Saturday, May 11, 2013

It's Like Never Being Picked Up

Our family is traveling to Greenville, SC in June for our denomination's annual conference. Yesterday I signed the kids up for the kids activities that are offered during the conference. For a day and a half, all three of my children are signed up for nursery or other activities (without me) from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m one day and 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. a second day. In some ways, my heart delights at the thought of two days to wander freely, attend seminars, grab lunch with an old friend, etc. I am a homeschooling mom, after all, and time away from all of my kids is a rarity. In other ways, though, my heart twinges every time I think about it - especially with Will. I rarely leave my kids for that long...especially with total strangers in a childcare environment. It was hard to make the choice (because it's not mandatory) to sign them up...but I know it will be good for me. They will be in caring, loving hands, and I will have them back in my arms at the end of the day - all of us refreshed from what is probably a much needed break from each other.

I am reading a book by Melissa Fay Greene called No Biking in the House Without a Helmet. Greene is a an adoptive mom writing about her family's experiences over the years. As Greene shares her experiences about visiting an orphanage in Bulgaria to meet her first of five adopted children, she writes this:

It was like day care twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, or like a poorly equipped preschool from which children were never picked up by parents idling in a long line of vans holding up placards with their carpool numbers.

Sigh. I hadn't ever thought of institutional care quite in that way. As my heart still twinges over the decision to put my own children in a day and a half of supervised children's activities, I am smacked across the face with the reality that children left in orphanages and other institutionalized forms of care are just that...left. Not picked up. When the craziness at the end of a day comes, there is no hope of Mommy or Daddy being on their way or waiting in line to pick them up.

Now hear me...I know children are left for a variety of reasons, and I do not write this to villainize the parent or caregiver who made the decision to put them there. I also know that the people who run these institutions are doing their very best (in most situations) to provide children with a safe, loving environment...but it's still institutionalized care. It's not a family. No one is coming to pick them up at the end of the day.

My heart is heavy this morning thinking of children waiting. Many orphans have little hope (for a variety of reasons that I don't fully understand) of leaving their orphanages. This article explains the reality of "unadoptable" children in Ethiopia a little more.

No one is coming for many of the world's orphans. Stuck in a never ending day at childcare. Even if a child was stuck in a never ending day at the world's best childcare, it is no way for a child to live. They need to know someone will come and get them at the end of the day.

I wonder where our next child is right now. Since we are open to an age range of 0-6 years, there is a chance that our child is already alive and is just waiting for us to come.

We're coming, dear one. Mommy is holding (sometimes waving maniacally) that carpool sign that says "Friederichsen" and is waiting (often impatiently as moms often are in the carpool line) to come and get you. Just hold on a little while longer. I can't come get everyone, but I'm coming for you.