Friday, October 31, 2008

Remembering the Kids Who Wait

This is a difficult entry to write, as the end of our Tulsa November Lighthouse Project has come sooner for seven of the children scheduled to arrive this evening. One orphanage on the trip, represented by seven children, is under a medical quarantine due to an outbreak of dysentery. The head of the Ministry of Health of the specific region of Russia is not allowing any of the children from that orphanage scheduled to travel to come; thus, there will be only six children on the trip. The children affected are Anton, Alexei P., Lima, Denis, Ekaterina, Nikolai, and Dima P. It would be hard to overstate how sad this makes me, as the children are terribly disappointed. Additionally, the families have thrown themselves into preparing for this trip so enthusiastically that it was devastating to have to deliver this news to them. These families are still true host families, as they’ve been hosting these children in their hearts. Please keep these disappointed and sick children, as well as their Tulsa families, in your prayers.

As these children have passports, plane tickets, and visas good for six months, my plan is to return to Tulsa in January for another trip, hopefully with additional children. These seven should be able to visit Tulsa at that time. Each host family who planned to host one of these kids will, of course, have first priority to host the same child in January, assuming the child is in condition to make the trip. Exact dates will be announced, though it appears the trip will be the early part of the month.

I am experiencing much emotional dissonance: on the one hand, great sadness for the children and families who will not meet each other in November, and hope for the children God has allowed to actually come. I am cognizant that the six remaining children deserve to have a wonderful trip where they find their families, but behind my necessary enthusiasm for the trip as it now is, I remember with great emptiness and sorrow the seven children I thought would be here. I will smile and work vigorously for the trip, but please know I have not forgotten the kids who wait. That said, I am obligated to switch gears and work toward finding families for the kids we’ll meet tonight.

But I have not forgotten…