October 31st, 2010

No matter what words I use, they are going to sound trite.  They would have sounded trite to me last week at this time.  More time and more searching for better words will not make them sound anything but trite and even mock-worthy to certain ears.

Joe told me later that he hesitated before clicking on the link to watch the Serbia video clip.  “I knew if I watched it, it would require a response from me,” he said.

A close friend told me the same thing happened to her.  And she asked, “Before you watched it, did you have any warning about what you would see?”


And no.

Yes, in that split second, if someone had stopped me to ask, I could have explained that something sad was coming.  My eyes were already blurred with tears of grief at the tiny, beautiful child with Down syndrome who received a straitjacket in place of the affection and help she needed.

But no, in that split second I couldn’t have guessed that it would shoot like an arrow to the center of my heart.

Looking back now to that night, it seems that time stood still.  As if the whole scene stood instantaneously before my mind.

With one piercing pain that drove all the way in to the core.

“This child is so starved for attention and love.

Katerina is nine.  She has Down syndrome.”

You don’t want to let go of my finger, do you?”

My own flesh.  She is my own daughter with Down syndrome, my child, my own flesh, a part of me.

The words, “Your own flesh,” echoed in my mind. “Your own flesh.  Not hide yourself from your own flesh.”

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of  wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?”

If Verity was lying there tied to a bed, we could consider that an emergency and do all we could to rescue her.  But when I look upon that child, I do see Verity.  I see my own flesh lying there, and a grief-driven urgency rises within me.

O Katerina, the day the American ladies visited you, how long had it been since anyone made eye contact with you?  How long since anyone spoke your name?  Touched you with kindness in their hands?  How long since anyone actually spoke to you?  And two years later, do you still lie there, wordlessly waiting for a death that no one will grieve?

He showed our family that halfway around the world, our own flesh has been abandoned, neglected, thrown away by parents and society into unloved hopelessness.

That is why.

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5 Responses to “Why?”

  1. Kisha says:

    Yeah, after watching the video it’s impossible not to act.  I think God draws us to open our eyes, and once we do, we have to help. We can’t just close them again.  I have no idea how many more times we’ll adopt, but now that we know what is going on, and have been there to see the people, we know we have to keep helping.  I don’t think you all are crazy at all, and having more than one child with Down syndrome is not crazy.

  2. Marilyn Osborn says:

    Tears.  ((((Gentle hug))))) for your beautiful heart.

  3. Rebecca ~asplendidtime says:

    I don’t know what to say…  My mother works with people in a new-type of institution, it’s not perfect, but it is much, much better.  I grew up visiting there, making friends with my Mom’s clients, having them to our house, going out with them.  I had heard things, some of those people survived those terrible days.  It never, ever occurred to me that this is reality anywhere anymore.  :cry:
    I met a lady when we were out on Saturday, who came up to me and told me my family was so beautiful, then asked if we had adopted any of them?  I have honestly never been asked that question!  I have been asked many questions but not that one.  Later she brought the most beautiful baby by to introduce us, it was so humbling for me.  God is so good!

  4. Joy Horton says:

    Those same things you quoted from the video hit me, too, Susanna – esp. the “You don’t want to let go of my finger, do you?” Oooooooooh, the pain that hit my heart. I went straight to Reece’s Rainbow and looked at the page – and felt sick, being that we have no health insurance (cannot even afford Samaritan right now) we can do NOTHING but pray (I know, but it feels helpless). If you know differently, please let me know. This has really burdened my heart and it made me sad to see that insurance is what would stop us (aside from the rest of the funding).

    I thought, then, that maybe we could help YOU with your adoption fund, until we qualify to do it ourselves. Dh was equally touched by the whole video and reality of everything there.

    We just had no idea. Something is very wrong with that.

  5. Rebeca says:

    Just going back and re-reading. Oh my…she’s home now…your beautiful little Katie Bird. Tears flow freely down my face as I contemplate the GOODNESS of God…and the wonder of his plan. Katie was indeed created to be your daughter.

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