Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Uncle Adam

It started with hiring a new nanny last spring. During the interview process, the woman happened to mention her husband's situation. “Adam” was 40 years old and used to be a driver and work in construction. But then he was in a serious car accident and suffered horrible burns over his face and the upper half of his body. He lived, but healing burns left behind terrible scar tissue, and he was marked for life.

After he recovered, he tried to go back to his normal life. At first he looked for work, but no one would hire him because his disfigured face would "scare their customers away." He eventually gave up looking for a job, and for two years was left to stay at home while his wife worked hard to support their family, his sense of uselessness daily increasing. He would go out into the village or the city occasionally, running errands and looking for odd jobs, but he became increasingly broken by the stares. Then one day he was on an elevator with his wife in the city, and two women got on. One of them looked at him, and she started screaming.

He couldn't get off the elevator.

He had to stay there while she stared at him in horror, screaming in fear and revolt.

It was the last day he ever left his house.

After hearing the story from his wife during her interview, we suggested that she have her husband come in for an interview for an open gardener's position. The woman looked up with surprise, shocked that after hearing the story, someone would actually want to face her husband. He came a few hours later. During the first interview, he never made eye contact and kept his head lowered. Clearly very nervous, he wore a large hat to shield his face. When he was called back for a second interview, he couldn't hide his surprise. When he was offered the job, he nearly broke down with thankfulness and shock.

He started immediately... turning our sometimes overgrown backyard into a place of beauty and peace. The garden is the perfect place for Adam; he is mostly by himself, so he doesn't have to face the unwelcome stares of strangers. His task all day long is to prune, plant, and create beauty – a job given to a man who many treat as though he takes away beauty. All of the staff at our organization where instructed never to stare or treat him any differently than anyone else; those who did so would face consequences.

While the backyard is lovely, the restoration in his life is what is most beautiful. Adam says that it didn’t take him long to notice people at New Day treat him differently than most, and it has helped him gain confidence and hope for a bright future. He enjoys his work here, and feels comfortable around the staff and children. He’s become a great uncle for our little boys. Right now, Brett and Liam are both particularly taken with him. When the children are in the backyard, it is common to find these little guys trailing their Uncle Adam, “helping” him with things like feeding the goats and watering the lawn.

To see him today, confidently joking with our staff and tossing our kids up in the air, we’re reminded of how much has changed since he came to work here. We don't believe it was pure chance that brought this man to a job where generally the only people he sees are little children – little children who think it is completely normal to have only one leg or to have a twisted arm or to have a large birthmark in a visible place. Children who point and wonder where your scar for your heart surgery is... They aren't terrified of him, because they don't notice anything wrong.

Whether it is for the orphans in our care or our staff, this is what it is all about. Restoring the broken; bringing hope to the hopeless; lifting up the downtrodden.

23 comments:

  1. I was just thinking about this today! It is so obvious how much Brett loves him and how much he loves the kids.

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  2. Oh, I have tears streaming down my face right now....You might want to make an icon for a 'tissue warning' of sorts:-)!

    The beauty, love, and acceptance that fills New Day is so powerful. Adam seems like such a gentle, kind hearted man....It's so heartwarming to see him with the boys.

    If I could, I would really love to just give him a hug. Thank you for sharing this.

    God bless~
    Tami

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  3. What a beautiful picture of love and compassion in action. Very inspiring!

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  4. What an uplifting story, especially since Brett is a part of it! We're great friends with Brett's soon-to-be family, and we're so happy he's in the hands of such warm, accepting people. He's going to be part of another GREAT family, by the way!! --Caroline Lewis, mommy to Brett's future playmates, Emily PeiPei, 4, Guangxi and David Jian Qun (cl/cp), 3, Tianjin

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  5. what a happy, wonderful story!! the picture of the little boy touching his face is just amazingly touching, it brought tears to my eyes. God Bless!
    Adele

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  6. What a wonderful story! I bet Uncle Adam brings joy to everyone of your kids as well as the staff he sees each & every day!

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  7. THANKS CARRIE JOE !!! LOVE, DAD.

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  8. Beautifully written, Carrie! It is wonderful that Adam has found a place of acceptance and belonging. We can all learn from the unconditional love that the children show him...we need to see through the outside and to the heart of the person inside. This is what real love is all about!

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  9. What a wonderful and touching story!

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  10. This is one of the best stories I have ever read! What a true blessing. That's what the love of God is,,he doesn't see our outside but only our heart. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  11. Thanks for sharing Adam's story. I loved seeing the boys with him.

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  12. LOVE THIS! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  13. That is so incredibly sweet. What a blessing New Day is to Adam, and Adam is to New Day. The pictures of him with those little ones trailing just warms my heart :)

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  14. Absolutely incredible! What a wonderful message this is to all of us. The value we have emanates from within!

    Beautiful...just beautiful. Thank you for sharing Uncle Adam's story!

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  15. Precious! Thanks for sharing this story.

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  16. That is just amazing, and the post is just so heart warming. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Awesome!!! God bless you, Uncle Adam!!!

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  18. ...a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair! Awesome!

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  19. Amazing and so encouraging to know that God is using New Day to do so much more than care for the little ones. The effects of obedience to Him to care for the least of these is far reaching...the blessings are abundant...

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