You are a little boy with an extra chromosome. Because of it, you have neither a mom or dad, siblings, grandparents, or a church family. You have no toys, clothes, or even shoes that are yours alone. You have blond hair and blue eyes. You are five-years-old.
That is the sum total of what I know about you.
I don't know what makes you smile or if you ever laugh so hard your belly shakes. I don't know what comforts you when you're sick. I don't know if you dance when music plays or if you wave your hands like your directing the choir. I don't know what your favorite food is or if you like the color red.
I do know that I have failed you. My heart aches over my failure and I've lived in a haze of guilt for several months because of it. I do know that my guilt in no way compares to the misery of what's in store for you as you transfer (or have already transferred) to the mental institute.
I agreed to be a 5-5-5 Warrior for you, to advocate for you, and raise money for your adoption, to tell the world about your fate and maybe even find you a family.
I am a coward.
I wish I could say that I got busy or forgot. Even those lame excuses would be better than the truth.
The truth, dear boy, is that I am a coward. I was afraid of so many things. I was afraid that people were sick of hearing me go on and on about orphans. I was afraid that people would think I was only friends with them because I wanted their help. I was afraid people wouldn't care.
But mostly I was afraid I would care too much. It hurts to love an orphan. It hurts to allow my heart to be broken over things I can't control. It's hard to have one part of my heart in an unknown land and still deal with the here and now.
The reality that I can't protect you is hard for me to take. The harshness of your world is hard to reconcile with the ease of my own.
Added to that is my own foolish pride which knows that I'm not creative enough, persistent enough, or eloquent enough to move others to give with their hearts, to feel your plight, and to tell their friends. I couldn't do it perfectly, so I settled for not at all.
I am so sorry. I am weeping as I write this. The middle-aged mom of many from the rich country of America, ashamed to confess her failings to the poor orphan of Eastern Europe.
It is my hope that one day you will hear these words. I hope that you will sit on the lap of a woman who smells like lavender soap and calls herself "mom" and she will whisper these words to let you know that someone, in her own warped way, really cared about you when you were all alone.
I also hope that others who read these words will care and give and act to get you here.
I am not afraid, anymore, sweet boy. I know that you are not really alone. The same Jesus who is here with me is there with you. He will not give either of us more than we can bear with His help. He will give me the strength to fight for you and you the strength to hold on until someone comes for you. He will hold me as I love you from afar, and hold you as you wait.
Be strong, little one.
(If you would like to donate for Harlen, in spite of my failings, I would be so very grateful. Every little bit helps. Please go here to give.)