My Bulgarian Family
5:30 a.m., March 19th: I wake alone in my bed.
Sadly, the Glediator is away on business. (Sigh). The last two nights have brought on dreams where I see the faces of Bulgarian orphans who also sleep alone. Though they slumber in dormitories or with a few roommates, they are alone in their thoughts; without much identity, purpose and certainly without the guidance of loving parents. On the wall of a young girl's bedroom in Slaveikov Orphanage in Sofia is penned, "There is nothing, nothing, nothing."
I question God: Why is there so much suffering?
His gentle reply: My Son suffered.
And how can these children who suffer be so full of
love? (We were smothered with hugs and kisses for eight days straight).
God's answer: The light of my Son is in all people. My Son is full of love.
Strangely, this was the impression I had every time we drove away from an orphanage. You would think I would feel despair and anger, but I felt ever reminded of how much God loves his children. In a country that has forsaken them, He has not.
I hear the simple words of Deborah Gardener, CEO of One Heart Bulgaria, to a teenage girl who is afraid to go out in the world after her eighteenth birthday:
"We pray for you."
The young girl cries at the notion and pleads that we remember her.
One Heart Bulgaria is one of two outside organizations that Bulgaria allows into their country to provide aid to their orphans. A little goes a long way in Bulgaria. I saw firsthand how the donation of a small playhouse from a nine-year old American boy (who held a pizza party with his friends to raise the money) brought so much joy to a previously dull and dirty playroom. Through other donations, the organization has been able to replace broken windows, doors, provide music time, dance teachers, medical supplies, operations, bedding and clothing where they are very much needed. To make a difference, visit http://www.oneheart-bg.org.
Boshidara, 2 years old
Boshidara, a baby with Hydrocephalus, lays in her crib unable to be relieved from the ants that are inside her fists, clothes and the wound on her head from her shunt surgery. I wanted so badly to bathe her.
This was the happiest orphanage we visited. One Heart Bulgaria provides a music teacher for these kids and they knew how to have a good time. Here, Sam plays "Do As I'm Doing" while we march along.
We had to travel for three and a half hours with eight people and a 20 suitcases crammed in this van. Good times. I think Sam blocked those suitcases from falling on my head the whole trip. Thanks Sam!
Uncle or "Chicho" Jeremy is a big softie.
Music time with Sam. Sam was magical with the children.
The little girls to my left have shaved heads (very typical) for easy maintenance and to avoid lice.
Bulgarian children are beautiful.