November is a good month. We have two family birthdays, it’s Thanksgiving, the holiday season begins, the weather is cozy, and it’s National Adoption Month! Did you know? Have you heard? There is a whole month designated for sharing about the plight of orphans and the blessing of adoption. Yep, that sounds just about perfect to me.
We’ve been sitting on some important information for a few months now, considering how, when, and where we would share our hearts. Well, now is the time and here is the place. After all, it is National Adoption Month!
With a bit of fear and trembling I’m going to share, and then I’m going to ask you to prayerfully respond. There are many different great responses, and your response will likely be different than mine. For the sake of our Boys, every response is important.
The work we do, and Mission to Ukraine has done for many years at Romaniv is important and necessary. It is life-altering for our Boys. Boys who were once strangers that flinched at touch and cowered from any human interaction are now dear loved ones who come scooting and crawling and hobbling as soon as they hear our voices. One boy who used to avoid eye contact at all cost now seeks out our gaze and will sit forehead to forehead with Jed as the guitar is played- just looking into Jed’s eyes. No words, just a look. It is enough for us to see that God is doing miracles.
No work we do could ever be more beneficial than a family.
No treatment could ever be as effective as the love of a family.
No weighted vest could be more comforting than a mother’s arms.
No helmet could offer better protection than a father’s embrace.
This work we do is a stopgap. It is the next best thing possible in this situation. But it is not a family, and it is not nearly enough. There is no future for our Boys here. Even if our dreams come true and we build group homes where they can be loved and cared for, it still won’t hold a candle to a life spent as part of a loving family. There are nannies at Romaniv that do care for the Boys deeply, but they face an impossible task. How can 2 nannies care for more than 20 boys with severe disabilities and do an even satisfactory job?
Most of the boys and men at Romaniv are not legally free to be adopted. Either their parents still maintain their parental rights, or the boys are over the age of 18 which prevents them from being adopted. To those boys and men we commit to doing whatever we possibly can to love them, care for them, and give them a future worth living until they day they are made whole in heaven.
Some of our Boys, though, ARE available for international adoption. We haven’t shared this with you before for several reasons that might be hard to understand. There are many layers to this. We feel protective of our Boys and the work that is being done; we want to avoid any exploitation; we have a relationship to maintain with the orphanage directors that requires vigilant care. Nothing about this is simple, so we tread lightly with steps full of prayer. And yet, one of our Boys is not thriving. He is wasting away before our eyes and we can’t stand by and watch without acting. He is ill and will never thrive in an institutional setting. He needs the best medical care. He needs a nutrition plan. He needs therapy of all kind. Most of all he needs a mommy and daddy to love him as their son- to believe in him, to fight for him and shower him with affection. We are compelled to act and we can’t hold off any longer. Time is of the essence.
So I’m asking that you see our Boys. I’m asking that you stop and see them for the treasures they are. See their immense value. See their precious beauty. Consider their lives as weighty as your own and ask the Lord how you should respond to this knowledge that some of them are waiting for families. If you follow Jesus you are called to care for the orphan in some way. Even if you don’t believe in Jesus I bet you can agree that this is a justice issue that can not be ignored.
“Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
Maybe you are supposed to pray. A million times thank you! Prayer is important and essential. Any of the progress that’s been made has only come through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our Boys need prayer!
Maybe you are supposed to give financially to help improve the quality of life for our Boys. Yes! Thank you so very much! None of this would even be happening if we didn’t have faithful financial supporters on the team.
Maybe you are supposed to adopt. Please don’t dismiss this response. I am confident that some of you who read this are called to respond through adoption. Children were made for families! Children were not made for institutions. One hour spent at Romaniv will prove that point. I must warn you though that any romanticism concerning the adoption of one of our Boys ends with the fuzzy feelings you may be feeling as you read this post. It will not be romantic. It will be a hard road and much faith will be required. But- it will be a road worth walking. I am confident of that. Orphans are very important to our God and He has gone to great lengths to prove His love for these particular Boys. He will not allow the world to forget them now, and He’s not about to forget them when they step out of Romaniv’s gates.
I was with these Boys yesterday. I held them in my arms. I kissed their cheeks. I held their hands so they wouldn’t harm themselves. They are real people. They were created with purpose and God has good plans for them. I can’t even imagine one of my four children living like our Boys. I can’t imagine my Ezra, nearly 9 years old but the size of a toddler, sitting day after day rocking back and forth in his bed. I can’t imagine him sitting and sitting and waiting and waiting for his life to begin. I can’t imagine not going to him and taking him out of that place. Our Boys are as real as Ezra and they are as deserving of love as he. They were created with just as much purpose and intentionality. They were created in the image of God and God does not make mistakes.
There you have it. Now you know, and I now I humbly ask you to respond. I ask you to stop and pray and ask the Lord what He would have you to do. Please pray that adoptive families would step out with boldness and faith. Any serious inquiries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to talk with you more. If you have questions about what adopting an institutionalized child looks like in real life I can connect you with adoptive parents who have walked that path.
Please share this post and give our Boys a voice this month. Thank you!
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8