Because sometimes the perfect, most eloquent of words seem almost impossible to find in a world where injustice is plentiful and children suffer at the hands of those who are meant to care for them.
Just a short while ago, as I flew to Bulgaria to visit the precious new blessings from the Lord whom we are adopting, I asked the Lord for just one extra little bonus, if He would allow it.
An added blessing.
I asked Him if He would make a way for me to meet some of the children who I knew that some day (when we are finally able to return to Bulgaria to bring our children home) I would have to leave behind in our children's orphanages--the children who I knew were available for adoption and had not yet been chosen.
I know the feeling all too well. Leaving the precious children in Hailee's horrendous "laying room" in Ukraine just about did me in! I walked out of that orphanage, with two beautiful children in my arms who were fortunate enough to have been chosen, and I forced myself to NOT look back! I put my head down and I ran the heck out of that place!
Leaving those precious children with significant special needs just lying there--in their own waste, with very little food, hardly ever taken out of their cribs, well...it changed my life forever.
Because knowing changes EVERYTHING!
I gave the Lord my solemn word that day in May, 2010! I promised Him that I would never stop trying to be a voice for the ones I left behind. I gave Him my word that no matter how profoundly "special needs" or how impossible some situations seemed to my human mind (He sure did teach me a lot through Julia's situation)--no matter how many times a child had been overlooked--I would trust that HE was able to raise up families for them!
Only He is able to move on our hearts, change us from the inside out, and open our eyes to the blessing that these children truly are.
In all His faithfulness, and with the help of my awesome attorney in Bulgaria, God heard the cry of my heart, and He made a way!
Throughout my week in Pleven I was able to take pictures, to love on, to lay hands on, pray over, and whisper into each beautiful child's ears, "You are NOT forsaken!" Ah, it was so sweet.
I believe with everything that is within me that every single child deserves the love of a family and that no child should ever have to live out their days in an orphanage! That was never the way the Father intended it to be.
But, He knew too that sin would come into the world.
That children would be discarded.
That the weakest of His precious creation would suffer--deemed worthless by the societies into which they were born.
And still, He promised. "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come for you!" John 14:18
"I will send help from heaven to rescue you." (Psalm 53).
And seated high upon His throne, I'm sure He must have wondered...even then...
Will they respond?
Will they care?
Will they abandon all...for the sake of saving one?
Will they go when I call their name?
And He called His glorious Church to rise up and care for the orphan in their distress.
Two weeks ago, I looked into the eyes of each one of these children listed below who so desperately needs to be rescued, and I wondered,
Who will God call to help you in your distress?
Who will come for you, sweet one?
Who will go for these incredible children? All of them with different needs.
All of them with two things in common...
Special needs which cannot be helped in their country. They are all living on borrowed time--most of them languishing in cribs all day long, unable to get the nutrition they so crucially need, with unmet medical needs, a lack of therapies which would help them tremendously, lack of stimulation, and just sheer neglect!
They merely exist. Day to day.
And the urgent need to be rescued!
Please read through the profiles of the children listed below. And even if you are not called to adopt (because not everyone is!), would you please share their stories in the hope that their families WILL find them? That in itself is caring for the orphan.
Some of these children have very little time left to find families. Sadly, two of them have already run out of time, but can still be adopted if their information is specifically requested.
Time is so critical! Once these children are removed from advocacy sites and waiting-child lists, it becomes very difficult for them to be adopted--they no longer have a presence on a website and their chances of being chosen lessen dramatically. They need OUT! And many of these angels have medical needs which need urgent attention--without it they will surely die!
Because each of these children ARE OUR PROBLEM, church!
If not us, then who?
Update: Carson has a committed family!!!!!
Carson was the first little boy I met. I actually saw him on most days during my week-long visit to Pleven. He is a tiny little doll baby with the sweetest personality! Carson was born with hydrocephalus and a shunt was inserted. He was blessed with life-saving surgery and is doing well.
I could tell that Carson is an orphanage favorite. Unlike many of the children listed below, he was out of his crib a lot. I saw him outside with his caregiver, loving the swings. He has the sweetest smile and is truly a delightful little boy.
He would be such a joyful addition to any family.
Dang! He is so adorable! At just six years old, he is very little for his age.
I love his sweet smile. Every single time I saw Carson he looked happy and so content to just be with someone. He seemed to understand everything thatt was being said to him.
What can I say? Brandi broke my heart! She lives in the room next to our Hasya. Two rooms side-by-side. They're the rooms that the most profoundly special needs children call home--the 6th floor at Pleven--a place no child ever wants to end up!
It is an absolutely heartbreaking place--one where even the toughest of hearts are broken--left crying out to the Lord for His grace and mercy to pour down like rain upon that place!
A crib is the only life this little lovie knows! She is just six years old and cannot weigh more than 15 pounds. She is so, so tiny.
I went in every day that I was allowed on that unit to check on her.
And there she was.
Laying on her back.
Desperately needing to be loved. And cared for. And just snuggled.
Beautiful Brandi has Cerebral Palsy. She has very limited movement and is so stiff and contracted--simply because she has never been given the freedom to move and grow and thrive.
How she would blossom in a family! She would finally have a chance at LIFE!
I seriously could have run out of that place with this handsome boy in my arms! He is amazing. Considering that he has spent ten long years in an awful orphanage and can still find something to smile about...there's something so special about him.
Theodore has CP that only affects his lower body. Institutionalism is his greatest obstacle in life. He is very malnourished and is lagging behind in all areas of his life.
But oh my goodness! Is he so charming!
This young boy has a whole lot of personality in there just waiting to come out and make its presence known. He is such a joy.
