Those we left behind

We’ve been home from Ethiopia three weeks now. Right now our sons are sleeping soundly in their bedroom – happy, full-bellied and enjoying new discoveries every day. They’re safe and where they belong. And after a year of waiting, that’s a blessing we don’t take for granted.

But as happy as we are to have them home, I can’t help but remember the children left behind. We spent a day in an orphanage and met beautiful children. Our agency works with this orphanage and most of these children had families they were happy to tell us about:

“I go to Texas.”

“My mom and dad will be here soon.”

But unfortunately this wasn’t the case for all the children, and three continue to haunt me.

As soon as we walked in the room, children ran to us. One boy, about 10, grabbed my arm, kissed me and said “I love you.” He held my arm and wouldn’t let go. At that point, nobody had shared any of their stories. I didn’t know if they had families or were waiting. But with this boy, I knew. I saw the desperation in his eyes. He knew that all his friends had families. He also was well aware that older children, especially boys, have a slim chance of being “chosen” by adoptive families. When we walked in the room, he saw his chance. He was looking for a family.

We also spent time with an amazing set of sisters – about 7 and 10. Precious, precious girls. I was told the older is a huge help with the younger children in the house. And I was also told they had been on waiting children lists for over two years. Two years! For two years, they’ve watched friends come in and out of the orphanage. They’ve seen other children be chosen by adoptive families while they wait. The director told me that the prior week the older girl had asked, “When will my family come?” The director told her honestly, “Honey, I just don’t know.” Then the older sister told her, “I don’t really need a family. I know I’m too old. But my sister, she needs a family. Please find her a family and let her go without me.”

To think that a ten year old girl would consider herself “unplaceable” and would give up her hopes of having a family so her sister could have a chance to be adopted….just blows my mind. No child should be in that situation. No 10-year-old should believe they are too old to be wanted. Every child deserves a family.

Our hands are full with two toddlers. I know my role for these children. As we walked out of that orphanage – me, my husband, my sister, and my brother-in-law – and drove away in silence, I knew that I was responsible to tell their stories. To let people know that I had personally met, hugged, played with and spent time with children who just need a chance. Children who so desperately want an opportunity to be loved. To be part of a family.

I truly believe their families are out there. If you would like more information on these children, please contact me.

  • Becky Turner

    Shannon, what a word! Thanks for sharing and I will be praying. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  • Shannon Litton

    Thanks, Becky. Praying for you across the world as you teach and serve. Love how God is sending His people all over – different countries, various ministries, but one big movement.

  • Sarah

    Awww, Shannon, what a touching blog post. My heart just cries out for these children. I remember going to orphanages in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. There are so, so many children who are in need of families. You are so spot on that each child deserves a family. That 10-year-old girl is one self-less kid. She totally deserves a home, and I pray that these children you met at that orphanage find homes and soon. This post made me teary-eyed! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Shannon Litton

    Sarah – Visiting orphanages changes your life, doesn’t it? I actually lived in the Dominican Republic working in an orphanage for a few months. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

  • Sarah

    It sure does! I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in this world though. I never knew you lived in the DR and worked at an orphanage. What an incredible experience. I hope to make it back to the DR some day.

  • Adoptive Mom

    You don’t know me… I just somehow came across your blog tonight. BUT I just wanted to let you know that the 10 year old boy you speak of AND the two sisters have both been chosen for adoption :) .. I wasn’t sure if you knew, and after reading this, I just knew that I had to tell you!

  • Shannon Litton

    Hi – So nice to hear from you! Actually….my sister and brother-in-law are the ones adopting the sisters!! I have been meaning to post a follow-up. I’ll have to do that this week. They were with us on our second trip when we met the girls. A couple months after our return, we were all still praying for the girls when they decided THEY were the family. They’re well into the process now and we’re hoping for a 2012 homecoming.

    I hadn’t heard about the boy and am so happy to hear that as well!