Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kids From Across the Earth

            I heard arguing upstairs and went running.
            Before the argument it had been a relatively peaceful evening. Little three-year-old Lukas, the oldest of the two kids we’d helped fly back from Japan, was visiting our house, and he and Celia seemed to get along beautifully. His gentle spirit and inquisitive nature gave anyone around him a pleasant and calm experience. I wondered what they could possibly be arguing about.
            Celia yelled, “No! It’s my car!”
            Lukas nicely repeated her, “My car.”
            “No!” Celia yelled more adamantly. “It’s MY CAR!!!”
            “My car.” Lukas nodded his head and looked out the window at our family mini-van parked below.
            I laughed, “Celia. Lukas speaks Japanese, remember? He’s from Japan. He’s just learning English, and so he’s repeating everything you say. Of course it’s your car.”
            Celia looked at me and I watched her frown disappear as understanding sunk in. I patted them both on the head and left them upstairs.
            Having a few Japanese kids around has been lovely, but it also has driven the point home to me about the big mess over there right now. How many children are now orphans in Japan? What’s going to happen to them? For that matter, how many new orphans are there all around the world over the last few months?
            I had a moment where it suddenly hit home to me, for the first time ever, just how serious those questions are. Michelle and I had had a conversation after snapping at the kids. We’d asked ourselves how we’d feel looking back twenty years from now at how we’re parenting the kids today, and it had encouraged us to do the best job possible.
            It struck me that every single day is important in parenting. Not a day goes by that our role as parents becomes unimportant. And then it hit me. There are literally millions of kids in the world today who simply will never have a parent. Ever.
            I broke down into tears.
            Later we were at an international cultural festival, and one of the children’s tables had an activity called, “Letters of Hope.” The idea was to get kids to write letters to needy kids in other parts of the world.
            Michelle and I stood looking over the table before one of the kids’ letters caught our eye. He was about eight, and from Vietnam. His letter, written in big letters with a Crayola marker, said:
            “I was an orphan in Vietnam until my mom came and adopted me. Now I am happy. You can have hope.”
            I looked over at Michelle. She was crying.
            She said to me, “I think we need to adopt.”
            I nodded my head.
            It doesn’t solve the fact that there are millions of kids out there who have no parents, but perhaps we can do something. Perhaps.