Can your life be summed up in 5 sentences?
Did you do it? Does it describe you pretty accurately? Let me guess- your name, age, gender, marital status, how many kids you have, your faith, and maybe where you live all made it?
Now, if you were applying for a job, is it enough to get you hired? Would it even get you a call-back for an interview? What if it were the description for a personal ad online? Would anyone contact you based on that? Do you stand any chance of making a match?
Can your personality, your life, your charming essence, be summed up in one photograph?
Try it. Stop reading here and go flip through your photo album or your online photo storage or even your facebook photos or your hard drive- wherever they're stored. I dare you to find one that shows all the aspects that make you unique- your happiness, your quirkiness, your seriousness, your intelligence.
Welcome back. Did you find that perfect photo? No? I bet you found at least one that you really liked though, right? Your favorite photo of yourself?
Now pull out your driver's license. Your passport. Your student ID from years ago or even your credit card- anything with a photo that you didn't have time to prepare for and didn't have any choice in selecting.
Would that one get you any dates? a job interview?
If you look at the pictures of orphans from EE on photolistings, you're seeing 20 seconds of their life. 20 seconds of their personality, interests, abilities.
They likely had no warning, no preparation. They were thrust in front of a stranger snapping pictures, assembly line, in a room they may not have been in before. The older ones may know that that picture is their hope for a family. Sometimes they don't smile- would you? If you knew your chance at family and happiness had suddenly appeared after years of waiting and it all rides on a picture, can you imagine how solemn and nervous you would feel?
Carter looks nervous in his RR picture. I was there when it was taken. He was nervous. Solemn. Serious. Observant.
He looks tense doesn't he? Hopeful but resigned at the same time? Scared to really look and share his heart, for fear he'll be rejected and passed over again?
This is Carter too, cropped from a picture with his friends- one of which was being adopted. He looks a bit sad here too, as though he knows the person that was getting picked wasn't him, and that his chance was low of getting picked.
Do you see what I mean about him standing on his ankles funny? He really needs some AFO's and good PT/medical care so he can run and play.
I get it, you know. I get that it can be scary for a family to even consider a kid, an older kid, who looks so serious. You might be wondering what he's thinking or if he can even laugh and enjoy life, or love.
This is the Carter that we saw in January and February, every time: This is the cutie pie that snuck up and yelled BOO to his buddy after lunch. This is the cutie pie that gave me high fives and got so tickled laughing that he made me laugh and bring tears to my eyes, seeing his joy. He's a darling- a spunky, "all boy" kind of little guy. He's just meant to be somebody's little brother, in a family that loves practical jokes and little boys just being boys. He needs to catch lizards, climb trees, eat ice cream in the summer so it drips down his chin and go fishing with his big brother and dad and grandpa. He's sweet and funny and full of energy and a really good friend to those around him.
He doesn't need to spend yet another year sitting in an orphanage, even a really good orphanage. wondering why no one chose him.
And Marcus. So many folks have told me they just love Marcus- his soulful little eyes. It angers me sometimes, thinking of him growing up feeling that his legs are something to be ashamed of and hidden. It grieves me that he feels unworthy because his legs don't work.These intense, soulful brown eyes, don't they grab at your heart? This face, how did his mom walk away from it? He's just perfect- a gorgeous little guy. This picture hits me in the gut like fist- his face to me just says "Do you want me? No one else does." His gaze just seems so honest, so open, so revealing.
This is the one that hurts me. Hearing the facilitator talk about how he pulled the blanket over his legs, to hide them, so no one would see his shame- NO CHILD SHOULD FEEL THAT WAY!!! NEVER!!!!
Fearfully and wonderfully made- he is. God does not make mistakes. This boy needs to know He is precious in God's sight, and in ours as well.
There are the legs that he tried so hard to hide. There he is, do you see his fingers? He was pinching the ends together, nervous as he could be, with nothing hiding his legs. He doesn't hide his legs in the orphanage, because everyone there has some type of disability so he doesn't feel odd. But these kids know that they were abandoned by their families because of their disability. If one mama would dump him because his legs don't work, it's hard for him to believe that a different mama would choose him knowing about those legs.
But here he sits, trying to stuff down his fears and nervousness, still clinging to some tiny bit of optimism that someone might, maybe, choose him for their son.
But don't look at all the other pictures and decide that Marcus is a weak, overly-sensitive, helpless child with hidden legs. When he's not under the pressure of posing for a 20 second photograph that may determine his fate of getting a family, he's a bright, successful little boy. This is him in school. His notebook is lying in front of him, and he was taking notes when this was shot. He's looking over at someone who was speaking when camera caught him. He's quite smart, in the "smart" classes for his age.
He likes school. If he lived here, in the USA, instead of EE, he'd probably be an excellent student with plans for college and a career in something exciting. Instead, he's fully aware that in 6 years, life and his chances of a future will pretty much come to a screeching halt. Transfer to an adult mental institution, or if he's "lucky", dismissal into the streets as a penniless 16 yr old orphan.
Someone needs to go get him now, now while he still has a chance to settle in and thrive, to prepare for high school and college.
5 Sentences to describe your entire life, written by someone else, potentially losing meaning in translation, as your only chance of someone claiming you as their son.
1 picture, taken in 20 seconds, with no time to go comb your hair, change into a cute outfit, or get your hope, fears and excitement under control, and your entire future rides on it turning out well.
Look beyond what you see, let God guide your heart.
Is God whispering "this one's yours, Mama" or "there's your son, Daddy"?