Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dima & "Ded Moroz"

Now with the Christmas season in full swing everyone is feeling festive, houses are decorated with lights, little ones dream about what they will receive for Christmas, and there are lots of parties with delicious food.  Sadly that is not the case for many little ones who have no family.  At this very moment there are thousands of little ones in orphanages all over the world languishing and have no idea that Christmas Day will soon be here.  More importantly these same little ones do not even know who Jesus Christ is, that He died for them.  That He loves them.  Instead little ones lay in a crib in their own filth, sometimes for days on end.   For their meal they receive a glass bottle with a makeshift nipple filled with some sort of mash and they choke with every swallow because they are unable to sit up or be held as they try to receive nourishment.

Others who are mobile and more aware know that Christmas is coming but it brings them no joy.  Rather they are sad and wish that "Santa" would bring them a toy or better yet, a family.  For four years that is how our Dima spent Christmas.  He was aware that it was to be a festive time but he was never truly happy.  This year he has been able to open up a little bit about Christmas and it has been heartbreaking to hear.  He has been very clear that Christmas in the Ukraine was sad but here, home with us, Christmas is wonderful.  To Dima Christmas is now probably even magical from his perspective.

Our family does not have Santa come and visit but Dima knows who Father Christmas is.  Last year when he was home for his first Christmas he was not sure what we were doing.  There was no snow, it was hot outside, and he had never truly celebrated Christmas.  This year, however, he is very much aware.  Last weekend we were in Wal-Mart and there was a Santa sitting in a chair greeting everyone as they walked by.  Dima saw him and he was in awe.  His little jaw hit the floor and he whispered in Russian, "Ded Moroz" which means Father Christmas.  I asked Dima if he wanted to go say hello to Father Christmas and as he starred at this larger than life character he silently nodded.  I led Dima over to the Santa and Dima just said in a whisper, "Wow...." and touched Santa's pitiful beard.  It was as though Dima never believed that there ever was a real Father Christmas.  How many times, I wonder, did Dima wish that Father Christmas would come to the orphanage and it never happened?  As I stood back and watched this precious little boy sit in Santa's lap tears sprang to my eyes.

"And what would like for Christmas, little boy?"

Dima shrugged and said, "I dunno".

"Don't you have a special Christmas wish for me?" said Wal-Mart Santa.

"Yanna.  I love you, Yanna!!!  Yanna come home!!!!" Dima hugged himself tight and rocked back and forth as if he was hugging someone.  Yanna.  I knew exactly what he was saying and I chocked back a sob.

"What is a Yanna, little boy?"

"YANNA!" said Dima.

A very confused Santa looked up at me and I could barely speak, "Yanna is his friend from his orphanage in the Ukraine.  They used to play dolls together but she was taken away and put into an institution.  She has CP and cannot walk and the odds of her ever being adopted in her own country are zero".

Santa's eyes filled with tears....this was one Santa who was left speechless and unable to grant this wish.  My eyes filled with tears because I, too, am unable to personally grant this wish.  More than anything I was heartsick that Yanna is warehoused somewhere where her life more than likely has very little joy.

A very sad Wal-Mart Santa handed Dima a tiny candy cane and Dima's face lit up.  He hopped off of Santa's lap and came right over to me, "I love you, Mommy!".  I picked him up, squeezed him tight, kissed his cheek and put him back into the seat of the shopping cart.  I shopped in silence for the rest of the afternoon thinking about what had just played out before myself and a mere mortal trying to spread some Christmas cheer.

For my family Christmas has a different meaning.  It was 2 years ago on Christmas Eve that Eric came to me and said we could commit to adopting Dima.  It was that Christmas Eve I sat up in my Grandma's rocking chair and wept for a boy I had never met.  My heart hurt so much that a child I had never even met was alone and not home with us on Christmas.  Last Christmas we rejoiced that Dima was finally home with us, part of our family, enjoying himself even though he did not at all understand what was going on.  This year, however, all of the glitz and glamour of Christmas seems trite to us.  Yes, even to our boys.  They have repeatedly asked if we could please adopt Dima's friend.  That is all they really want (though they are children and have some other requests as well).  We cannot.  Eric and I are at this time truly unable to adopt another child.  If we could I would be the first in line to go back to the Ukraine alone, even, and bring that beautiful girl home.

Instead we are going to sponsor Dima's former orphanage for Christmas.  Yanna may not be there now, but Dima still has many little friends that are.  Christmas does not happen at the Kremenchuk Baby House without the help of outsiders, usually missionaries, and people that are Stateside.  If you would like to join our family and another family who has adopted from the Kremenchuk Baby House, please go to this link (Operation Christmas Cheer ) and see how you can do so.  Each family is to raise $100 for each orphanage in Ukraine, but I know that these orphanages need more than just toys for the children.  There are diaper needs, clothing, medicine, and one even needed a generator so the orphanage could be heated.  This is all happening through the ministry of Life2Orphans and being facilitated by another adoptive mom, Debbie Hannon.  Imagine the huge difference your family could make in the life of a child who otherwise would be feeling sad on Christmas.

In the meantime, I am personally extremely blessed to have a certain little someone finally see the "magic" of what Christmas is truly about for the first time in his life.  And while we do not celebrate "Ded Moroz", we celebrate "Lisus Khristos" or Jesus Christ and His birth.  In time Dima will fully understand not only does he have a family that loves him unconditionally but he has a Savior who died for him.

Счастливого Рождества!

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