When I think about the enormous, too-big-to-understand orphan
problem - the idea that there are still millions of children in
this world growing up without parents -- I feel incredibly
privileged. Of course I feel privileged to have grown up with two
loving parents. I feel privileged for all of my years of education.
I feel privileged for all of my years of home and food and health.
And then there is the incredible privilege of not only getting paid
to do work that I love, but getting paid so much. (No need to tell
the university I said that.)
But the privilege that I was marveling about today is the
privilege to see the "orphan problem" up close. It is a privilege
to have my heart crack open and break when I make baby Tabitha make
a giant, gummy, drooling smile in clinic, and I realize that her
mother did not even live long enough to see her daughter's first
tooth coming in. It is a privilege when I see my little buddy
Stephen's delight over the miracle of receiving a story book that
is just for him and I grasp that he does not have a single toy to
call his own at this orphanage where he stays. It is a privilege
when Jeremiah refuses to leave the comfort of my lap during a party
for children from the emergency shelter, and my eyes fill with
tears at the memory of how sick his mother was the last time I saw
her in clinic and how he will never get to sit in her lap
All those small heart breaks and cracks and tears of mine - they
are privileges in the face of this problem. Because I know. Because
I cannot forget. And because I think that knowing really is the
first step before you can act in love. Before you can make a
difference. (G.I. Joe had it right - "Knowing is Half the Battle!"
Based on G.I. Joe, the other half of the battle is apparently guns
and lasers, but I have some disagreement with that part.)
If you want to KNOW, I think a great first step is to read this
post over at Rage Against the Minivan entitled
"Let's not leave advocating for orphans to adoptive parents"
and watch the trailer for the documentary "Stuck."
It will help you know. And if you find your heart moved by the idea
of kids stuck without parents and what they need to thrive, you can
watch the documentary,
you can sign the petition, you can figure out some other genius way
to do something that makes a difference.