On April 24, 2000 Oprah Winfrey's television show's theme was Romanian orphanages. I watched the show with my mom that spring afternoon. I honestly don't remember much about the show, except for one part. Cameras showed viewers the inside of the orphanage - this gave them a glimpse into what a day was like for the orphans. It was as easy as standing in a doorway and looking into a room. This is because the children stayed in their beds - cribs, really, and thus more like jail cells - all day, rocking themselves back and forth. Back and forth, back and forth. That's how they amused and comforted themselves. They had basically no human contact. No interaction. No joy. These poor children had nothing and no one.
Now, I don't recall this, but my mom tells me that I asked her, "Why doesn't anyone love those children?"
Almost ten years later, whenever I think about this, I basically break down. Quite the 'feat' for me. I can't help it. People may say "Life is not fair" but how many people even understand what unfairness truly is?
"She got one more cookie than I did. Not fair!"
"He got more recognition than I did. Not fair!"
"They got to have a longer vacation. Not fair!"
And so it goes, on and on.
The way these children live is not fair.
The way these children are treated is not fair.
The way these children are unloved is not fair.
It's when I think about things like this that I do an evaluation. I mean, I have so much, you know? I have clothing. I have a home. I have educational opportunities. I have a supportive family. I have a God who loves me. I have everything I could ask for and more. I am rich with blessings. And why? I don't even know. I could just have easily been born into this world destined to be a Romanian orphan. I could have spent my entire childhood in a bed, constantly rocking myself to sleep. I would be cross-eyed from looking up at the ceiling all the time and focusing in on my nose (and in Romania, people who are cross-eyed are considered to be mentally retarded). I would have no family. No faith, likely. No love. No joy. No hope. No future.
There's nothing I can do right now other than be thankful and praise God for all that He is and all that He gives. I can pray. I have done a bit of research today and read that apparently, Romanian orphanages have improved a bit since having world exposure on shows such as 20/20, Dateline, and yes, Oprah. The reason they initially came to be in such poor condition and be so filled with children is that Romanians were encouraged and pressured to have five or more children by communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu. In fact, he banned birth control in 1967, leading to a wave of abandoned children who ended up in state institutions that were completely underfunded. Even with supposed improvements, the government cares very little about the orphans of Romania. Adoption is also incredibly limited. Thankfully, foreign workers are allowed to come in and help at the orphanages. This is basically the best and only way for these children to come to know what love is and be treated like the humans that they are.
I know that God has a plan for every single one of His creatures... but it's examples such as this that make it easy for me to see how people can ask, "How can a perfect, good, and loving God let things like this happen?"
'Defend the cause of the weak and
maintain the rights of the poor and
Rescue the weak and needy;
deliver them from the hand of the