I have not written for quite a while. But I feel compelled to make a plea for assistance. Sean and Lia have been home for 7 1/2 months. These 7 1/2 months have been full of huge rewards and huge progress. We have loved every moment of it... even the hard parts. They still show the same pure unbelievable joy to have a family that they did in the days after they arrived home.
But, I need your help. I need for you to not turn away and ignore the tragedy and the disgust of the situation that millions of children face in their learning years.
I have an eight year old boy who 7 1/2 months later still can't go to sleep by himself. Memories of bullying haunt him. Feelings of abandonment by his care takers magnify his insecurities. Memories of going to sleep and waking in the morning to find that various room mates passed away haunt him. The memory of a friend who had grown up in the orphanage with him who took his own life in their room, haunts him. He often fears death. He wonders if he will be burned when he dies like the caretakers burned the infants when they died. Like he explained it: "they put them in the fire... and that's it".
His bottom was covered with the scars from diaper rash. He has an abscess that still is not healed and was uncared for. Nobody had taken time to potty train him. He is still learning that he can do things... even simple things. He paints a wonderful cheerful outside... his survivor mechanism, but inside he is shaken. Although he was surrounded by 30 other boys in his group, he does not know how to make friends. Although the orphanage had a playground outside and a "swimming pool", he was never allowed to play on it... only stare at it out the window. Cole and Emma have taught him to play and to share and to run, swing, climb.
I have a 13 year old daughter who once had a family. But her tales of her father curdle your blood. Stories of starvation. Stories of him eating in front of her while she had nothing. Stories of isolation and neglect. Stories of unbelievable physical abuse. Stories of sleeping out in the snow with no coat.
As she went into the orphanage for her protection at age 10, she was assigned to care for the babies. A job she welcomed with excitement. Little did she know, the babies were very sick and many of them died in her arms. As a pre-teen, she often fell apart when they died. Crying for days and not being able to eat. She too witnessed much of the death that Sean saw as the bodies of the dead babies were burned and as older children died. Children with seizures were often allowed to die without medical care. Hence when Emma had a seizure, she fully expected that she would die.
Now I will tell you, that along the way, there were some wonderful people who showed enormous compassion for both of them. There were people who did their best to manage a difficult situation. There was one girl in particular that would bring food to Lia when her father would not. She took her in for a time to protect her. Her aunt and uncle eventually rescued her and took her to the orphanage to protect her.
I will also remind you that these stories are not isolated to these 2 children, but variations go on around the world daily. Even domestically, we know that institutionalization is far inferior to a family.
Sean often pleads for us to bring more children home. Lia has decided to dedicate her life to helping bring hope to children without. Since they don't have much of a voice right now, I will ask for them. If you are able to adopt, adopt. If you are able to support another family adopt, support them. If you are able to donate, donate. If you are inclined politically, stand up and make a difference. Change the system. Show compassion to someone in need. Fund raise. Speak. Love. Like. Share.
Imagine the difference you could make. Make the difference in a way only you can.