Sunday, June 23, 2013

Foster Care Center

I'm not allowed to post everything and have to be careful about what I do say, but I do want to talk some about the center. They truly do the best they can with limited resources, and they care about the kids. Remember the white guy in Emma's party pictures? We had the privilege of meeting him and his wonderful wife. BTW, they are not Americans. They have lived there since 2007, and they are dedicating themselves to these children. We initially met them at the adoption center where they were completing the adoption of their 4th child. They were adopting a little girl who had been in their care for years and had so many special needs that they knew she would never be adopted. They felt she was already a part of her family, so they were making it official. They have worked hard to provide education and therapies for these children. I feel privileged to know them. There is another Caucasian couple (also not Americans) who are working as foster parents. They have 14 kids in their care. They sold everything they owned and moved to do this, just trusting that God will provide for their needs. What faith and dedication.

Mark may need to add some to this post. He was able to spend more time in the center while I stayed with Emma while she played outside. We were both profoundly affected by our visit.

We have gotten to know the adoptive mom of this little girl and were able to bring her an album of her new family. This girl does have special needs but what you notice is her pure joy and how she is simply full of love. She is a precious child. She is so incredibly happy to have a family coming for her. She carried these pictures around and was showing them to everyone. Mark and I both fell in love with her. And what a privilege it was to be able to deliver the album to her.

This little girl is the daughter of a foster family. She was incredibly kind and loving towards all the kids. It was beautiful to see.

Nap room.

Therapy and play room.

It looks like she is crying, but she isn't. Do you see how she still has the photo album?

Sensory room

This wall shows all the children who have been adopted and all the children who are now with Jesus. He was pointing out every child who is now with Jesus. This man cares deeply for these children. Do you know why the US stopped using the orphanage system? It is because they figured out that a really high percentage of children DIED in the system even when they had all their physical needs met. I need to look up that study when I get home. It speaks volumes. Children need families.

Cade and Nate found a picture of Emma on the wall in the playhouse. We were hoping to get some pictures of Emma from her childhood. We were given just a few, most were taken on the same day that her referral photo was taken. I cannot express what a huge loss this is. My beautiful girl deserves pictures of her first two years.

This little girl was the sweetest thing. She loved having her picture taken and would immediately want to look at it. She took my hand and stroked it. Can hardly stand it.

I did start crying while I was there. I just couldn't help it. Our guide was even crying. I really believed that I had a heart for orphans, but I was so wrong. Seeing and touching and loving on these precious children broke my heart in ways that I cannot express in words. I can hardly stand to think about these children. It just isn't right, and we have to do something. This is just one foster care center in the world. There are so many orphanages and foster families in the world. The number of orphans in the world is a devastating number. This center is a nice place, not ideal, but nice. There are so many places in the world where the conditions for and the treatment of the orphans are deplorable. I have seen some of these children come home and have seen the difference a family makes. And yet actually seeing these children in this setting and witnessing first hand the transformation of my precious daughter in less than a week has affected me to my core. I have to do more. Just to be clear, I do not believe that everyone should adopt. There are so many different ways to care for orphans, including ways to help prevent the children ever becoming orphans. I will be posting more about this later. Honestly, I am still having a really hard time talking about it. I think about these children, and I cry. I look at my amazing daughter and think about her being an orphan before we came along, and I cry. One thing Mark and I both know is that we will be working in some manner with this center in the future. We feel that God will lead us to do His will and His work. We don't think this is our last visit to this center. Please be praying that we will be able to discern God's direction in this. Tonight I am feeling so grateful that God did not leave Emma as an orphan, but He came for her. I am so thankful that we were chosen to be her parents. She has already brought so much joy to our family and has changed us forever.

- Jenna

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