I’ve stopped writing because the anger in my heart has been all-consuming and I don’t want to spread the negativity out into the world, but the truth is this frustration must be used to fuel us to a future where no child sits in the hospital slowly starving for over a month with no one to relieve them. I’ve deleted our Facebook page, unfriended 150 people, and all but given up hope that this will be a reality.
The truths of the horrors of the things that I see through the eyes of teenage girls in a country that doesn’t recognize the problem is gut-wrenching. It is not a world that I would wish for anyone, and the damage it has done to my heart watching these realities has made me very bitter. How can these atrocities continue while good men stand by and do nothing? Do we not have a responsibility to the future regardless of nationality to raise a healthy strong United world? Mr. Rogers always told us to look for the helpers when we were scared, I’m looking around but I see far too few to help me restore any faith in the human race. Maybe Mr. Rogers lived in a different time, or maybe he was better at finding the glimmer of hope in the Darkness.
As I look around for the helpers I can’t help but notice the positive attitude exhibited by young girl nearly 15 years old who is alone in a cold orphanage. After being tortured for a month with no food I say I am so sorry what she had to endure, she replies “everything is fine now”. She has the resilience of few, and the remarkable insight beyond her years. Upon return to the orphanage she eats as much as her body can handle, and goes immediately to Facebook her life line to her family. Within an hour of our return she has sifted through all of her most recent visits photos, trying to remember the best times of her life in order to give herself enough hope to continue to survive just a few more months until maybe her family will bring her back for another summer of Dreams. Donate Now
After only a year are girl is growing up before my eyes. She came to us a timid just 14 year old girl and after spending 15 weeks with us in 2017 she has blossomed into a confident introspective compassionate girl who has the courage now to take on the world, armed with nothing but memories and hope for her future.
The war we fight for this girl has a Battlefield in my heart, the shrapnel pierce the thin membranes that sustain life, it is all I can do is take my lessons from her, soon it will be alright, won’t it? Much like war, the strategy is ever-changing depending on the actions of your opponent. Whenever I feel that I am about to succumb to the evil in the world that pulls this girl away from me with both hands she somehow in perfect time resurfaces from her most recent torture and she will meticulously review every memory that I’ve given her. She will remind me unconsciously that we are her lifeline. We spend hours trying to work through the language barrier to get her signed back into her Facebook account after she’s created two or three new ones, and only ever posting photos that were taken during her visits. She works hard to erase the memories of her present and compiles the moments with her family in every way possible. She follows us through a tracking app, are you going to work right now? Is Jake at school? Where is Lori, at school? Just like my toddlers she inventories the location of every family member, as they do asking when she’ll return.
When will she return? We have an invitation to bring her for summer for another 10 weeks, an opportunity to send her back to the dance camp that became her first immersion into the love of this community, back for another summer of memories filling her bank so she can survive another long cold winter without us. Her 16th birthday is looming a short your way, will she be saved in time? The responsibility is heavy on my heart and the barrier is unfortunately money. Everyone says money should not keep a child out of a loving family, it’s a barrier in this day and age we should not have, yet this is my situation, my reality. Donate Now
The progression of my life since beginning hosting has gone from an excited heart with the prospect of changing a girl’s life to breaking it open shattering it into a million pieces as hatred, frustration, and hopelessness seeps into the cracks that I desperately try to glue back together. I was so excited at the prospect of saving a life rather than creating one, and this process has broken me a thousand times. As someone who is constantly told that I am the strongest person that they know, the hardest working, the most compassionate, this feels like nothing when Ukraine brought me to my knees. 70% of the orphans I know are going to be human trafficked or sold for organs in the next 13 months. My girl is not immune to this reality, and it is up to me to navigate a sea of chaos, government red tape, and fees to ensure that her 16th birthday starts with the healing of her future not the sealing of her fate.
I will not lie that coping is nearly impossible sometimes. I frequently think about giving up putting her back on the list, stopping the pain, to surrender. How can I surrender when there is a 15 year old girl begging for us to come to her. How can I surrender a girl to her 70% fate? A girl that is so precious and sensitive and wise-beyond-her-years out of necessity to survive. How can I walk away and say that a year of trust-building has meant nothing because I wasn’t able to raise the funds? I’m angry, I’m sad, and I’m really scared about what’s going to happen to my girl in 13 months if I don’t solve this puzzle. Sometimes I find the puzzle too painful to work on, I put it at the back of my mind and I use all of my strength to ignore it. But there is something inside of you when you become a mother they cannot pull your thoughts away from your girls suffering day in and day out while you take the time to solve the puzzle. This fine balancing act of using all of my energy to solve this problem is in turn depleting all of my resources. I came into this not prepared for the energy and emotion that would drown me like a sea swirling around me all the time. I have gotten to the point where I cannot even read anything about other people’s journeys or the policies that are changing to make it more difficult to bring these children into safe loving families because it is too painful and too frustrating to see that the world’s evil is working bigger, harder, and faster than I am.
I never imagined my current situation when I started the mission to bring hope to Alina, but in true mother fashion I gave her all I had now I sit in despair and hopelessness wondering what the future is going to hold for both of us.
What do I do next? There’s only one thing I can do. I can answer Millie when she asks me “when is Alina coming back? I miss her so much!”. All I can do is tell her soon. When I see the video of our girl with her clothes hanging off, the same clothes that I bought her this winter that would nearly too small all I can say to her is be brave will see you in June. Even if I’m not sure that I will pull that off. How can I continue to promote a world that is breaking families with a small return of happiness. I don’t know if moving kids to America is the right choice, but I know it’s the only way I can save Alina.
All I can hope for is a self-fulfilling prophecy that someday we will have her here safely in a place where she can start to heal and begin the rest of her life changing her world. Trying to catch the deluge in a paper cup, I still wait for the community to be born.