As Zoya's fourth birthday approaches, I can't help but think what this day could have meant for her had she remained in her orphanage.
Had she not been adopted, she'd not be celebrating with cake and balloons, but rather with a one way ticket to an adult mental institution :( Most children with special needs in Eastern Europe are transferred to an adult mental institution when they turn four. The "lucky" ones don't go until they're closer to 5 or 6. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, if Zoya were still in that orphanage, she'd be facing a transfer. I know this to be true because the orphanage that she lived in is closing, which means some of those children...even children UNDER four years old, are being transferred to the adult mental institution. The thought of that crushes me with a weight so heavy I can barely breathe.
|Zoya's first night of freedom!|
Our past two years together flash before my eyes. Images of Zoya and the amazing soul she is keep popping into my head, paired with the paralyzing realization of what really could have been.
So often over the past couple of weeks, I've looked at my sweet daughter and been so saddened to think of her being transferred and how scary that would be for her. Can you imagine this sweet face confined to a crib, laying in her own urine and being neglected and abused, simply because nobody cared?
Can you picture this smiling face wasting away day after day, possibly being tied down and drugged to keep her from causing any trouble?
She is still just a baby in so many ways....four years old is too young to face such a terrible outcome. Shawn and I kick ourselves now every time we think of all the excuses we came up with as to why we shouldn't adopt Zoya. Of course we never would have known, had we not adopted her, how amazing she is.
Of course we wouldn't have thought about how she was being put in a van somewhere in Ukraine and being driven to the place in which she would surely suffer greatly and die in. Looking back, it makes me sick to think we were almost so selfish that we were going to walk away from this blessing and in turn allow this child to suffer.
Can you look at this face and tell her she's not worth it? Can you tell her her life isn't valued? Can you tell her you'll sit by and not do a thing while she languishes in an adult mental institution?
Thank goodness we'll never have to tell this child those things, but what about "Darla?" Can you tell her those things? She reminds me a lot of Zoya's referral picture. And I can easily see Zoya's profile saying those same words, "She is considered significantly delayed cognitively." Well yes, probably because she has been passed over, abandoned, forgotten. Nobody has ever invested a thing into her. Darla is facing a transfer, where her fate is worse than you or I can probably imagine. What if this is your child?
|Zoya's referral picture|
|Darla's referral picture|
In honor of Zoya's fourth birthday, we're making a donation to Darla's grant fund in hopes that her mama and daddy will come forward and give her a home rather than a slow death in a mental institution. Would you please consider doing the same to honor our Zoya girl, and to bring attention to Darla? Please share this little girl! I'm begging you. When I look at her I can see what could have been for Zoya. My heart breaks for Darla and for the many other orphans who might never know what "family" means.
Indifference IS a sin my friends. Please don't become indifferent to the overwhelming needs in this world. Do something, anything, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I need to remind myself daily to do the same. If you don't, you may never know whose suffering you could have prevented. You may never know how interceding could have made all the difference in another human being's life. Your child could be laying in a crib half way around the world suffering because you're too scared, too selfish, too control-freakish (my former self) to get up and move yourself into action! What else do you need to hear to be motivated to act on behalf of the orphan in distress?