I am haunted but I have hope. Sometimes the two become clouded by the conflict that remains in our human hearts called doubt, or “haunted hope”. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of China and the children I met during four different trips. I am haunted by the new rules that are in place, preventing teams from traveling back to China, to look over these children, who live day in and day out with unmet basic needs. They live this way because there are so many of them and so few caregivers. The nannies do the best they can, but it still doesn’t match the love of a family. I am haunted to think of the ones who cried out in the beginning of their time in an orphanage crib, but soon stopped when they realized no one would come. I am haunted to think of the ones who have died at such an early age by something that may have been prevented if only someone had seen.
But this friend, this is where I have to step back and give hope free reign over my heart. El Roi, He is called, the God who sees. The God who has eyes all over the earth this very moment! He sees the sick little babies. He sees the ones who grow up in cribs, never having the freedom of a floor to explore and build their little bodies on. He sees Diane, Willow, Timothy, Anthony, David, Smith, Oskar, and Titus, I could go on and on as names and faces are forever etched in my mind. He saw Nate, the day he was born, and he still watches over him, even though our hearts broke as he aged out and is no longer adoptable. I have hope when I see a mom fighting against a nation of rules in the name of the Ruler of a Kingdom who tells us to care for the orphaned, so she can bring her son home. I have hope when I see the ones who have been adopted, plucked out of cribs and pale rooms, to be brought home into families. Cared for by doctors, nurses, teachers, therapists, church families, and surgeons. They thrive and grow, leaving my face covered in tears as they do independent tasks and make statements like “I want to help orphans when I grow up”. I have hope that the rules will change, and we will be let back in to China.
But then I have the haunt arise in me. I think of the magnitude of the orphan crisis, not only in China, but the whole world! How can we fix this? More programs? More money? More orphanages? More love? I feel sick to my stomach, because I see how God punished a whole nation, His people nonetheless, for their treatment of the orphaned and needy.
Where are we in this, I ask you, the church?
I am haunted by the answer, and please know, the words I say to you, I say to myself daily. I feel sick and tired and some days, I want to give it up. Not being haunted by names and faces would make my heart and brain hurt less, but is that what we are supposed to do? Be comfortable? Not making the most out of the least?
Their names and faces have changed my view on hope.
I can’t give up hope, because if I do, my hope was never in a God who knit us together in each of our mothers’ wombs. Giving up might be saying that I don’t believe He is listening to you and me when I pray for these children and changes. Giving up would mean that I think my plans are better than His, just because I am not getting my way and seeing all of these children be adopted doesn’t mean that His plan isn’t good for His creations. To give up would be to turn my back on my own story of being brought into a family who raised me, loved me and has shared with me as their own flesh and blood when I wasn’t. I would be turning my back on the Gospel, which I stand on, a Holy Father who sent His only Son so that I could be adopted into a Divine family to become the daughter of a King.
I am holding to Hope. I cling to Him, knowing that He is the only one who can change hearts and minds and solve all the haunts of this world. His hope has already won the victory, and that my friends, keeps my head held high when the haunt creeps in of what is to become of the little ones I may never see on this earth again. Christ has overcome the world, dwell on this as we continue to pray for these children, for their country and hearts to be softened for us to come back.
Written by Amanda Felty, China team leader, Uganda Team leader, Orphan Advocate
Please take a few moments today, and visit our China Waiting Child page. Pray over them, share their stories and ask God what your part might be.