My heart is heavy for Leo tonight, and for all of the orphans who have been participating in this “America vacation” over the last few weeks. He will head back to China in just a few short days. Back to an orphanage. To a society where he is considered “bad luck” because he is an orphan. To a place where, in two short years, he leaves what little care he has in the orphanage to be let loose in the society that has no place for him… at the age of 14. The prospects for him are terrible.
So far no family has stepped forward to make him their own. I hope that the publicity that he has received through this hosting program will put his story out there enough for someone to connect to his face and his story and bring him into a family of his own. That is one of the main points of this program, to be sure. Though Leo himself has no idea of it, his host family has been advocating for him and trying to get a better idea of his medical needs (a special diet low in protein for his PKU), abilities, and personality so that any interested family can know as much as possible about him.
But Leo himself has no idea of any of this. He has just been told that he is on a vacation in America. And now he is leaving the family that is hosting him to go back to the orphanage. What must be going on in his heart? What would it be like to be a part of a family for a few weeks and then sent away? What would it be like to see the extravagance of the American lifestyle and then be sent back to the scarcity of the orphanage? What is his perception of this whole experience? Was it just a fun, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Is he confused, thinking that he is being rejected because he didn’t measure up somehow?
What must it be like to see the incredible wealth, enormous houses (compared to China), and wide open space in America, the seemingly endless resources, and to be sent away because there was no room for you? Maybe he doesn’t think of it that way at all, but I can’t help but think that way. To whom much is given…
I hope that this short time with a family has given his heart a glimpse of real love that will leave him soft to messages of real love in the future. I hope that it is preparing him for a family of his own… soon! Before he “ages out” of the system in two years and is ineligible for adoption. Before he grows hard and despairing. Before the only “family” that is available to him is the drug trade that preys on these orphans with their need and desire to belong. Ultimately, I hope it prepares him to be adopted into the family of God.
Yes, my heart is heavy tonight. But it is also hopeful. He IS loved and wanted. Who, though, will be the messenger of this hope, the demonstration of this love… to him?