Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cry of the Older Child

Birthdays should be times of joyous celebration surrounded by family and friends. For many waiting children, however, each birthday marks yet another year gone by without a family of their own. A grim reminder that they remain unwanted, each birthday becomes one step closer to the day when they will age out, become ineligible for adoption, and face the world ... alone.

Recently I read about a little Haitian girl who broke down in tears as the children in her orphanage sang "Happy Birthday" to her. She knew she had only one year left for a family to choose her. She knew the chances were slim. I read of an Asian girl who dreams constantly of one day waking up to find her mommy standing outside the orphanage with her arms outstretched. This young girl smiles as she imagines herself running into those arms and being embraced and held and wanted. And, of course, many of us are familiar with the story of sweet Davids in Latvia, who, only days before his sixteenth birthday, was rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. The stress of facing a future without a family took a physical toll on his young body. Fortunately, Davids' story has a happy ending. In just a few days he's going home with his forever family. His future will be full of joyous birthday celebrations, family gatherings, and love. I don't know how the story will end for the others.

The reality is, it is much more intimidating to adopt an older child. It can be downright scary. Older kids carry emotional baggage and scars. The risks run higher. The challenges are much more intense. Bonding with them and integrating them into your family are far more difficult. And should you already have children in your home, these obstacles become increasingly more complex.

But hard does not mean impossible. Especially if God is in it. If you are called to adopt an older child, and not everyone is, God offers you a promise. He will walk the road with you. He will carry you if He has to, but you will never, not for one moment, be left alone, because these older children are His children too. "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?" Jeremiah 32:27.

Today, I ask for prayers for the waiting older children. They may look all grown up on the outside, but inside there's a broken heart that has never stopped crying out for love.

The Waiting Child - An Adoption Poem
By Debbie Bodie

I saw you meet your child today
You kissed your baby joyfully
And as you walked away with him
I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby, yet
Inside I'm aching miserably
I want to plead as you go by,
"Does no-one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today
In love with her before you met
And as I watched you take her out
I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!
I knew I'd seen your face before!
But you came for a second babe.
Does no-one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today
But this time there was something new
A nurse came in and took MY hand
And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I'm almost six!
And there are infants here, you see?
But then you kissed me and I knew
The child you picked this time was me.

Copyright 1997