Clear across the world to a now familiar place, a second home. It is the birth place of my youngest daughter. It has been my privilege to return to her native land and serve in the orphanages there.
On this particular trip several years ago, I was asked by an adoptive mom to get an update on how her daughter was doing. She was eagerly waiting for travel dates to come get her and bring her home.
Her sweet Chinese name was Dong Dong, and when said with a Chinese accent, my heart was instantly warmed.
I had grown accustomed to this orphanage from our previous visit. I had even served in several other orphanages in several other countries. But something about Dong Dong seemed unusual to me. I was drawn in.
She was facing the wall, standing stiff. When she moved around the room, her feet shifted across the floor rigidly. If anyone came near her, she screamed in fear. We were told she was afraid of strangers. We honored her space and gave her time to adjust to our visit.
I was in the outer corridor, taking a picture of a team member walking with one of the children. I stepped backward to get a better angle, and didn’t realize that Dong Dong had followed me. She bumped to the ground and I scooped her up in my arms in an instant. I held her close to me, still stiff as a board, and soothed her with prayers and singing.
Together we walked those outer corridors. As I held her in my arms, I told her about her mama coming to get her. I told her about her two older sisters and how she would be loved in a family soon. I trusted that the bond we were creating transcended the language barrier and her seemingly frozen state.
Love can do that. Love can reach where no one has dared to go. Love can melt what had no hope to soften. Love can heal the orphaned soul.
No one wants to be frozen. Some build walls to try to protect our hearts, afraid of more pain if someone comes near. Some ball up, withdraw, and stay back — not because we want to, but because somewhere and somehow over the years we learned to cope.
Hidden, stiff behind walls, we wonder. Would it ever be safe to be found? To be heard, seen, known? Or is that far too risky?
Deep down we wonder if there is a warmth and a welcome that can embrace our hurting. But who dares reach?
Come near. No longer isolated, rejected, outcast, and alone. There is hope. There is healing. Life doesn’t have to be filled with walls and pain. Love reaches in.
Dong Dong is home, surrounded in a forever family full of love. She is transformed by the warmth of a healing embrace. A commitment to nurture her heart and soul so that she can thrive. Glorious adoption.
The door is open. The opportunity is there. Hearts can be healed. Orphans can come home.