Thursday, September 18, 2008

Children Deserve So Much More

I'll just acknowledge from the start, this is not going to be an 'uplifting' post...but then, not everything in life is fun, so sometimes we just need to get into the nitty gritty of reality...the muck of it all...

Maybe by getting real about the dirt, we might decide to try and clean a few things up... My heart broke today and hey, misery loves company, so I'm inviting you into my heart break... But if you stay tuned to the end, it ends on a happy, fair jumping ahead... Sometimes you gotta take the bad with the good.

So, this morning was a REALLY hard morning…a couple of weeks ago we went for a meet and greet with our dentist…and after trying to scrape off some of the build up, he decided he wanted to try cleaning her teeth with the “power washer.” So this was our morning to go back… I had been so concerned that she had a mouth full of cavities, because the backs of her teeth were black, but it turns out it was plaque and tartar build up.

So Scott cleared his schedule and met us at the dentist office… I was not prepared for either of us (Abby or me) to do this alone. I had shown her pictures on line of what it looked like to have your teeth cleaned, but she was terrified. It was clear to me that she had never had this done before.

Our wonderful hygienist showed her everything before she did it, but I could see her little eyes welling up. And then she started cleaning them, and my heart broke. First the silent tears came, and then the soft sobs that we experienced on Gotcha Day. She was so brave, she didn’t fight, she just cried through the whole thing.

When it was over, she threw herself into her daddy’s arms…I am so thankful for my husband who will take time out of a very busy schedule and go to the dentist with us. And I am so thankful for the miracle that she does not have a single cavity!

But as I sat watching this precious child suffer through something she should have never had to suffer through, I just got mad… This is not a China problem…this is a world problem…really, it is a people problem…

In the US…children are neglected by parents…some are well provided for, in fact they have everything their heart desires, except the love and attention of a mother and father, who are off seeking their own fulfillment in the quest for more …some are neglected as their parents escape into drugs and alcohol…or they pursuit the satisfaction of their lust in sexual pleasures.

You know, you don’t have to be parentless to be an orphan, in the heart anyway. And our children are learning from our example…children are seeking birth control options younger and younger…they are stealing prescription drugs from their parent’s cabinets…they are killing themselves on the roads with alcohol, drugs and speed. The foster care system (and even some homes) are full of children who have been abused, neglected and abandoned.

In Africa (I'm picking on Africa because I've been there and seen it)…AIDS is rampant…children live in sewage lined streets…they scour for food on the local garbage dumps…they live in houses made of garbage on those very same dumps…elementary age children are left to care for toddlers, their experience of playing in the mud is trying to hold up the walls of their mud huts during rainy season… Beautiful little girls are taken by family members, have wood chips pressed into their feet and then made to dance around the fire for the entertainment of the men…babies are left under trees by the roadside and survive on dirt until some kind stranger takes them to a local orphanage…

All over the world, governments make it almost impossible to give these children a home…one of my friends has waited almost 1 ½ years to bring her twin boys home, all because of a tyrant who was on a power trip…another friend is praying hard for difficulties to get worked out so she can bring home her 3, yes, I said 3 babies (a sibling group) to take her family of 4 to a family of 7 (bless you sweet friend…bless you). I could go on and on with stories of willing parents and precious children who could have been in homes months ago, except for the slow wheels of the system and power hungry bureaucrats.

All over the world, children are suffering because they are ‘the least of these’ in the eyes of too many. But the fact is, children are a blessing, a gift from God and we are simply the stewards of these amazing little gifts. Someday, this world will have to answer to how poorly these blessings have been cared for...

I admit, as I sat and watched Abby cry, I got angry at China…at a nation who would neglect something so basic…at a nation where a 12 month old weighs only 11 pounds…or where a critically ill child is not getting the care she needs because of the pride of the local bureaucracy…

But then I thought, how dare I be angry at China when all I have to do is look out into my community and see so many others who are not receiving any better, right here in the US?

So, as I said, this is not a China problem and this is certainly not a GOD created problem… In an earlier post, I discussed how He gave us free will and we made a choice…man alone is responsible for this tragedy, we have no one to blame but ourselves! God is just merciful enough to provide a path of redemption and restoration, we just have to be willing to step onto that path and follow it.

Steven Curtis Chapman says that if 7% of all professing Christians would adopt just one child, we would effectively eradicate the problem of children who deserve a forever family and don’t have one…7%...that’s SEVEN PERCENT…that is such a small number and it proves that not everyone is supposed to adopt a child…there aren’t enough to go around…and then when you take into account my friend Ruthi who has adopted 4, friend Trina, 3, 2 friends named Laurie who have or are adopting 2 and my sweet friend who is adopting 3 at the same time…(I’m still in shock for her)…even less people are needed because these amazing families are doing more than their part.

And maybe you’re part isn’t to be one of the 7%, but one of the 93% who are just supposed to care…Maybe you’re just supposed to pray or give…or donate miles…or cook a meal for a family who has recently adopted, or offer them hand me downs…or gift cards…or maybe even just a listening ear and a word of encouragement... I don’t know, but in some way, we all need to do our part to give these precious children what they deserve…loving, stable homes with loving parents…forever families.

So, how did we spend the rest of our day? What else…we went shopping!! Abby’s class had a field trip today, so she couldn’t go to school and still make the dreaded dentist appointment, so I decided we needed a mother/daughter outing! We went to lunch and then to Libby Lu’s for some “princess time!”

Enjoy the pictures of the fruit of our shopping expedition!


Jen said...

Oh, Sharla, I'm so sorry the dentist appointment was so hard for Abby! It certainly looks like she enjoyed Libby Lu, though! Chloe Grace goes for the same procedure next Thursday. Thankfully, our hygenist is willing to space it out if we need to - but I'm still dreading it! Abby looks so happy in those pictures. Isn't it amazing how far we've all come in such a short amount of time?
Still praying for your family,

Denise said...

Thank you Sharla for this post. It brings to light how many children suffer and if more of us took a "leap of faith" we could help to eradicate this world wide problem. God has put the orphans on my heart as well...

So glad that you put the princess pics at the end so the tooth incident could be forgotten for the moment!!

I am blessed every time I come here...thank you sweet sister~

Truly Blessed said...

Again, it's like I could have written your post.

My sweet baby's teeth were neglected from the moment they came in until the child was placed in my arms on June 23, 2008 at 19 1/2 months old. Her teeth were brown, chipped and broken, her gums were bright red. She was miserable as I introduced the toothbrush to her.

I used to be amazed when APs would report that their child's teeth had to be pulled, or capped due to decay -- and wonder "who in the world doesn't care for their children's teeth?" Of course, my narrow view precluded me from realizing that the nannies at the orphanage were the very people who didn't take time to brush or oversee brushing -- until I had a child of my own whose dental health had been ignored for months.

You're right, though, this isn't a China problem, it is a world problem.

Your sweet daughter is beautiful, as are her teeth. Glad you had a fun day shopping with such a little princess!

The Ferrill's said...

I am so excited to find your blog tonight...nothing is by chance!
I am a member of CBS too (AL) and we are in process of adopting an 8 yr. old girl from China. I have read through some of your previous posts, and if my family wasn't asleep I would be saying some loud AMEN's!
I have read books and talked to others who have adopted older children, and I look forward to reading through the rest of your posts now, and gleaning whatever wisdom the Lord knows I need for this adventure!
If you have time, could you email me?
Thank you and many blessings to you...and I LOVE this post, your writing seems to put into words exactly how I feel, too.
I'm enjoying your blog SO much already and I've just found it tonight!