Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fatherhood Epidemic, Blogiversary Week

Post 3/5, Blogiversary week
To coincide with the year anniversary of Dad U, I'm aiming to post daily this week, focusing the series on the "Fatherhood Epidemic". It's a depressing, tragic subject, but one that we need to avoid sweeping under the carpet. I wish I could only post the fun and crazy dad-stuff, highlighting authentic dads and their kids. But I can't. I'm sorry that posting about the "other side" gives the blog a bipolar personality at times. 

In the past year, the video below has been one of the two most painful I've found.

Anthony Butts spent a week with homeless children on the streets in Ukraine, and with the police charged with tracking them down and returning them to state supervision. The video takes you through the urban nightmare of their lives: sleeping in broken water pipes; raiding derelict buildings for scrap metal worth a meal, some cigarettes and drink; and into the unwelcome temporary warmth of a police station. I guess there will be a longer and more polished documentary to come, but going on this clip, I'm not sure anyone with a heart will be able to watch.

In a short 15 minutes you get a glimpse into daily trauma faced by these outcasts, all aged far beyond their actual years, and the hardened individuals they have become just to survive. Most of them only remain "free" because they are legal juveniles, and can escape easily from the dreaded orphanages. Roma, 17, ran away from home and has been on the streets since he was six. Let that sink in. Six.

Their words are haunting:
"When I was 3 months old my mother abandoned me at the maternity clinic. I went from orphanage to orphanage to orphanage. That's my life so far. Orphanage, street, orphanage. Soon my youth will be over."

"Every night at the orphanage, from the first to the ninth grade, I would cry at night into the pillow. It was so painful. I saw how some children had parents who came to see them. How they were happy. I couldn't imagine such a life for myself. When I did imagine, I cried myself under the pillow. Honestly, it's so painful without parents. I wouldn't want to wish anyone to live without parents. Im only thankful to my mom that she gave birth to me. That she didn't abort me. I don't know her circumstances. Maybe she didn't have any other choice. What else can I say about my life?"

Warning: disturbing viewing, content and language


And, the gut wrenching thing is, I can't do anything about these kids. 

And, you can't do anything either.
On Sunday our pastor suggested that if you want to get a glimpse of what's going on in a families life, then peruse the front of their refrigerator. Besides all the schedules, phone numbers and lists, you will find the pictures that give you a snapshot of their heart. 
The images on our fridge?
  • My identical-twin cousins Charles and Fred: adopted by my uncle and aunt after they had been abandoned as babies. Once doomed, then redeemed, they now they have budding families of their own. What a miracle.
  • Job: our sponsored 11 yo boy in Guatemala, with the Compassion International organization. 
  • Gertrude: our sponsored girl in Zambia, with the Fathers Heart program.
  • A family portrait of our friends, who just celebrated the first anniversary ("Gotcha Day!") of adopting John Asher from China.
  • Our friends in Texas, who serve with Fathers Heart, and take yearly trips to Zambia to build the program. 
My family might not be able do anything about these Ukrainian street kids, but we will do what we can, for those needs that cross our paths, from right where we are. Even if it's just one small need, or one child at a time. Even if it's just a kind word, an "attaboy", or to support of one of these organizations. Looking at our fridge pictures made me wonder: what do they portend, and what's God got planned for my family? 
Deep down, I want to do something more.
More on that, later in the week.

Dad U

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