The Reality of Loving the Orphan

sadnessThe reality is hard to take.

Here she is, in our home. A little girl who only weeks ago was in an orphanage.

Challenges, disorders, obstacles, complexities…I was not naive. I knew we would face all of them. And that working through them would take a long, long time.  I thought I could enter into her tumultuous world and fix things.  I thought that I could save the day. Be her hero. Show her the love she so desperately needed, and everything would be OK.

But I found out I was wrong.

When you see a little one – not on a photograph, promotional video, Facebook photo, but in real-life, flesh and blood – sobbing and full of bitter despair, curled up in the fetal position, shutting her ears to your words, unwilling even to be held or loved in her moment of complete and utter brokenness, you are forever changed.

When you see a fatherless child lashing out against your love. Telling you that all she wants is to go home to her mother (from whom she was taken), while her eyes are blazing with anger and pain, you realize that loving an orphan is much more complex than it seems.

When you see an abandoned orphan with a past full of complicated problems –  far greater than any you’ve ever faced, you realize how ill-equipped you are.

And it’s a humbling experience.

You see, this whole “caring for the orphan” thing is a process that not only changes the orphan,  it changes me.

Caring for an orphan has caused me to examine my true motives. Are they simply a whimsical desire to make a difference in the world, or a heartfelt conviction that will carry us both through the dark storms we will undoubtedly face? Is my love for this child an idealistic and shifty notion, or built on a solid and firm foundation that will not move when it is shaken and challenged?

When this sweetheart abrubtly shifts to a child who is lashing out, things suddenly look very ugly and your blood pressure goes higher than you ever dreamed possible, what will cause you to stay calm, and love her anyway?

I’m convinced more than ever that the only way that Love will save the day,  is when it is  a selfless Love. The kind of love Jesus demonstrated to me. When I display a steadfast and unrelenting Love, such as my Heavenly Father has lavished upon me.

No amount of preparation, knowledge, compassion, efforts, do-good actions, resolve, ideals, personal discipline, patience, or earthly wisdom can possibly fill the emptiness and deep void, make right the colossal hurt and injustice, repair the broken places, or restore light and life, where hope has been dashed in the heart of an orphan.

I cannot fix it.

But Jesus can.

And He will. I can personally testify to the fact that Jesus changes an orphan’s life. (And in the process, also changes mine.)

By His might and power alone, I am called to be His hands and His feet, in this world that is longing for the day that He will return and make all things right.

It’s time for all of us to move from a place of FEELING sorry for these little ones, into that messy thing called LOVING the orphan.

And I’m learning there’s much more to this thing called LOVE, than I ever imagined.

Thank you for sharing the journey with me,

Justina Dee



Click here to read an update on our adoption

8 thoughts on “The Reality of Loving the Orphan

  1. Very well said, Justina. Nobody could have prepared you for these feeling in advance. This all has to be experienced by you to understand. (((HUGS))) to you. Reality is VERY hard, I know. Praying for you.

  2. Praying for your family on this unpredictable journey and trusting our consistently loving Father to guide you each step of the way! Thank you for taking time to put your experience into words for all of us to learn from. We are rejoicing with you in the joyful moments and weeping with you through your heartache. Continue to love as He loves us!

  3. I came back to read this again tonight because even after almost 6 years with my son… I needed the reminder through the raging. Thank you for the reminder tonight.

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  6. It’s hard…it’s very hard. I look back on how naive I was years ago and my heart aches to try to tell someone just starting this journey the reality of it all but they won’t understand. Just as I would not have understood. But God carries you through, molds you and refines you through the fire. My prayers have been, and will continue to be, on each one of you individually as I know the journey is different for each one. God can accomplish great things even when we can’t.

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