A moment that changes everything A trip to a Russian orphanage

A moment that changes it all

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We all have been there. It’s just a moment. And we wonder if what we are seeing is really happening. If it could possibly be true that something like this actually happens anywhere in the world, let alone before our very eyes. Because lets face it, if you are reading this, you are more then likely within the top 10% of the worlds wealthiest people and most of these horrible injustices are far from our everyday view. However, when we witness the injustices of this world it can have one of two effects on us. One, it can cause us to become callused and cold,  forcing us to ignore that any of these things even happen. We close our eyes and our hearts and just live pretending that if it isn’t happening to us, it just isn’t happening. Or, two, it can cause us to rise up with a desire to change it and make a difference; to refuse to let these things happen in our lifetime, not on our watch, and not while we have any ability to do something, anything, about it. But the truth of it is, no matter what, it will change you forever. One way or another you will not be the same. hola beach club

The Russian Orphanage

I remember that moment for me, I was 16 years old. I travelled from my home in the mountains of Colorado on a trip to an orphanage in small town in Russia. The mission was to build a playground at an orphanage for the children. But it was not just any town. Seven years earlier my youngest brother was adopted from this town. My mom was just visiting a little orphanage while she was traveling across the country to adopt another little boy from the Ukraine. When she arrived she saw this sweet, black-haired, four year old boy playing with nothing but the handle bars from a bike, with the biggest smile you could imagine. And she was smitten. So she picked up my brother, the one she had travelled there for, and returned within the year and brought this cute little boy home to be apart of our forever family as well.

As we entered the town, now seven years later, I remember being in a daze of jet leg. I slept most the way from the airport and woke as we entered the cities outskirts. I remember opening my eyes and seeing a very old lady walking a skinny cow by the side of the very dirty road. I remember seeing broken and abandon buildings, a drunk old man sleeping next to a store front, and small children dressed in ragged worn clothes. Our interpreters told us that when orphans “graduate” from the orphanage most of them end up on the streets with nowhere else to go. All I could imagine in this moment was my sweet little brother in a few years having to survive on these streets. That was it. That was my moment. It was the one moment that changed me forever.

 A moment of decision

I could have pretended that it didn’t happen; that there aren’t orphans all over the globe, my own country included, that “age-out” with no one and nowhere to go. I could look away and not think about all the orphans worldwide that need a home and family to love them. I could ignore the statistics that say so many of them will end up not only on the streets but forced into a life of crime or to be a traffic victim and sold into the sex prostitution industry.

But I just couldn’t. I had seen something I couldn’t un-see. I couldn’t take it back and pretend that I was ok to live a life of privilege while others, so many others, suffer so greatly. I cried for a long time. Then I was angry for a little while. Angry that this even happens in the world. Angry that so many adults around me would choose to ignore it. And then, I chose to commit. To commit to do something about it. I’ll never forget the way I felt in that town, looking at the future that could have been my brothers if my parents would have chose to ignore the need. I don’t know when it happened for them. When my parents had that moment when they saw something so horrible that they decided they would be a part of the solution. But I do know, that many children have been impacted by their decision to do something about it. And the one here, my very sweet (now 25 year old) brother.

What’s your moment?

So what was it for you? Did you see something that ripped your heart out? Something that made you wonder if it was worth living your life differently? Did you well up with an anger that you couldn’t ignore. And what did you do with it? Did you walk away? Close your eyes? Pretend you never saw it?

It isn’t to late. Open your eyes. Open your heart. Because there is a hurting world waiting for you. Waiting for you to decide enough is enough. Not on my watch. I maybe can’t do everything. I maybe can’t solve all of it. But I can do something. My piece. And I can make a huge difference. If only for just one person… I promise it will be worth it.

Don’t give up! A x

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