Hi again – Rachel here. Some of you know that I am still struggling with my Graves Disease. I’ve been taking medication for it, but it hasn’t been doing the trick. So, I’m having a chat with the doctor tomorrow to discuss my options – increasing the dosage, changing the meds, etc. In the meantime, as I’ve described in an earlier post here, I am suffering some side effects. One of them, the worst one, actually, is emotional. It’s been a crazy up and down while my hormones take a hay ride…one minute I’m so angry I want to beat my hand against the wall, the next minute I’m crying my eyes out. Those of you who know me well know that that’s just not me.
What does that have to do with orphans, you wonder?
Well…I made the mistake, on one of my sleepless nights, when I was teary already and having a panic attack, to watch “The Dying Rooms.” If you haven’t seen it, choose carefully. It’s a documentary made in 1995 about orphanages in China. In it, they show horrific, devastating images of children being starved to death, tied to chairs and cribs all day and night with rope burns infecting their arms and legs, and painfully suffering and passing away from treatable diseases. These children aren’t crying. They’re achingly quiet. They rock and stare. The ones who are starving whimper sometimes, and their sunken skin reveals the texture of their bones underneath.
No, it wasn’t wise of me to watch the documentary. And I really haven’t slept all that well since. I just can’t get those images out of my head. I have children now, and things have been awakened in my heart that weren’t there before. You parents know what I mean. Add my disease…and I’m a wreck. I randomly burst into tears whenever my thoughts stray to the idea of a child suffering, in China, or in the children’s hospital in San Diego, or in an angry alcoholic’s home, or anywhere.
Disease or not, it is a blight on humanity that we neglect and abandon our children, that we starve them to death, that we rape them and kill them. They are the most vulnerable and innocent. And they deserve better.
So, David and I have decided to do something about it. We’ve decided not to complain about the problem, but to model the behavior we’d like to see in others. We can only do a little. But, “Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little.” And, “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” (Both quotes are from Edmund Burke.)
Doing nothing isn’t an option. Not for me…and I hope, not for you.
1. We’ve decided to ship supplies to orphanages in need.
David and I are done procreating. So, the clothes, toys, bath towels, diapers and wipes, diaper cream, bath soap, socks, shoes, and blankets that we no longer need are going to children who need them. Many of the things we are donating were given to us – and so a big thank you goes out to Jon Hinkin and Natalie Schiller, Tova and Jonathan, Amy and Phil, Jeff and Michelle, Ed and Jamie, Rick and Susan, Gwen, Neil and Tiffany, and April, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting. The bouncy chair, bottles and bottle nipples, onesies, hats, pants and jackets – they will warm and serve children who don’t have parents or aunts or uncles to love them, feed them, buy for them… Thank you for your generosity, and for allowing us to pay it forward. We’re sending this particular set of goodies to an organization that will deliver them to orphanages in Odessa, Ukraine. I hope they feel our love and prayers.
If you have items you’d like to send, let me know, and I can connect you with organizations that ship…
2. We’ve decided to donate. We chose Love Without Boundaries. They serve the orphaned and abandoned in China, and they do it well. They provide nutrition, education, foster homes, and caring medical procedures to help special needs kids. China doesn’t usually allow kids to be put up for adoption until they have had corrective medical procedures. But most state-run orphanages cannot afford such procedures. So LWB comes in and helps the kids get fixed up, so they can be adopted. David and I are sponsoring their nutrition program right now which provides high-quality formula and food to state-run orphanages to help prevent malnourishment.
I encourage you to check LWB out, and consider giving to them…but there are other great organizations as well. I’ve done a lot of research, so if you want a recommendation, please just let me know.
3. We’re also volunteering. I’ve just joined the communications team at Love Without Boundaries, and will be serving a few hours a week helping with their website, blog, social media, and the like. We don’t have nearly as much cash to donate as we’d like, so at least I can give them some of my time.
I have a full-time job, infant twins, and an anxiety-inducing disease. If I can do it, so can you.
4. Finally, we’re considering adoption. Most of you know that I am from an adoptive family. I have 3 dear siblings who are Korean, although I think we look a lot alike. 🙂 I’ve always thought that once married, I would adopt – but David and I had second thoughts when we found out I was pregnant with twins, cuz, that’s a whole lot of baby all at once. Now that the twins are born, and healthy, and nearly manageable (for now – just wait until they start walking…), it’s back on my mind. The best, and maybe only, way to alleviate the problem of orphaned and abandoned children is to find them forever families. There are 150 million orphans in the world. Maybe one of them could be yours. Maybe one of them could be mine.
One of the keys to adoption is to be willing to consider a special needs child. Most families think they can only care for a healthy kid, and there are many families waiting for healthy children. But the special needs kids are available now – they are waiting. And some of their needs aren’t so special. Adoptspecialneeds.org has lots of great information, and a great video. (For those of you who’ve already seen this stuff from my Facebook posts…sorry for the repeat!)
I hope you’ll all forgive me for this, but even after my medicine is properly dosed and kicking in, I believe I will still care very deeply for this cause. So, I’m begging all of you to do something about it with us. Imagine, just for a moment that it’s YOUR child languishing in an orphanage with no love or attention, lacking food and clean water, suffering from a curable illness. Your child doesn’t deserve that – no child does.
This post has gotten too long, so I will provide links to resources for you to peruse in a follow-up post. Please take a look, think, pray, discuss, and then decide to do something. Help in any way you can.
Much love to all of you. Thanks for reading. And if you decide to jump in and do something, do tell me about it. I look forward to celebrating our activism. 🙂