Sharing a bedroom with 10 other kids.  Having just one prize possession, something to call your own.  Not knowing the individualized care of a loving adult.  Fighting for yourself, not needing anyone’s protection.

Children’s lives are not meant to be this way.  Yet, life characterized by communal living, independence, and survival is the way of life for millions of orphans around the world.  Many of them are corralled into tight living quarters, share all they have, and have never had the opportunity to know a trustworthy adult, let alone have the privilege of being able to depend on one.  Their childhood has been stolen, and many times, by no fault of their own.  Innocence is replaced by an emotionless fight for survival and often terribly destructive premature coping methods.  (This is not meant to be a commentary against the quality of orphanages or orphan care – many of them are caring for children as well as their means allow – rather, I am considering the stolen childhood of children living without families.)

We did not know very much about Sasha when we first chose him.  But, knowing he was a 14 year old living in an orphanage for kids with delays for the past 8 years, gave me a pretty good idea.  Inviting him into our family would give him a second chance at childhood. 

Yesterday, we got home and we were all so glad to finally be here! Showed Sasha around the house, he really likes his room (aka my room de-girlified c;). He loves dogs so it’s great to have Pepper here.  I think his first English phrase so far has been "Come here Pepper." :)  Brad introduced him to the PS2 and Wii, so I think he has fallen in love with those! Last night at dinner, we got to talk with him a little more, with the help of Google Translate (my Russian has been great so far!) I asked him why he wanted to come here, and he said to see what a normal family is like. …and that’s exactly why we’re here too! ❤

Note I wrote on Facebook about our first day at home

I love the joy on Sasha's face!As the days went by, Sasha became more and more comfortable in our family.  I could see him slowly being able to just be a kid again.  My prayers had been heard.  He got clothes and a room that were all his.  He didn’t have to worry about going hungry.  He played with games and friends as if he didn’t have a care in the world.  He was loved and accepted and had a place to call home.  Even if only for a short while, we were able to give Sasha a second chance at being a kid. 

Not all of us have had our childhood stolen.  But we are all living in a dark world that will never be able to provide for all our needs.  No human is perfect or deserving.  We have all made a mess of the life we’ve been given.  We are in need of a second chance.  And that’s exactly what God wants to give us.  With the smallest grain of faith, God’s grace and mercy can give any person a second chance. 

I give you all the credit, God— you got me out of that mess, you didn’t let my foes gloat.
God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out.
Psalm 30:1-3 (The Message)