A couple of days ago, I told you about a young girl on Holt’s Waiting Child list. Today I want to tell you about the first major event which impacted my personal beliefs about adoption, orphans, and the responsibility of the church.
When I was a freshman in high school, I had the opportunity to go on a trip to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Today this region is torn by drug warfare. Even then, it was a very poor region of Mexico.
While we were there, we had the opportunity to help build the local church, witness to the community, visit the juvenile detention center, and an orphanage. For me, one of the highlights of the trip was our visit to the orphanage. According to staff, the kids living in the orphanage would likely never be up for adoption. Most of them still had parents living in the area. They were “social orphans” in a sense; however, their parents maintained custody of them. They were living in the orphanage, because their parents were stricken by poverty and could not afford their daily care.
The orphanage was full of children. Their was a room with cribs and babies where primarily the older girls acted as nannies. The children were covered in lice. They proudly escorted us to a corner of the open courtyard where overused toys and a rough version of a pool table sat, and we began to play. The only adults I saw, other than our group, were two women held up in the kitchen. Older boys, and there were many, played soccer with our guys, and we entertained the younger children with the stack of well-used toys. They craved the attention.
Before we left, we gave supplies to the short-handed staff, and we passed out candy to the kids. They formed a line and each child received a piece. It was the most fun, watching their faces light with excitement! The kids were so excited they started scooting back into line to get more, but they were only allowed one piece. One boy, probably the age of six, was turned away and told he had already had a piece. He walked away from the line soberly. With his back turned from the others, he silently started to cry. It wasn’t the spoiled-rotten cry of a child that selfishly wanted a piece of candy. He had never had such pleasures. I watched for a moment. Then I walked to him, took his hand, and together we went to get a piece.
I honestly can’t say whether or not he had already received his share. Perhaps he had, but in my mind it didn’t matter. I handed him the candy. He grinned. We only had a few minutes, but we snapped photos. I had never seen such a smile! We left the orphanage that day. I never saw his sweet grin again, but something had been touched, had been changed in those few minutes. That little boy needed somebody, and I came to realize that there were many, many more like him all around the world.
If you think about it, say a prayer for him. I don’t know how old he is today. I’d never be able to find him, but sometimes I wonder where he is and if he is okay. As I mentioned earlier, this region of Mexico is torn by drug-warfare and none of the kids were eligible for adoption, so his chances weren’t good. Yet I know God is far more than capable. This child will never know how many lives he changed asking for a piece of candy that day, and yet… I always will.