And this especially holds true for your 16th birthday right? How many of us can look back on that day with fondness? I know I can remember mine. Knowing that now I could drive, date, go out with friends on my own.... it was a step towards independence.
Now just imagine if instead of looking forward to that 16th birthday, you dreaded it. Imagine if instead of being hopeful for all the good things that were going to come that year, you were terrified of the year to come. Frozen with fear about what lie ahead, the uncertainty and loneliness of it all.
Imagine for a moment that instead of being greeted with presents, cake and well wishes, the day went on like any other day. There is no mention if it being special at all.
Well this my friends is what it is like to turn 16 if you are an orphan here in Eastern Europe. There are no gifts, no happy birthday songs, no nothing. But why should there be anyway? Turning 16 when you live here in an orphanage is nothing to celebrate. Instead it is a life sentence.
If you are without a family here at age 16, you don't have much to look forward to. Oh sure, there will be the gaining of responsibilities like I was anticipating, but it will be the responsibility for your own life on the streets.
At 16 you better be able to care for yourself, because without a family, no one else will.
Sure there are the certain few who will be able to attend trade schools, but positions in these schools are few and far to come by. So what happens to the others? You can probably imagine. Drugs, prostitution, living under the streets. These things are not exaggerations, they are real.
The church here in the city we are adopting from just did a presentation on orphans this past Sunday. They work firsthand with these kids. They see their real lives. They know the hardships these kids are up against if they are not adopted. They live in this world with these children, and try to help them the best they can.
But the system fails them. The government fails them. Families who come to adopt but refuse to take a chance on older children fail them.
This is S. Tomorrow is his 16th birthday. We will be bringing him a cake and a card, and a few gifts to show him that someone out there cares. That he matters. That he is celebrated on his day. But no one can give him the gift he wants most...... A family.
Tomorrow, many dreams he has will be lost forever. Many hopes will never be realized. He will have a much bleaker future to look forward to than before. This birthday is life changing for him.
So tonight will you say a prayer for S? And for the thousands of children just like him? Every child deserves a family. The young babies right up to the teenagers. And they have SO much love to give! If only you could see it in their eyes as we do EVERY time we walk on to those orphanage grounds. They just want someone to care. They want someone to love them. They want a family to call their own.
So many are becoming just another number, a statistic. So many are being lost to the streets. What can we do???
HOST AN ORPHAN!
SHARE THE MESSAGE OF ADOPTION!
PRAY FOR THE ORPHANS OF THIS WORLD!
Every child deserves a family. Every child. Every child should be able to look forward to their 16th birthday with happy anticipation, not dread.
What can you do?