Parable of the Starfish

As a man walked a desolate beach one cold, gray morning he began to see another figure, far in the distance. Slowly the two approached each other, and he could make out a man who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he hurled things into the ocean. As the distance between them continued to narrow, the man could see that the man in the distance was picking up starfish that had been washed upon the beach and, one at a time, was throwing them back into the water. Puzzled, the man approached the him and asked what he was doing.

"I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it's low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don't throw them back into the sea, they'll die up here from lack of oxygen."

"But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach," the man replied. "You can't possibly get to all of them. There are just too many. And this same thing is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can't you see that you can't possibly make a difference?"

The man smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea he replied, "Made a difference to that one!"

The proper end to this story is that the observer who had no hope for these helpless starfish would join the other man and begin helping, one at a time.  And that then, others would come alongside these two and join them in the fight against the death of so many.  And that together, all of the "just ones" would add up to "manys".  This is one of our great hopes in sharing our experiences with others.  With sharing both the joy and the pain.  Won't you join with us?  Won't you reach out and save just one?

Here I will share about some of the children we met while attempting to adopt.  These kids have almost no hope for the future.  We've been told that 80% of them will be dead within 2 years of aging out of the orphanage system.  15% commit suicide immediately upon leaving at age 16.  Half of the girls will have to resort to prostitution just to survive.  Children with HIV (who with proper medicine in the US can live healthy, normal lives) will die at very young ages.  The boys will end up committing crimes to make a living and will land in prison.

We have seen first-hand the stigma of being an orphan when teenagers were walking by the school and began shouting things in our direction.  Ilya and his friend began to chuckle and when asked what the kids said, he replied, "You don't want to know.  Bad words."  No doubt name-calling.  Simply because they are orphans.  They may never know love and acceptance.  Only stigma.  And the idea that somehow fate brought this on them and they deserve it.  What hope can there be for them if these are the prevailing attitudes?  Will you walk on the other side of the road and pretend you don't see?

This sweet guy was a frequent companion of ours.  During our last day at the orphanage, he was a great comfort to us and took great care of Dahlia while we had our final play time with the kids.

His voice is so gentle, calm and kind.  He was so fond of Dahlia and took great pains to care for her.  In the stroller he would meticulously and at length, arrange her blanket until it was just so, covering her perfectly.  When Jeff told him that he will be a great Papa one day, we are sure he understood, for he grinned from ear to ear.

If given the chance, he will certainly be a fabulous Papa!

Sometimes his gentle bouncing of Dahlia wasn't quiiiiiiite gentle enough.  But he gave his best effort and she really seemed to enjoy his attention.

She made him work very hard to keep her happy!  But he was up to the task.

It is not uncommon to see young fathers out with the kids in strollers.  These guys so much want to be able to do that one day.  Look at them doting on her!  No doubt they would walk through fire for her.

Such beautiful eyes!  So full of promise.

These two seemed to be great friends.  I bet they would make great brothers in just the right family.

I so wish we could visit them again just one time...

Getting artistic with their photo-taking...

But for now, we'll just have to relish our memories and pull out our photos from time to time.  You know, older and wiser parents:  you have so much experience under your belts!  Why not put it to good use in raising up another child or two, just a few years more till they'd be out on their own and providing you with more grandbabies!  These guys are so worth it.  Pray and ask the Lord...send me?

Will be sharing more great kids when we can.  Feel free to ask about any one of them and we'll be glad to tell you all about them!


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