs of the orphanage mechanism, but at the end of the day, they are still children who go to bed void of a mother’s kiss and a father’s hug, children that carry both visible and invisible scars, most often invoked by those that were supposed to have provided love and safety.

In lower posts I shared the stories of kids like Pasha and Natasha- and their stories do give me hope- they are the stories that often keep me going. But the reality is, my mind still goes back to the fact that these children remain stuck in a system that is anti-adoption and pro-orphanage. A system that has created children that belong to no one. And this hurts my heart.

It hurts my heart to know that the majority of these kids don’t have the legal status that allows them to be adopted and it hurts my heart to know that this system will hold them captive. The system is evil.

Like I’ve said many times- this is a war. A war against God’s children. Yes, these children belong to Him I know- but he called us to be the physical representation of that- and lately my eyes have seen more kids trapped in a system then in loving homes.

I wish I had more answers.

Camp kids and staff

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, 
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry 
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— 
when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; 
then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; 
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry 
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." 

Isaiah 58:6-10


Donna said...

I like that phrase "there's no such thing as other people's children"'s like saying "it takes a village". And while you are right, we are all God's children but also are each other's brothers and sisters too. So I'm thinking that means we all need to be there for and help each other's children and just fellow humans whenever we can. We are ultimately responsible for each other and sometimes need not to mind our own business, but just be supportive. YOU, are the best example of will change lives.

Heidi and Felix said...

First of all, I recognize that little fellow in your top picture, RUSLAN! Miss that boy!

Second (and you know this,) Heidi and I feel your pain. R & Z are great examples of that. Even as I type this, I am housing a caretaker who promises that Zina will never be adopted if she has anything to do with it. We pray daily and press on with the adoption. Yes, there are forgotten children. The goverment will tell you otherwise while a particular orpanage director and care taker will tell you that they will lose their jobs if their "numbers" fall too low. I know, he told me himself. "They have school, food and a bed, they have everything they need", he said.

My heart aches for those children who aren't registered because "they have everything they need"!


Evie's Story said...

Karen dear....thank you for mothering these children. For pouring into their lives and exemplifying Christs love for them. Precious is your offering in His sight. unto the least of these!

Erin (andforallthis) said...

you aren't by chance in kherson, are you? i have a friend adopting from the baby orphanage there who is desperate for new pictures if you are....

FaerieMama said...

AMAZING post. Thank you.

Karen said...

Thanks for all the encouraging comments--
To Erin- no I'm not in Kherson right now...but have many contacts there- please feel to write me at my email with the kind of help your friend needs- I'm not sure if I understood from your comment.

Anonymous said...

If we are to be advocates for these children - we must decide. I have seen where a Ukrainian citizen has suspected children being held back from the database. This person petitioned Kiev to investigate (a quick discussion with lawyer on how). Kiev responded by going to that location and investigating for two weeks - found numerous children via the inspectors office and ordered the director to place them in the database. It was done. A ministry with same suspicions about an orphanage could have the same thing accomplished. Some directors will be scared at being hi-lited and respond. Some will be more powerful in the system and ignore, some will make necessary pay-offs to get out of trouble and also place them in the database. But the ministry would then have a major PR problem with the orphanages they minister to. That ministry would want to not be openly connected with the effort. Or they may have such faith/trust and sense of mission towards these children that they refuse to place their mere ministry above the mission and above Gods calling and protection and purpose for them. Therefore instead, doing this openly. So a real impact could be made either way will little or great faith...but it must first be accepted that the spiritual warefare must also be played out beyond prayer...action. If we are to be advocates, we must decide to be and then act as such. Otherwise this concern is just a worldy game we play (PR) and our ministry powerless.