I saw a story last night about a Russian boy who was adopted as an older child. He had spent his first 9 years bouncing back and forth between an orphanage in Russia and an asylum for the mentally handicapped. He had been drugged, neglected, starved, and attacked. He slept on mattresses soaked in human waste and even had a rat in his crib that he remembered well. He was a uniquely charming child though who caught the eye of an orphanage volunteer from England. She advocated for the boy and amazingly he was adopted to an American.
The reporter interviewed him (now 18) and you could tell that he was not mentally handicapped but instead was an articulate young man with a vivid memory for what he had experienced as a child. The story was long and toward the end the reporter asked the boy what was the hardest thing he had to go through. Do you know what he said?
He said that the hardest moment in those nine years of neglect and abuse was the moment that he sat in a room with his birth mother and watched her sign her rights away. Not the stomach pains. Not the neglect. Not the attacks from other children in the asylum. The thing that hurt his heart the most was the moment he experienced rejection from his birth mother.
This has haunted me today because I think it says a lot about the heart of the orphan but I think it also says a lot about our biological children as well. My children don't need more stuff like the trampoline we just got them. They need a mother who is willing to close her lap top and play on the trampoline with them. Ruthie didn't need someone to rescue her from the crowded rooms and bland meals of the orphanage. She needed a mother to love her. And my kids don't need nicer clothes or fancier vacations. They need to know that they are accepted, cherished, chosen, and loved.
I am going to keep thinking on the words of that boy from Russia and hopefully they will make me a better mother.