We’re glad to have you guys back today. Yesterday we looked at a few reasons why children are orphaned in Romania. So, what’s next? We know there are orphans, so how do we help?
Do you remember the last time something truly tragic happened in your life? Did people offer lots of advice and stories like, “I know how you feel” or “you’ll be fine”, or “I know what you need......” Maybe they just tried to fix it or even started talking about themselves. Chances are you might have wanted to punch them in the face…
But what about that person who just sat there with you? They didn’t say much, but they listened. They didn’t try to fix anything but they cried. They cried because they sat with you, paused for a moment, and decided to feel your pain.
They mourned with you.
If this has ever happened to you then we’re positive you remember it. We bring this up because we think its an important lesson when dealing with orphans. So many times we hear about their problems, misfortune, and tragedy and the first thing we do is run in and try to fix. But we forget to pause and mourn with them.
We spent a little over 3 weeks in Tulcea, Romania. We asked questions, observed, fell in love, heard hard stories and excited laughter, and spent time with the orphans and leaders of this area. Romanian orphans do have some positive things going for them. The government provides them a place to live, they feed them, and they send them to school. Although this is all great, the reality is that a lot of these kids are victims of immense trauma. Some have been abused both physically and sexually, some were starved, some abandoned, some had parents die or even had one parent murder the other. The list of emotional heartache these kids deal with is heavy and heartbreaking. This combination of hurt and trauma have left many of Romanian orphans extremely vulnerable, and unfortunately in this day and age, vulnerable children are preyed upon.
That’s right, you guessed it, pimps, forced labor, and sex traffickers can all be a part of the daily life for many Romanian orphans. These children, who are already dealing with immense pain, are being exploited and taken advantage. And our new friends, who with all this baggage, are living in an institution. They are surrounded by peers with similar stories and not enough counsellors to guide them through their pain. To leave this system and this lifestyle able to function as an adult in society is nearly impossible.
So how do we fix this? This pain, this tragedy, this injustice!!!
Right now we mourn. Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard about life like this; maybe some of this was a reality of your own childhood. Either way, pause with us…
Let's sit with these kids on our mind and mourn. Imagine how it would feel to be in their position at their age. Do your best to feel their pain not with pity but with the deepest sympathy and love. And then… when it is time to do something and you run into obstacles, impossibilities, and more pain; this is the moment that will keep you going. You will remember the reality of why you are helping because you have felt it yourself.
My favorite part about all of this is that, although mourning is hard, what comes next is so sweet. Hope. There is hope within the tragedy. There is redemption to come, and there is work to be done.
Come back tomorrow to find out how an amazing organization is offering these children hope!