As a kid I grew up reading the Box Car Children books. It was exciting to enter into the lives of these four orphaned kids who made themselves a home in a box car, and had many adventures. For those of you who don’t know the story, eventually these four kids were reunited with their wealthy grandfather. This was always a fun and heartwarming story. There was adventure, mystery, and in the end they find joy. Sadly not every orphan has this story book ending. Not all kids are reunited with a family member, let alone a wealthy one. Our world is filled with story book endings, but they are just that, endings from a storybook.
I like to believe all things have a happy ending, even for children who have been orphaned. It might not look like the perfect story book ending, but good things can come out of terrible situations.
When I was in Russia, I met a number of kids who have lived the horrors of being orphaned by their parents. Kids who had no part in this decision. Kids who were removed from their homes because of poor choices on the part of the parents, and kids who were abandoned because their parents simply could not care for them. The sad reality is that many orphans will not have the fairy tale ending of the life they have dreamed. Sadly it’s only a small percent of children who are fortunate to be adopted, and most children past the age of seven have an even smaller chance of adoption.
We live in a world where children are in need of loving attention. Providing for their physical needs is not enough, because children (and adults) are emotional beings, and we all desire love and acceptance.
In Russia I was able to spend time with older orphans (ages 15-late 20’s). Kids who had “graduated” out of the orphanage and had been sent on to tech schools. Kids who had no experience of the outside world. It was a joy to spend time with these kids, getting to know them, seeing their smiles, and hearing their laughter. Spending time with older orphans conveys to them that they too are loved. They may not have the story book ending of being adopted into a family, but they have found and made family among themselves, and the people they allow into their lives. They have continued to survive even without the guidance of a parent, and my hope is they all will learn to thrive in life regardless of their circumstances.
We all hope for a beautiful ending, a life with less hardships, where all things are beautiful. I hope we are all be surprised by beauty, and recognize it even when it is not our fairy tale ending.