September 03, 2010

heart wrenching thing

Can I tell you one of the heart wrenching things in the world? I experienced it for the first time right before I left for vacation. It may seem so simple, but I promise you I teared up about 10 times and gulped back a sob or two.

The little girl I sponsor through An Orphan's Wish turned one last month. I wanted to send her a card, so I went searching for one in Target. Now, you wouldn't think that buying a birthday card for a one year old would induce tears, but, dear goodness, it did.

Imagine with me, if you will, what the inside of a birthday card says. Something like this....

"hope your year is full of happiness and love"
"may you be surrounded by the love of your family"
"grow big and strong and always know you are loved"
"since the very first day we met you, we knew you were special"
" you are loved. you are unique. you are beautiful."
"happy birthday from your family who loves you very much"

See? Every single one of those things may never be heard by a child in an orphanage. They may never have the love of a family. They may never be told they are beautiful, special, created by a loving God. Their year may not be filled with love and happiness and laughter.

I'm so very thankful that Shannan is the clubfoot unit at AOW because I know that she is being told those things. I know that she is surrounded by people who genuinely love her even though they are not her forever family. She is being told that she is beautiful and special and loved.

But what if she wasn't? What if she was somewhere else? Tears are welling up now just thinking about her never experiencing love from someone. Her birthday would go by and no one would care that she was another year older. There would be no hugs or kisses or extra special bedtime stories and snuggles.

I thought about my niece and nephew (above). They are showered with love from the second they wake up. And if they happened to be around Nana or Pop Pop or Autie, look out! They will be smothered in hugs and kisses even more so. They know, more than anything in their lives at this point, that they are loved. It's the reason so many of the photos I have of them are full of smiles. They are hope-filled, loved, happy kids.

So, when I finally found a card that would work for the special little one that I was celebrating, I was very precise in my note to her inside. "You are loved. Your are special. You are important." All things that I hope and pray that she might have felt on her special day. All things that I pray she hears whispered to her by a forever family one day.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child through An Orphan's Wish, click here. It could change the life of a little orphan in China forever.

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