Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do they have parents?

Continuing in my frequently asked questions series today's questions is...

Q: If the kids you work with are orphans, does that mean they have parents? Are they still alive? 

A: Actually, yes. In fact all of the kids that we work with have living parents. Moreover, most of them still have regular contact with their biological parents or other extended families members, however the live in an orphanage and function as an orphan.

It's kind of a strange concept to wrap your mind around. They end up in an orphanage for lots of different reasons. Sometimes they have been removed by the government because of violence in the home, or sometimes mom just couldn't afford to keep them with her any longer. Sometimes it's a matter of choice and, because of the broken world we live in, mom ends up in a situation where she doesn't want to have her kids live with her anymore, or maybe it's her new boyfriend that doesn't want them. There are lots of kids who have other siblings or half siblings that still get to live at home and even come to visit with mom.

Sunday is visitation day. Not every kid gets a visit every week, some parents are very consistent, and some are few and far between. Every case is different, but what I do know is that every single case is a result of the broken world we live in, and every single case is painful for everyone involved.

The pain and the hurt begins with the day they are dropped off. The feelings of rejection never really subside and the abandonment is just compounded each and every time they go home for a visit or vacation and are dropped off again.

It's really easy for me to go through phases of frustration, anger and even judgement of the parents. And to be brutally honest, sometimes I wish they would just go away. But then the Lord sweetly reminds me that they are his children too. Plus, the relationship that they have with their kids, no matter how messed up it seems, is so important. It will affect every single part of that kid's life for the rest of his or her lives. And it is always better to have some sort of relationship than no relationship at all.

Many of these parents have been put into impossible situations with little to no support system, they are stuck in addictions and cycles of abuse, they are broken people who need Jesus. I just wish the consequences didn't have to hurt the little ones I love so much. But I'm sure the Lord feels that way too.

It's a broken world we're living in, they are all stuck in a broken system, but praise God that we have a perfect eternity with him to look forward to. 

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