Making Many Memories

Everyday we are Making Many Memories that we will treasure forever.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Helping the Masses or Saving the One

A few years ago my husband and I were having a conversation about a talk we head in church. A man told a story about another man who was doing incredible acts of service and helping people all around the world. That night, my husband and I started to discuss the talk. My husband made the comment that he wished he could be more like that man and needed to look for more opportunities to serve others in a grander way. He was feeling really down that he didn't have the time or resources to do more.

I then commented that the man was helping the masses but we were saving the one. He looked at me confused. I tried to explain what I meant. It was great that this individual was helping so many people by providing them clean drinking water and medical care. It was wonderful that he was using his fortune to help the less fortunate. But what we were doing was really important too.

I asked my husband how many he people he knew who had taken in a foster child and loved them like their own. How many people did he know who were willing to love a child for 18 months, clean up their throw up, change their poopy diapers, play with them, love them and drive them back and forth to do parental visits twice a week with parents that had them taken away because they had been accused of beating and shaking them.

We were in the process of saving the one. No one would write stories about us or call to interview us for what we were doing. No one in our large society would ever really even know what we had done.

Now you may ask how it is that we saved Nevaeh. Surely someone else would have stepped forward to adopt her sooner or later. After all she is really adorable. It always amazed me that while she was our foster daughter people would comment "I'll adopt her." The thing was that Nevaeh never had a lack of people who wanted her. Her birth parents were trying their hardest to get her back and we of course we growing more attached to her by the minute.

But as foster parents our job was to love her like our own while realizing that she belonged to someone else. When she did finally come up for adoption we were informed that there were over 75 people on a waiting list who would gladly give her a home.

So what did we save her from? How were we any different than these other people?

We took the risk. We agreed to care for her and love her for up to 2 years without knowing if we would be able to adopt her or if she would return to a life that we wouldn't wish on a dog. We cried and prayed for her safety when we had to leave her for overnight visits at the halfway house. And comforted her when she returned to us and had night terrors about those visits.

We had many people tell us "I don't know how you do it. I could never love a child and have to give them back."

That is why so many babies in the foster care system get bounced around. Not many people are willing to take that risk. They want to wait until the baby is already freed for adoption. Which, like Nevaeh's case, takes about 2 years. In the mean time, those little babies are bounced around from foster home to foster home never learning how to bound.

Of course, I look at my beautiful daughter and think of how much joy she has brought to our lives. I don't really look at it as saving her but really we did. Since we have adopted her, her birth parents have been homeless, have lived in a motel for a while, have had domestic violence where one of them ended up in jail and the other one looked pretty beat up. That would have been her life. Instead she is our spoiled princess who gets up every morning and ask when we are going to Disneyland again to ride the spinny cups and when does she get to see Minnie Mouse again.

The other night this topic of helping the masses came up again in our house. This sports player has done incredible stuff for the masses. My husband talk about how he wished he had the money and the resources to fly off to Russia and help the orphans.

In my mind I had to laugh. Here my husband was once again wanting to help the masses and I was looking to save the one. I had been looking at all these sweet faces on Reeces Rainbow and thinking of how many of these children with down syndrome need a home. How many of them will be looked over? How many will go to institutions while a whole group of people wait on list for their perfect child? What amazed me was the people who are adopting them. These people either already had children with downs or have adopted many times before. They are scrapping together all the money they can to pay the ransom on these precious little ones. Below you can see a small glimpse of what it is like for them once they go to the institution.

So I have decided to concentrate on saving the one. I may not be able to go over and bring a child home right now, but I can raise money for those who are and I can raise awareness for those who are looking to adopt and hoping that they will look this way. The plight of the special needs orphan has become my challenge, and I hope I can make a difference even if it is only saving the one.


Wanda Wach said...

I read all of these postings. I had not previously been aware of the children in Eastern Europe being instituionalized if not adopted by age 5. I always feel so bad when I think of all of the sufferings little ones have around the world, whether it be neglect, hunger, sexual predators, etc. So very, very sad. I like your attitude fo "saving the one"--such insight, Katrina, and it gives you a perspective and a mission to help when you realize you can't possibly help can help "one". I loved your thoughts on Nevaeh and your precious journey to adopt her. So Christlike. I am still digesting all of this. I have a niece in Utah who is helping a family that she was placed in foster care with who are also trying to adopt one of these little ones from Europe. It is good that there is more and more publicity re: these situations. You are part of that process, and I am touched by you and others like you who work to "Save the one".

kevin blumer said...

ive been sectioned and in a metal hospital they arnt that dark and they are not the worst place in the world a lot of people think they are mad places there are people who actualy admit them selves freely the only thing that got me was one woman who we never seen she crys all day at the top of her voice shes not in pain it use to do are heads in i found it helpfull

Katrina said...

Kevin, Thanks for your input. I am sorry if I implied that all institutions are like this one. I am sure that there are institutions that take good care of people. I still feel strongly that an institution is no place for a child to be raised.

Katrina said...

Wanda, Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking the time to read my ramblings. I don't get many comments so I appreciate it a lot when I do.