Like all the children in this orphanage, Theodore is also very small for his age. He feeds himself, understands everything that is said to him and can bear weight on his legs with assistance.
He will thrive in a family!
Please, please don't leave him there! Ten years is long enough!
I was not able to meet Harvey in person since he was in the quarantine ward. These pictures were taken at the same time I was at Pleven. When the person who took them showed them to me from his camera, I just bawled.
I looked at this little boy and I wondered how different his life would be if he lived here--in a country where he could receive the very best medical attention!
Sweet Harvey has many medical needs. He is just three years old and is currently fed by feeding tube. I'm told that the excess hair on his body could be due to severe malnutrition and a total lack of human contact. He does not have it in his earlier referral pictures. How terribly sad!
I cannot even begin to imagine what life is like for this darling little boy.
Absolute misery on earth!
Oh, how desperately he needs HELP!
And a family.
He is one of the children I look at and wonder, Who Lord?
Who will go for him? This precious, amazing little boy who deserves a family JUST as much as any other orphan.
Who will literally save this precious child's life?
"Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me!" (Matt 25:31).
Update: Thad has a committed family!!!
Oh my goodness! Thad lies next to Hasya in his crib. I was not able to take my own pictures of him--but I know this boy. I spent time with him. I touched him. Loved him. And prayed over him.
There truly are no words. His story brings me to my knees...begging God to intervene and make all things right in the world.
This absolutely stunning little nine-year-old boy was once part of a family. His "condition" is not one he was born with. Thad was a typical four year old...until he was physically abused by his own family--beaten and left in a coma. He was taken out of that abusive situation and placed in the orphanage.
And there his needs have not been met and he spends his days in the confines of a crib.
Every. Single. Day.
As a result of profound physical abuse, Thad suffered a brain trauma and is significantly delayed and very small for his age. His limbs are very contracted, his legs bent up toward his chest.
But no matter what is "wrong" with Thad...he is a child! Created in the image of a God who does all things well. He is valuable!
Thad is just so, so lovely and so deserving of a LIFE where he can be loved and treasured...and where God can do a healing in his heart and in his tiny body.
And I wonder, "Who, Lord? Who are you raising up to save this boy's life?"
"Who will see the inestimable value in this boy--see him as his Father in heaven sees him?"
These pictures do Kramer no justice! He is such a handsome boy! I never got to photograph him, but one day I took Hasya outside and I recognized him instantly. I knew he was listed for adoption.
Oh, he is darling! Absolutely precious.
Kramer is also a little guy. Weighing just 25 pounds at 8, he is so very malnourished. He has spent his entire life in the orphanage--and it shows! He is so delayed and desperately needs physical therapy for his stiff joints. And good food to help him grow and become ALL whom God has created him to be!
Like all these other children, Kramer will do so well in a family.
He absolutely loved being outdoors and was so content to sit in his stroller and observe what was happening around him. He has such a sweet spirit and smiled all the time as I loved on him.
Just a little boy hungry to be loved!
A treasure, for sure.
Praise God!!!! Peyton has a committed family! Glory to God in the highest. We rejoice!
Praise God!!!! Peyton has a committed family! Glory to God in the highest. We rejoice!
These next two children I asked specifically if I could see. I longed to get updated pictures of them. Both Peyton and Penny are no longer listed anywhere for adoption. They were not chosen in the allocated time and their files were returned. However, they CAN be adopted if their information is requested from the Bulgarian government.
Peyton is such a sweetheart! He is almost 8 and is literally skin and bone. The only life this boy knows is that of a crib.
Day in and day out he lies there. His joints stiff.
His body so absolutely emaciated!
I was told by the carers that they cannot feed Peyton by mouth. He struggles to eat.
My uneducated guess would be that he would thrive with a temporary feeding tube--getting high-calorie nutrition in him would be such a blessing until he is strong enough to eat by mouth.
He has eyelashes a girl would do anything for!
My heart breaks for Peyton! He has been overlooked so many times. I have no idea why! He is gorgeous and has so much potential hidden away in a tiny, frail body.
With love, therapy, and good nutrition, this boy would do so, so well in a family.
What a sweet little blessing he would be to someone!
I long to see him finally find a family. SO many children in this orphanage have been chosen before him. I just have to believe that God has got a very special family for Peyton...they just have to find their son!
And lastly, here's lovely Miss Penny. She's the other little lovie I specifically asked to see. Like Peyton, Penny's file was returned to Bulgaria because no one chose her as their daughter. She ran out of time. In order to be adopted now (and it IS possible), her file will have to be requested once again.
Goodness gracious.....she's a little baby doll! A stunning beauty. Her big brown eyes are just amazing.
Like many of these children, Penny has CP. She is 11 years old and is also very small for her age. I would say she is around the size of a 3 year old.
Penny is absolutely delightful! She smiles readily and is fully aware of everything happening around her. She too is so severely malnourished and desperately needs good nutrition.
Penny has lived in an orphanage her entire life. She is very delayed in all areas of her life and has never received the therapy or medical intervention which would help her to blossom.
She is breathtakingly beautiful.
I absolutely loved my time with Penny. How I pray that someone will see this and know that she is the daughter of their hearts!
She has waited too long!
Anyone wanting information on any of these children can contact Shelley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Serious inquiries only please! Additional photos and videos of all these children are available.
And finally, I would be so, so grateful if you could share these sweet children anywhere you possibly can. Trusting that somebody will see them and have their hearts stirred is their ONLY hope of being found. They are all so precious. It's HARD knowing where they live!
Please don't let them remain where they are! Please!