Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Some more thoughts...

I wish I could say something nice right now about Wuhan but we had such a sad experience yesterday.... There are two other families adopting right now in Wuhan and we met them briefly twice at the Child Welfare Institute. Other than that, I have not seen a single American or English-speaking person in or out of the hotel. We are stared down anytime we leave our hotel room. Some people completely stop on the side of the road and stare at us until we are out of sight. The discrimination feels tremendously heavy.

But this is not about us. It's about our son.

We tried to purchase Matthew a new pair of shoes yesterday and the store owner shoo'ed us out of the store refusing to serve us at all. We may have had three or four (I am counting generously) kind gestures or smiles out of thousands of Chinese faces we have encountered over the past several days here in Wuhan.

No, it's not even all about our son. It's about the many helpless young lives who may have a handicap of some kind and have to live out their lives here. Alone.

God has placed on my heart a girl listed as “Blossom” on several China waiting-child lists. She is 13 years old with Spina Bifida. She had one leg amputated and was finally granted a wheelchair at the “better orphanage” she is living in now. She is not from Wuhan that I know of. However, given the conditions of the sidewalks I've seen around China in general, there is no place for her to get around. My stroller is constantly dodging huge potholes and there are, on most of the streets, spans of 20 foot areas that are just open, broken, cement and dirt messes. To enter any business along the street, there are at least 2 steep steps to go inside and sometimes dozens, with no ramps or other handicapped access available at all. Joe literally picks up the stroller to carry it over bad areas or up thresholds of steps into stores. To cross a busy street you either have to run fast and pray that nobody hits you (the cars don't obey the walk signals at all!) or you must walk up steps to cross a rickety bridge and walk down steps on the other side. A person in a wheelchair has no chance of being mobile around the city here.

Even if a handicapped person was able to maneuver the treacherous streets, they seemingly have no value here in Chinese society. We were told by our guide here in Wuhan that if a child is born with a physical handicap, like Matthew or Blossom, the father will not accept the child and will divorce the mother if she chooses to keep them. Furthermore, if somehow the father chose to keep the child, his mother will go out of her way to not acknowledge the child and will never accept it. For this reason, among many others, children are left on the side of streets, in parks and sometimes placed at the gate of the police station (as Matthew was) by the mothers of these children who very well may love the children dearly but feel they have no recourse.

But it's not even about these precious handicapped children. Jesus said we would always have the poor with us (Matthew 26:11). It's about what Jesus says to us.

Our guides here in Wuhan and in Beijing both said that Buddhism is practiced in China, but most people have no religion. Realizing that, it's no wonder that people here behave the way they do. They're not the enemy (Ephesians 6:12) – they're only doing what is natural in a Godless society. But those of us who profess to know Christ don't have that option. No, we don't leave our kids on the sides of roads or treat them as inferior because of physical conditions (much). But we watch as others treat their children this way. We fail to use the abundant resources God gives us to love the helpless in a way that meets not only their physical needs but their mental, emotional, and – hopefully – spiritual needs as well.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 reminds us that there are those who have a “form of godliness but [deny] its power” – that is, on the surface we may do things that look or say things that sound Christian, but are we really following Jesus?

James 1:22 compels us to not merely listen to the Word, as Christians in American culture are wont to do, but to “do what it says.”

James 4:17 calls it sin when we don't do the things we know Christ is calling us to do.

I'm not saying everyone should adopt. I'm not saying I'm perfect at following Jesus – far from it. I'm saying I want to gently remind you that Jesus wants us all to do something to further His kingdom – and to do it out of love for Him and love for our neighbors, those around us (Matthew 22:36-39). (but especially the precious little ones (Matthew 19:14), as I'm prejudiced!)

So will you, whoever reads this, please pray for Blossom? She ages out of the system here with all of the other children who do not find families by the age of 14. She will be on her own, trying to provide for herself in a cold world. Lord, please send her a mommy and daddy who will spend their life loving her and showing her the value God has placed on her life. How will she ever know Your love, Father, without a family?

I miss my sweet babies at home. The days are longer and longer here now that we have Matthew. He is such a joy and we are dying to get back home with him. I am homesick beyond words right now.

How long until You defend Your name and set the record right?
And how far will You allow the human race to run and hide?
And how much can You tolerate our weaknesses?
Before You step into our sky blue and say "That's quite enough!"

Am I naive to want a remedy for every bitter heart?
Can I believe You hold an exclamation point for every question mark?
And can I leave the timing of this universe in bigger hands?
And may I be so bold to ask You to please hurry?

I hear that a God who's good would never let the evil run so long.
But I say its because You're good, You're giving us more time, yeah.
Cause I believe that You love to show us mercy.
But when will You step into our sky blue
And say "That's quite enough, and your time is up!"

Am I naive to want a remedy for every bitter heart?
Can I believe You hold an exclamation point for every question mark?
And can I leave the timing of this universe in bigger hands?
And may I be so bold to ask You to please hurry?

Am I naive...
Can I believe...
And can I bigger hands
And may I be so bold to ask You, to ask You, to ask You

How long?

~ Chris Rice, “Naive”