Monday was Luke’s 4th birthday. I had planned a light airy post about Luke’s party and how far he has come since arriving home. However, that was not what the Lord laid on my heart.
See, when we adopted Luke…. his life was truly saved.
Now, most times when people talk about adoption they talk about “saving a child’s life”. And in the larger sense that is absolutely true. You are providing an orphan… a child that has nothing, with a family, medical and dental care, education, food, a warm bed, etc.
But what I am truly talking about are the orphans in critical medical condition. The kids with complicated special needs or that have just been ravaged by the orphanage system. Kids that will most definitely die if they are not adopted. Luke was one of those kids. However, we didn’t know this fact until we received him in China. Up until Gotcha Day we thought he was a typical orphanage cleft kid who had acclimated to his life at the orphanage and was doing "OK" waiting for us to come get him. He wasn’t. He was struggling, he was barely hanging on.
He was slowly withering away.
We were told by several medical professionals that if we hadn’t traveled when we did that Luke would not have seen his 2nd birthday.
He would not have LIVED.
He was that dehydrated, mal-nourished, delayed, compromised and frail.
When I think about this my heart is simply....heavy.
Luke’s adoption was when I truly understood what “saving a life” was all about. It wasn’t something we were prepared for. It was something we were thrust in to and it was a big burst of reality for us. To me it was the "other side" of adoption. The side that's not all fairies, rainbows and ponies. It was the heart-wrenching reality of child desperately struggling. And the knowledge that the child was desperately struggling for a long long time. With no relief.
Jake and Kiah’s adoptions had been very typical. Jake and Kiah were both loved, fed and cared for. They were doing well in their respective environments while waiting for us to come get them. Same with Logan and Ava. Logan was in a great orphanage in XuZhou, Jiangsu and Ava… she is at the fabulous Philip Hayden Foundation.
But kids like Luke…. kids who are in desperate situations at their orphanage, kids with diagnosed and undiagnosed special needs….every day is a struggle for them. Every day is spent withering away. Everyday their little spirits get more and more crushed.
Even though we didn’t know what we were getting into, there is an overwhelming sadness knowing that your child was that compromised and there was no escape for them until you came. So on Monday when we celebrated Luke’s birthday it was with happiness that we have this boy but also with a heavy heart. My heart is heavy for the knowledge and reality of all the children who are in desperate need of a forever family. DESPERATE NEED.
I pray that each of these children find their way to a forever family sooner rather than later. And that God directs all of our hearts to these waiting children so that these sweet young ones can find love, comfort and relief.