I wrote this letter yesterday, and sent it out on my email list. It’s about a little 4 day old baby we just got who was born with exposed intestines and stomach. I had a request to post it on the blog, so I went ahead and did that… lately I’ve been keeping the more serious stuff for the email letters, but it feels like I’m being a bit deceptive to all of you who only know us through our blog. It paints a pretty rosy picture of life. So, I’m posting this for 2 reasons… one, in answer to a request, and two, to satisfy some need I have to tell you the full truth.
Today’s been a hard day… on one hand, the baby is doing remarkably well, in spite of all the doctors said to expect. The surgery was a success, but they only gave him a 10 percent chance to live… but that wasn’t really the result of his exposed intestines. It was because he had tissue damage from spending his first night of life in a ditch beside a railroad tracks. Combine the colder weather in his high-altitude province with the fact that his organs were exposed and letting off a lot of his body heat, and you have a hypothermic baby.
So this is why it is hard. We live in a world where parents leave their babies beside railroad tracks to die. I don’t mean to villanize them — really. For one, they probably are very poorly educated and thought he didn’t have a chance. They are also most likely coming from a completely different worldview, and I shouldn’t expect them to behave in a way that reflects my own worldview. I’m also not focusing enough on all the positive things that happened in this baby’s life…
- He was found.
- The person called the police instead of walking away and saying “it’s not my problem.”
- The police came and did something about it.
- The orphanage didn’t do a cost/benefit analysis, assume he was a lost cause and wait for him to die.
- The small local hospital, which I’m sure was poorly equipped and staffed with poorly trained doctors, did their best and when they saw improvements, encouraged the orphanage to get more help.
- The orphanage called us and invested in 2 airline tickets for 2 of their staff members to fly him to Beijing. This is no small matter; the tickets are expensive, and the orphanage has very few resources.
- He made it through surgery and through the night, and today — despite being given a 10 percent chance to make it — is still fighting, and we’re told he is “improving.”
But despite all the positives, I hate the fact that I live in a world where some babies are loved, cared for, and doted on (To be brutally honest, it is to the point that I find it ridiculous and absurd; I mean back home there are whole stores devoted to products for babies — 90 percent of which I seriously doubt any new baby or mom “needs”); and that this world can coexist with one where babies are put in a ditch. It feels surreal and it makes me angry. More angry than you may be able to understand, because it is more anger than I can even understand. I *know* all the right things to say about the Father in these sorts of situations… but most of them sound sort of hollow in my own head in moments like these. Thankfully, I can’t stop believing anymore than I can stop breathing, and I know He isn’t put off by my anger. In fact, I’m sure it makes him angry too. So angry it hurts. Because, in the end, that’s what my anger feels like… a deep ache; an ache for restoration, for redemption, for a world where there is no more pain and suffering. A deep ache for a savior. And what I feel in a small way, He feels in a large way. There is a praise song by Hillsong; one of the lyrics says, “Break my heart for what breaks yours.” I know that’s what is happening here, because when our hearts are broken by what breaks His heart, we change the way we live. We live in love to those around us, transforming the darkness into light. But, at the same time, I know that in the end it isn’t my burden to bear, for He says that his yoke is easy and his burden light.
I know that the Father was in that ditch with that baby, and the reason he didn’t die of hypothermia is that he was being held by the one who wants to restore all things. I believe that the reason he made it to our foster home and through surgery is because the Creator was moving on the hearts of all the people in charge; gently prompting their spirits to not give up and reminding them that every life has dignity and purpose. And, I know the reason that he is stable today is because the Great Healer is touching his little body in that isolation unit. And, no matter what happens, He’ll still be who He is, and someday there will be a day when babies aren’t discarded and all of creation isn’t groaning.