By Hannah Payton Heath
Two years ago when my husband and I sat down to work out how we could start the process for international adoption my husband said, “We can’t do this for every child, one child, one adoption.”
My husband knows me — oh so well.
Silently, I nodded my head in agreement. I knew his reasons were well thought out, but tears choked back my words. Finally, when I could mumble through the ugly cry I said, “Okay. But it will be so hard. It will be so hard to walk away from all those children. It will be the worst day of my life.”
Fast-forward to this summer when my husband and I traveled to Eastern Europe for seven weeks to adopt our son and daughter (yup, two children, not just one!) We adopted from two different institutions which meant we spent weeks with two groups of delightful children, children who called out “mama! papa!” when they saw us coming, children who clung to my hands and cried in my hugs as they begged for families, children we left behind. It was unquestionably the hardest thing I have ever done.
As I packed our bags to return home having just gone from a family of four to a family of six, my mind was in shreds. It had been weeks of overnight train rides, a new language, and our children (ages 9 years old and 2 1/2, both with special needs) were reeling from all the change. They had gone from living life in one building, one crib, to the whole wide world crashing down on them and the trauma for all of us was immense. Throughout it all, there was one thought that stayed clear and steady, I would do all that I could do for the children we left behind. I would continue to advocate. I would share the story of our family in the hopes it would encourage others. I would fundraise for their adoption grants. I would pray for them without ceasing.
So when Reece’s Rainbow, a non-profit grant organization international adoption, stated that their annual Christmas Campaign
was open to the first 100 children who had advocates sign up, I jumped in without a second thought and committed to raising $1,000 for a special child’s adoption grant.
The child I chose is Donnie (his real name is not listed per the requirements of his country). He was in the same group as my son, Roman. At age four he weighs no more than 20 lbs and easily fits in size 18 month clothing. Some of this could be due to medical reasons, but a huge contributing factor is that children raised in institutions in this country receive poor care. He currently spends his days in a crib in a room filled with about 15 cribs, each of which holds a silent, tiny, child.
The children in this room do not cry out from hunger or fear, because they know no one will come.
They do not babble at you, because they know no one will talk to them.
They do not lift up their arms to entry a hug, because they know no one is here to hug them.
This bleak room is where Donnie has spent his entire life, yet when you pick him up, he smiles and when you tickle him, he rolls with snuffly giggles.
Immediately after I committed to raising $1,000 for Donnie’s grant, I had that terrible feeling that had I bit off more than I can chew; how could I raise all that money while juggling the rest of life?
What Donnie needs most of all is a loving Christian family, a family with parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Hmmmmmm, I can’t give Donnie a family, but I can make embroidered mini babushkas (grandmas) to raise the money. For weeks I have been spending every snatched moment making tiny embroidered babushkas. The first 25 already found homes, leaving $750 more to raise which is approximately 75 more dolls. If you would be interested in an ornament and supporting Donnie’s grant, please visit my blog at https://heathandhome.wordpress.com/
or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org