Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Just finally watched this Hallmark made-for-tv movie about Irena Sendler that aired last Sunday. She helped provide aid and moved more than 2500 children from the Polish Ghetto during WWII. At the end they showed a clip of her in 2005 (she died just last year at 98 years old!) and she was talking about Mother's day. She was asking for everyone to remember the Jewish mothers that had the bravery and courage to let their children go. Any mother would tell you that the decision to let your child go - to live in a world foreign to them, to likely be converted to Christianity and lose their Jewish background, to forget their families and risk never seeing them again - is not a decision most mother's could make. It makes my heart ache to think of having to send my child to the unknown, forcing her to forsake her identity for a new one, never speak her native language again, yet asking her to remember it all so that she can one day pray and hope to be reunited with family or provide help to others. I don't know if I could be so strong. I pray that I could.

In her interview she also asked for everyone to remember the brave Polish families that took in the Jewish children, risking their own lives every hour of the day from being discovered. And then again when the war ended and efforts were made to reunite these children with their Jewish families, the pain and anguish they must have felt to give up those children they loved for so many years.
We remember the past, yet I feel it is important to know that this is not a savage act that humanity will never repeat. It is happening today. China's "one child" policy has created an outrageous situation where babies are being aborted after the ultrasound can determine the gender (they prefer males for many reasons) and selling their children on the black market to avoid exorbanent fees. Also, kidnapping is on the rise as well. There are a shortage of women to marry, so some families are seeking females to raise to be wives to their sons.

Many other parents in Asian nations that see no hope for their children and they fall into traps of selling their children on the black market, thinking they will have a better life. The reality is many of these children are being sold into the sex trade and are forced to commit horrifying acts at a very young age.
In the Sudan of Africa, the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) is a militant rebel group trying to forcibly overthrow many governments in Africa. They rape and pilliage villages, and they steal and enslave the children to train them as guerilla fighters - they even send many back to their villages to kill their own parents! Many villages cannot rest peacefully at night for the threat the LRA poses. Many families send their children to walk, alone, over 5 miles to a city where they can more safely sleep and the children must walk back in the morning. Adults cannot go, as they must stay to protect their home.

I am a mom, and I cannot even imagine the heartache these mothers must endure every day! I do know that the suffering I feel from being unable to have another child is nothing compared to what these mothers of past and present are doing for their own children. There are desparate parents in the world that don't know what to do. They don't know who to trust. I know the heartache I feel is why the Lord has given our family the desire to look into international adoption. I don't know if I would be brave enough to do what Irena did, but I pray that God would use our family to make a difference.

International adoption may not be your calling, but there are practical things you can do. Samaritans Purse and other organizations have programs to which you can provide financial assistance, to help prevent human trafficing and rescue and rehabilitation of children in the sex trade. If you know a missionary or missionary organization, support them. Make sure you do your due dilligence and throroughly check out the organization you wish to support (we are called to be good stewards of what the Lord has provided). And pray that your gift would bless a child and their family.

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