There is a stark reality that orphans in Ukraine will face, apart from adoption. Ten percent who age out of the system will commit suicide within the first year of aging out. Over ten percent will end up in prison. Six out of ten girls will be forced into violent sex trafficking. These statistics haunt our family and fuel our urgency to adopt from Ukraine. We just cannot look at all the space in our home and the blessings God has granted us and rest our heads at night knowing that there are children who may not last the next day.
The stark reality of Ukrainian orphans became a face, a name, and a story for us this week. This week we learned that Sasha, one of the boys we met at Bridges of Faith this summer, was brutally murdered at the hand of his mother’s boyfriend. Stabbed to death with a knife in his mother’s home, along with his 21-year-old sister and another person. Sasha jumped out of a window and ran to other homes trying to get help, but would die before the police arrived. There is even a picture of his footprint, thick with blood and drops of blood all around on stairs that he climbed in search of help.
Words fail. Words simply and completely fail to describe the depth of mourning our family is experiencing. We have yet to tell our children … I’m not sure if we will. I am left with so many thoughts that race through my mind. Did he know Christ? I know he heard the Gospel many times throughout his month long stay at Bridges of Faith, out of our own lips. Did he cry out to Jesus and make this decision while he was in America? Maybe in his final moments, the Holy Spirit met him in that awful place and brought to his memory this man Jesus who promised peace and eternal life?
I wonder who was around him as he breathed his final breath. Did they hold him close and tell him he was not alone? Was he frightened and cold? How could this poor baby who never experienced life as it was meant to be lived now fall at the hand of more violence by an adult who should have been kind? Where was God? What if I could have changed everything if he would have been one of the children we were pursuing? What if that would have given him the hope and the worth he needed to not seek out his mother and be at her home that night? What if I reached out more and provided that motherly support for him? Would he be alive and safe today?
There are still so many questions and thoughts racing through my mind. Who is mourning him? What about our precious babies still in that orphanage? Who is helping them cope with this horrific loss? I have messaged each child we met who lives with Sasha and let them know we are here if they need to talk and that we are praying for them. Unfortunately, I fear these children are far more acquainted with grief and loss than they are hope and joy, so life goes on for these brave survivors.
Sasha. He was in our home. Jumped on our trampoline. Got frustrated that he couldn’t do the flips like another boy could. Quiet. Reserved. Maybe even painfully aware that he wasn’t one of the pretty and bubbly children that would probably get adopted. An acceptance of his place in the world, I fear. At first, he was very distant, rebellious looking. I knew he wouldn’t be one we would feel comfortable adopting. And yet, as God softened our hearts toward Sasha, God softened Sasha’s heart as well. A smile here and a soft chuckle there. Day by day Sasha opened up to us and the other families at Bridges of Faith.
This boy, he was a great kid. He was handsome and sweet. Sasha, wore a thick wall of protection around himself like armor. He was protecting his heart of gold. Protecting a little boy inside who only knew pain, neglect and disappointment. I made him pancakes from scratch. He is the one out of the whole group that I would hug just a little longer, hoping my mama’s love could seep through his armor to his aching heart. This sweet boy just desperate to belong and be nurtured – to finally be valued over alcohol and toxic men. Now he is gone. Violently stolen from this world. Far too soon. And oh how our spirits ache for what life could have been for this boy if someone would have pursued him.
My point for this blog is just to share this beautiful boy. He is not a statistic. Not one of millions of children who face the world surrounded by abuse and violence. He is Sasha. A boy whose life mattered. A boy who forever changed our family. Forever burned in my heart and mind. His life has become fuel to our adoption. Fuel to our hearts as orphan advocates. May God have mercy on his soul.