Sunday, November 2, 2014

NDNorth: On Orphan Sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. It's a day when churches across America focus on the fatherless, discuss what they can do, and inspire others to advocate. Hopefully today is the day that YOU will decide to do something that will change your life forever.

It shouldn't be a day of thought, but a day of action.

Today all I can thing of is a little girl named Rina. On September 14th she turned one. I hesitate to write that she "celebrated her first birthday" because I really do not know. Eleven days later she was abandoned. While her birth-date is something that the orphanage determined upon her admittance into the orphanage, it's a sad marker in her life today. Maybe it was on her first birthday that her birth-parents realized how needy their daughter was, and how inadequate they felt to meet those needs. September 25th, just five short weeks ago, circumstances occurred that changed Rina's life forever. She became an orphan.

When we first met Rina, as part of our formula project, she didn't really stand out to us. There are always new babies. But two weeks later we weighed her again... and she had lost a significant amount of weight. Immediately Rina was on our radar.

Was she eating? Yes, when she eats she eats well.
Did she vomit or choke? No, not at all.
"Then why," we asked her nannies, "has she lost weight?"

"She only eats when starving. She is grieving. She misses her mama."

She is grieving.
She misses her mama.

We can hold babies... we can feed them nutritious foods, we can provide them with developmental toys and activities. But we can not give them back their mamas and babas. 

The unconditional love of a family is what children need the most, and it's what their little hearts crave the most as well. Without love - without knowing that they are precious - these children will suffer and struggle. Some of them put up seemingly-strong fronts, they seek attention and show off and survive because they demand love, from anyone and everyone. Other children hide, shrink behind whatever they can find and they forget who they are. They lose their identity. They forget how precious they are.

In just a few hours New Day North will open up a new room in the local orphanage. The orphanage has provided us with two large rooms on the top floor of their facility and the past few weeks have been busy in preparation. We interviewed nearly a dozen women and selected seven of them to go to New Day Beijing for two weeks of training. That was followed by another 10 days of training in Hohhot, and some hands-on work in the orphanage itself. We are really excited about each one of our new nannies.

The new room is ready to be set up. Equipment, including cribs and changing tables has been purchased. The room is ready, the nannies are ready, and the children are more than ready. 

Monday morning in China, the plan is that seven children will be moved from their downstairs bedroom in the orphanage. They will go from a world where one mama responds to the cries of 10 children, to a haven of hope where each cry is met by a pair of open arms and a comforting voice. 

Rina will be one of these children.

We cannot replace her father and her mother. We cannot give her back the life and the love that she misses. But we will do our best. 

For the next few weeks and months our nannies will work hard to remind Rina that she is a precious little girl. They will give her a voice. They will love her.

Our hope is that one day, not too long in the future, Rina will be a chubby little girl with a giggle. We hope that she will have an opportunity to be adopted.

Will you join us in welcoming Rina into our project? And will you join us in hoping and praying that she will hang on to life even through her sadness?

Today, on Orphan Sunday, orphans will be given a second chance...

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