Editor's Note: Dallas-area families are still urgently needed to host seven Colombian orphans who will be visiting the United States in December. Visit http://www.angelsfromabroad.com/ to learn more.
By Denise Schoborg
What would you be willing to let go of in order to gain a family?
Most of us have never considered this, because we are already surrounded by the safe, loving embrace of a family. But every night in Colombia approximately 60,000 children in the care of the country’s child protection system fall asleep without knowing whether they will ever have a forever family.
I came face-to-face with some of these precious children. There are sweet, hopeful kids like Maria*, whose smile belies the caution in her eyes. When we talk, her responses are short and to the point. She doesn’t want to offer too much information or make herself too vulnerable.
She wants to stay guarded and yet she feels a spark ignite that maybe I can really help find a family for her. Naturally quiet and reserved, it is the silence between her responses that truly speaks of her desire for a different future than growing up in an institution.
I smile when I think of bold, persistent Juan*. He’s never really known what it feels like to be a part of a family, but that doesn’t keep him from imagining.
He was born with spina bifida and has lived in an institution since he was a baby. He’s overcome many physical challenges and has learned to be a leader among his peers. Every time his social worker comes to visit, the first words out of Juan’s mouth are, “Do you have a family for me?” I hope he never stops asking until the day he hears a resounding, “Yes!”
These children have already lost their birth families. Now they have to ponder what else they would have to sacrifice in order to gain a new family. They would have to leave their birth country, their language, their friends, their foster families, their school, their religion and their favorite foods, music and festivals. Even with such significant sacrifices, they are willing to let go in order to gain a family.
Seven of these children will be arriving in the Dallas area in December 2013 to participate in the Angels from Abroad Program. The program provides older children a chance to learn about American culture, share their Colombian culture and experience living in a family. It also helps raise awareness about the need for adopting older children and children who are part of a sibling group.
Many have forgotten these children. I can’t forget. My prayer is that each waiting child will one day know the love, security, tenderness and joy of growing up in a forever family, and while they wait I pray that the light of hope will never be extinguished in their hearts.
*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.
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