A Tsunami of Loss

“You are so lucky!!!!”

A Tsunami of Loss
A Tsunami of Loss

It’s a refrain heard almost universally by children who have been adopted, and also by my orphan children here at Shishur Sevay.  “You are so lucky.  You have such a good life!”  In truth the girls would easily give it all up to have their families back.

At some point in the lives of each of these children, every person they knew, every thing they knew, and every place they knew were all gone.  Strangers replaced relatives; institutions replaced homes or tents in the fields, or a corner of the rail station where they had lived.  I’ve watched them grieve. I’ve watched them not wanting to eat because they didn’t know if their siblings were hungry. Sometimes they were more like mothers who had lost their children than children who had lost their mothers.

At Shishur Sevay they soothe each other and thus also themselves.  The bonding and love between them is powerful. I’d had a dream one night during the time we were waiting for our license.

I was sitting near a pond.  It was a quiet place and I was feeling at peace.  Then the words came to me, “It’s a place where a girl can bring her little sister too.”  

One of the girls desperately missed her little sister and brother.  I promised her that if we ever found them, they could join us.  We can’t take boys, by law, but I said we would find a place for him right nearby and he would come and spend his days with us.  When we eventually found her family, we learned that the little boy had disappeared 2 years before.  Her sister was not there either, though the relatives tried to convince her that another child was her sister.   They kept plying her with answers to questions and our girl kept insisting this was not her sister.  These are not lucky children.

Yes, I understand what some people mean that they were lucky to find me, as I was lucky to find them, but it has an entirely different meaning to the orphan child, to the adoptee.  It is not a lucky thing to be born with this destiny ahead of you.  It’s not something we would wish on any of our children.  It’s a loss that they carry forever,  a hole in their pasts filled with questions that cannot be answered and longing that cannot be fulfilled.

It was and is a tsunami of loss.

December 2014
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