Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Truth of Orphan Care (Little Silver Necklace)

I originally planned on posting tonight about even more adoptive families that we are lovin' on and praying for here at S4TS (pretty amazing to think there are even more families to pray and advocate for after my last mammoth post!). But then I had a spontaneous bout of inspiration to talk about another big topic in the world of Orphan Advocacy, and thus, those families will be coming to you later in the week :)  In the meantime though, if you want updates on the families previously mentioned, all of them are pretty proficient bloggers too, so you can check their personal blogs for any updates you might fancy.

As I've been sprucing up the pages on our little website here, I filed things into a mental list of "most improvement needed" to "fine as they are." That list went something like (in order from most in need of sprucing to least) The Charities We Love page (a year overdue), Our Orphan Loves (most of the kids on there now have families! YAY!), Donate! (same deal as Our Orphan Loves- most of the families on there were home and most of the Orphans now have a Family Sponsorship Page we need to link!), Children we are Praying Home (like the last two, most kids are HOME at this point!), and Our Graduates (Gotta have a page FOR those families and their new additions who are home!). Somewhere at the bottom of that list was the Team page, which didn't need anything done to it, and the Our Story page- same deal.

So I thought.

As I read the summary I had given of this blog's humble roots on the Our Story page, trying to read it as if I had just come across this site, I didn't feel very convinced that I'd want to discern a missionary lifestyle or advocate for Orphans by the time I was done reading. It all felt a little...cliche. Not personal enough. Not enough passion.

Not enough truth.

Part of that is the fact that I will always be my own harshest critic. I can always see little caveats in my writing, my pictures, everything. On one hand that's proven to be a good thing as I always try to put 100% into anything I do. On the other hand, I admit I can drive myself nuts sometimes with it.

But I decided to change the way I described S4TS' "story" anyway.

One thing I often see in both my writing  and sometimes in the writings of fellow Orphan advocates is the struggle to find a balance between giving appeal to the journey we've embarked on as Orphan advocates and/or adoptive families and giving the reality of how hard it can be. Because how often do the majority of us (myself included) want to be completely honest about the tough stuff in Orphan Care? The fact that sometimes, Orphan Care and Adoption can be like working in a field? One day you're breaking your back planting seeds and turning soil, wondering if what you're doing will amount to anything, and then there are days where you get to reap  and feast upon the delicious fruits of your labor? In the same ways with Orphan Care, there are some days where you feel totally alone and like you're accomplishing NOTHING,  and then there are the days where everyone supports you in what you're doing and you see change happening to the point you tremble with excitement.

Convincing other people who have never adopted before, been on a mission trip, or experienced Orphan care in the plethora of ways it can be seen is hard. Living a lifestyle of self-sacrifice is both counter to what most cultural influences would have us believe and counters what we ourselves want sometimes. Living in a way that requires endless amounts of emotional and physical energy, that never guarantees the nicest house, the nicest car, and a daily Starbucks run sounds pretty hard to most people.

But I am yet to see a sacrifice that does not render beauty at some point in the future.

As I have thought and dwelt on how best to summarize Orphan Care, I see it most simply understood by looking at a beautiful little silver necklace I got about a week ago:

 This is one of the Carrington Necklaces supporting the Burman Family's adoption of their two new sons, Kelten and Teagan. When I first heard the Burman's were doing a necklace fundraiser I was ecstatic! I instantly decided to spend a portion of the spending money I had to help this family bring their two boys home, and hey, getting a gorgeous, hand-made necklace wasn't a bad thing either! :) I chose a style that had the inscription "Pray~Advocate~Adopt" around the outline with a brownish-lavender pearl in the middle.

After I had sent in my order, though, it took a few days for the necklace to make it over halfway across the U.S of A. Waiting was tough- I wanted my Carrington Necklace (Which I now where proudly just about anywhere I go)! But on the day it arrived, I pulled out the beautiful little  piece of jewelery from its plastic pouch and it all seemed worth it. The money spent, the time waited, had all been for a better cause: so that two boys in Eastern Europe can come home to a loving family, and I can tell their story to all of the people around me who see the charm around my neck and ask about it.

That is the Truth of Orphan Care. It requires sacrifice after sacrifice you might not think is easy or fun at the time. It will take your time, your energy, and the reactions you get when you tell people about it will range from "WOW, that's AMAZING!" to "Good for you" to "Why on earth would you want to dedicate all your time and energy to that?" But in the end, the fruits of your labors, just like that silver necklace, is not only worth the time and energy you put in, but will teach you life lessons that will change you forever, and will tell a far more beautiful story than you could have ever imagined.