Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cave dwellings - Brighton's first home.

Brighton's tiny face, all puckered up and worried, is what I remember most about her file.  It was a face of doubt.  Why are you doing this?  Obviously, she had never had her photo taken.  My eyes were drawn to what looked like a professional football field far below her in the background. It was completely out of place for this area of China. There it was in the middle of such obvious poverty -- a stadium with astro-turf!

As God would have it, I was permitted by the civil affairs officer to visit Brighton before we adopted her.  I could not have predicted it but it was more than a year before our adoption trip.  To visit your child before adoption is unheard of so I knew God had special plans for my trip.  I was going primarily to take her a walker so she could become more ambulatory - in hopes she would walk unassisted someday.

I was allowed to travel to see Brighton in her hometown of Yan'An, ShaanXi province.  It is a mountainous region in the Northwest part of China.  The city was separated by an old river bed dredged in between two mountain ridges.   It is the most incredible city I have seen in China.  Visiting Yan'An was an incredible learning opportunity and gave me a window into my daughter's first 4.5 years of her life.  Meeting her foster grandmother was amazing and something I consider a huge privilege.

Yan'An is a typical Chinese city with the exception of the soccer stadium and the housing of the people.  Many of the people still reside in the mountain dwellings tunneled back into the side of the surrounding mountains.  Imagine living IN the side of a mountain with nothing but dirt floors and walls.  A garage door is the only thing protecting you from the elements.  Many of the entry ways in this photo do not even have the door.  Primitive at best, right?

This is the type of home my daughter lived in for the first years of her life.  I can only imagine the winters of northwest China and the cold the mountain people living in these dwellings had to endure.
I can only guess where they went to the bathroom.  I know they only had a stove type heater in each dwelling.  They slept on brick beds.  BRICK.

This was the only way to stay warm.  Build the bed of bricks with a small hole under to pipe the heat from the stove.  Sleeping on a slab is mighty uncomfortable but, for a child with spina bifida, it must have been terrible.  Brighton must have been cold.  She slept with the covers over her face for over a year after she came to live with us.  My heart hurts for her to have lived in these circumstances.

I leave you with this.  Many children live in these dire circumstances.  If not for the Lord, who protects them and gives them a hope and a future, they would perish.  May the God of hope be ever present in their lives each day.  May they someday have the opportunity to know Him.  Ask the Lord how He can provide you with the opportunity to help. Be willing to sacrifice if He calls you to help.  Be ready. Be willing. YOU ARE ABLE.

Ways you can help:
  • pray for the orphans of this world
  • sponsor a child to help with food clothing education and possibly medical issues. (click here)
  • help an adopting family financially
  • go on a mission trip
  • adopt
  • foster a child
  • pray