From the blog of Jay & Karen Wistrom at http://family-from-afar.blogspot.com/
I never fully realized the full ramifications of being an orphan until we adopted two orphaned boys from Ethiopia. Other than the obvious and devastating loss of their parents, an orphaned child quickly spirals down an abyss of loss; loss of opportunity, loss of family inheritance, loss of status within their community, loss of protection, loss of ... everything.
In Ethiopia, an education requires monthly fees, school books and a school uniform. Without money to pay for school fees, that child cannot attend school, and the opportunity to get an education and "make something of themselves" is lost. Any family property, livestock or land is lost. Anything passed down from parent to child, from mother to daughter, from father to son ... is lost.
It's a parent's most valuable legacy ... the things we teach our children. The wisdom gained through hardship and experience, that we attempt to pass down to our children to (hopefully) lessen their mistakes. The advice and counsel we try to give as they navigate through childhood into their turbulent teens. But for an orphaned child ... there is no such legacy.
This last weekend, my parents came to help us with some house painting and to build a new railing for a deck. My dad's construction background comes in very handy on these types of projects and Jay and I are very willing to take instruction and learn from his expertise. This time, we had a new little helper that was extremely curious about all the tools that were suddenly appearing and the fresh load of wood that arrived with Grandpa.