Are you feeling abandoned? Lonely? Discouraged?

Two little girls – abandoned by their mother in front of a church. A couple took in the youngest girl but didn’t want the oldest. She was sent to us at Hope Unlimited for Children.

 

The first month, she didn’t speak. Not one single word. That was 2009.

 

Hear the story (with name changed) as it was told to us back then by Philip Smith, co-founder of Hope Unlimited:

 

Before I left the office for the evening outing, I pulled up Beatrice’s picture on the computer screen. Together with the office staff, we prayed that Beatrice would smile and talk that evening.

 

While at the video arcade with the birthday children, I kept her close by my side and talked “at” her. She showed no interest in anything. Finally, we came across a vending machine containing tiny rubber balls.  Beatrice was just fascinated by those balls, and could not take her eyes off them.

 

A few minutes later, I felt her tugging on my sleeve. “Uncle Philip, can you buy me one of those rubber balls?”  All the girls looked in amazement and shouted, “She talked! She talked!”

 

I took Beatrice by the hand, and we walked back toward the vending machine. Usually I insist on treating all our children equally. But this moment was special, and the tiny ball was so insignificant. (In truth, I wanted to buy her every ball in the machine!)  I stuck in a coin, and the ball spun around and around inside the tube before finally popping out the bottom. Beatrice could not take her eyes off that ball, and I watched her eyes roll around and around in her head.

 

When she finally had that little ball in her hand, her face lit up with a smile from ear to ear.

 

I wondered how long Beatrice had dreamed about getting one of those tiny little rubber balls.  I guessed she had been waiting to talk until she had something really urgent to communicate.  This, for her, had been pretty urgent.

 

Her smile did not go away for the rest of the evening.  It was if she finally believed that everything was going to be all right.

 

Still quite young herself, Beatrice was soon able to experience what our children rarely can: adoption. What a blessing!

 

Yesterday, we received this from Philip:

 

A few weeks ago, that family returned her to the authorities again, saying – after 4 years – that they decided they did not want her any more. Once again, Beatrice came to Hope after being abandoned. And last night, on our birthday outing, she was once again the “new kid.”

 

It is amazing how many children from abusive backgrounds do not adapt well in adoptive or foster homes, who sometimes, in turn, simply give up on them. These children become victims of what I call “serial abandonment.” We pray that with us, they will sense they are finally home.

 

Abandoned in childhood: TWICE

 

Granted, Beatrice’s story is unique – and it certainly shows why residential care for some children is the only answer – but it’s not exceptional. Many people – perhaps even you – have experienced abandonment. By a parent? Sibling? Friend?

 

Loneliness and discouragement are no strangers to any of us.

Hopefully the feelings are fleeting. Sometimes they’re not.

 

Sometimes they stick to us and won’t let go. Sometimes we focus on the desperation. Sometimes we cover it with laughter.

 

Sometimes we laugh until we can’t laugh anymore… and then we die.

 

If you or someone you know is feeling like there’s no end to your darkness, please don’t give up.

There’s hope. Focus on this promise…

 

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Deuteronomy 31:8

 

For those of us not presently experiencing the darkness, may I remind us both of something important – and encourage each of us to look (and reach) beyond ourselves?

 

Preaching-001

Who in your life today needs a hug, a meal, a babysitter? A ride to the doctor or grocery store?

 

Who needs an introduction to the judgment-free, always-present love of Jesus?

 

Comments

  1. I am in tears. I needed this today. Thank you for sharing. I will keep praying.♥

  2. Beautiful post and look at both of those books from your husband and you…WOW! Thanks for sharing your walk with all of us, to encourage, convict and inspire our own walk.

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