Click here to see the start of this story. I’ve tried several times to sort of “wrap up” my experiences in Romania to be able to share them and it just hasn’t worked. The heartbreaking things I saw remain heartbreaking; there is no immediate happy ending.
It was great that we got to spend time loving on, teaching, and playing with these orphan children. On the day of the following journal entry we had taken a bus to another city in order to visit a zoo. For many this was one of their first rides in a vehicle. Just so you know: In Romania, “Air Conditioning” means hot air that gets blown around.
So here is one of my journal entries from my trip to Romania. We lived at an orphanage for a week and spent some time beyond that with the Roma people, more commonly known by the derogatory term “gypsies.” The names have been changed mostly because I think I’m supposed to do that.
I saw a small kid get beat up today. Like, beat the heck up. I picked him up and tried to love on him. He was crying- hard.
He realized he had more attention on him than just mine. Other children were starting to comment on his tears.
I watched his emotions -his soul, his spirit- shrink and disappear inside his eyes as a blank fake smile appeared on his face.
He is so used to hiding. It means nothing to him.
Alexandru, the meaner, almost a bully-type kid. … I’ve fussed at him for stealing toys and corrected him a few times beyond that but only played with him briefly.
He came up to me tonight (our last night) and with his thick accent said “come on” and waved me over to walk with him. He put his tough little 12-year-old arm around me- A very strange act that I would never have expected from one of the toughest kids. He kept his arm there, I put my arm around him and we walked- well, he guided me- around the orphanage as the sky turned dark. He made small talk kept his head low. I could tell he was sad. I felt like he wanted to tell me what it meant to him that we came to be with him.
I asked him what animals he liked at the zoo today. He barely answered. I couldn’t shut up. I guess I wanted to keep him from being sad.
Eventually I realized what was happening and I stopped talking.
And we just walked.
… A long silence went by as we appreciated each other’s company. Then, slowly, some sincere and vulnerable words came. He asked me if I had a family, if Jenny had a family.
I struggled to answer his simple questions- they only forced me to ask my own questions: Why did I deserve a family and he gets nothing? Why did I get to grieve a broken family while he got abandoned? If I have a family why can’t I take him back to be a part of it?
He wants family so badly.
He needs it.
I told him he is my family, too. That he is my brother.
Then I went to a room alone and wept.
He needs so much more than those words, so much more than this visit. I need so much more than to say those words, so much more than to be here briefly.
The world is a broken, messed-up place. If you can love on someone, love on them. If you can support missions, support them. If you can go on missions, go. If you can move there, do it. If you can be a mother or a father to those who have been left without one, then by all means do so.
What do you think? What is your gut reaction to hearing about these kids? What questions force themselves into your mind when you read about these kids?