Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dear Harlen,

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.)


  1. Tara what a brave and heartfelt post! I am francines 555 warrior and they do have hold of your heart to a scary degree! its not just Francine its Harlen and all of these kids! Dont be afraid, just do it! i have had a very bad week if i am honest. i am doing a sponsored weight loss, i have comitted to loosing 49lbs in 6 months and i just cannot get sponsors! not 1 person sponsored me in my workplace i worked for over 10 years and it was full of friends! i took it so personally, i was devestated! i cannot get my head around people not being moved by these children! but today i thought even if my team for francine has just 2 people in (me and God!) then so be it...i will keep doing my all because I am right! you too are right my dear friend and God is also always in your team for this sweet boy! your heart is moved you are already so far down a road that many wont even step onto and you are right! i am so excited about your next steps, i really am! come and link up with me over at flight platform living every friday for forget me not friday, and i will be honoured to show your sweet boys face in the friday gallery! hugs to you dear friend, looking forward to our braver days to come xxxxxx

  2. Keep on advocating Tara. These kids need our voices~

  3. Ohhhhhhh, Tara!!!!!!! Honey, you make me cry. I love you. You have not failed him. I pray to GOD he can feel your love.

  4. Love your honesty. I have the same shortcomings--I know my heart, but I also know my limitations. Not saying that limitations can't be overthrown...

    Anyway, I am glad I could contribute a little bit towards Harlen.

  5. Thanks for stopping by! LOVE Reece's Rainbow - the little girl I've emailed photos of to my husband about three times just found a family - which is hard - but excellent news all at the same time. It shouldn't be about money - except it is. Sucks.

  6. I have so desired to be a foster parent. I am intimidated by the strict requirements of the system. And yes have failed in the selfishness of being afraid I would love too much.

  7. Trying hard to even comprehend what I just read... Feeling your pain, and wondering what if - What if we would have known? There are many who feel as you do, and yet we can't feel exactly what you feel. There is a song that I remember from some time back that might be appropriate for you. This was a song by Twila Paris - "The warrior is a child". Please find and listen to that song. Know that every soul, from past to future, is known fully by God. There is not one hair on this little boys head that is not known by God. I am very moved by your ability and desire to share your truth in such a profound and raw way. Please know that my wife and I are praying for you, and for that little boy - and many others like him. "Be still and know that I am God" says the Lord. What a precious soul you are. Thank you for your post, as it has made my day come back into focus. What is important? The clothes we wear, friends we have, car we drive, where we live? No - but what is important is to hear "Well done thy good and faithful servant" when it is our time to face our Father in Heaven...


    Mark Taborn

  8. My daughter (age 9) and I were prayer warrior's for Warner in Russia. He was 2 years old and recently died, alone. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do to tell my 9 year old what happened. We grieved for a few days and then she surprised me during bedtime prayers when she thanked God that Warner was in Heaven and not stuck in that crib anymore. That more than knowing a mother's love, he now know's a Father's love that is bigger than we can imagine. We are right there with you and pray the feeling never goes away, because than maybe we know a little bit of how God feels for all of His lost children.