On September 26th, 2007
There is a beautiful seven year old boy in Guangdong province who is in need of his own mom and dad to love him. His medical need is that he was burned as a child, but he has not let that stop him from going to kindergarten, making lots of friends, and charming the socks off of everyone who meets him. Right in his adoption file it says that he can make a friend out of anyone in 30 minutes flat. This little boy only has a few days left before his file is due to go back to China…..unchosen. Isn’t that a horrible word? Unchosen. It is hard to believe that any child would have to carry that label.
This particular little boy weighs heavy on my heart tonight for a reason I want to explain. You see….his orphanage first contacted us to see if we could help him medically with his burns. But as soon as we heard about how smart he was and how personable, we convinced the orphanage that his real hope was in being adopted. The orphanage wasn’t sure. They didn’t think anyone would want to adopt an older boy, and one with burns on his body. But we assured them that somewhere there was a family waiting for a little boy just like him. And so the orphanage agreed. But then the province was also unsure, and so we once again said, “we know there will be a family”. Finally his file was sent up to Beijing and then on to a US adoption agency. And no family has yet been found.
I think it is important for me to interject a story here, and my apologies to my friend Lisa for not getting her permission first to tell it. I hope she will forgive me. When I was first getting started with my work in China, one of the orphanages we helped did not do many special needs adoptions. They didn’t think that the kids would be chosen, and so many of the children were getting older and watching only the healthy babies leave for their new homes. They would hear the aunties say to the babies, “oh today is a lucky day….you will have a family to love you.” And the preschoolers and older kids would think to themselves….’it must be wonderful to have a family pick you.’
Well, we were going to do a heart surgery for one little girl in this orphanage, and so I asked for a photo of her so that we could raise funds. This orphanage didn’t have a lot of nice clothing, so for this special photograph they wanted the little girl to look nice. Another little girl in the orphanage, named Yan, who was just three years old, had been given a beautiful red coat by a volunteer, and she loved that red coat and wore it all the time. The aunties went and took off her red coat to put on the child with heart disease for her photo, and Yan burst into tears crying. The aunties scolded her and said, “Yan, you must share your red coat…don’t be selfish”, but Yan kept crying and crying and kept trying to climb over the gate to get out in the hallway where the photo was being taken. Finally one aunty had heard enough, and so she walked over to Yan to take her back into the room. As she got closer, she realized that Yan was NOT crying because the other little girl was wearing her coat. No, not at all. Yan was crying while saying over and over, “take MY picture…please take MY picture. I want a family….take my picture so I can have a family, too. ”
You see, at the ripe old age of three, Yan had already learned that the only way a baby got a family was by having her picture taken first. And she wanted a family of her own so badly, that she was crying to her aunties to please take her photo, too.
I wanted to share this story because the reason I am so sad that Joey hasn’t found a home yet doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that we told his orphanage a family would be found, or that we told provincial that certainly there was a family for him. I am sad thinking about Joey because I know exactly what happened when they prepared his adoption file earlier this year. I have been in orphanages when they do the files, and each and every time the aunties try to make the kids look at cute as possible. They say things like, ‘smile pretty so a family will pick you.” I am sad when I think about Joey’s file, because I know he had probably gotten used to the idea that there would not be a family coming for him because of his burns….and then we went and placed hope back into his heart. I am sure he knew exactly why the orphanage was taking his photos that day, and I am sure the staff told him to look as handsome and clever as possible so that a family would choose him. Tonight I am thinking about this handsome little boy who is probably wondering each day now if his photo was good enough for a family to choose him.
So far…..no one has.
If you know anyone who might be open to adding a little boy to their family, please let them know about Joey. More information about him can be found here: http://www.swa.net/children.php
I still want to believe that there is someone out there who is wanting a little boy to love and read stories to. Surely there is someone out there who would want to teach him to fish, show him how to hit a baseball, and who would let him ride on their shoulders feeling like he was the king of the world. Surely somewhere there is a family who can give Joey the unbelievable gift of knowing he is CHOSEN, so that he can finally be home where he belongs.