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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Look Into A Child's Eyes ...


I have been debating all week on how I wanted to post this topic ... I hope everyone out there knows I would never try to offend anyone, but I feel like I must share my heart when it comes the topic of the "Lip Sync" little girl from China during opening ceremonies ...

I will start by saying I am always going to be thankful for the country of China and the amazing women, who gave birth to my beautiful daughters. I can not respect some aspects of the culture, to say that the little girl, who actually sang the song was not presentable enough to represent the country of China just breaks my heart. As most of you know I had two completely different experiences in China when picking up my daughters. When getting sweet precious Emily, people could not stop talking about how lucky she was, how cute she was, and always smiling at me and telling me thank you. During my trip to pick up angel girl Maggie, no one would look at me, people side stepped us, people gasped at her head in disgust, and I believe a couple of Chinese grandmothers cursed while they shook their fingers at me. I will be honest to say it took all I had not to stomp on some heads during this trip. It was very clear to me why Maggie didn't look adults or really anyone in the eyes. Why would she when she was never greeted w/ smiles, love, or valued as a child ... I can only imagine (and I really try not to) what she endured from others in her treatment because of her burn/skull injury ... And yes, I did meet some very compassionate and kind Chinese people on both trips, but as a culture their need for perfection is scary ...

My challenge for all of us is to look at children whether disabled, disfigured, different, hurting, etc. in the eyes and tell them how special, handsome, beautiful, talented, and precious they are ... Let them know God values each and every one of them for they are all "Fearfully and Wonderfully made." It is the heart of a child that makes them precious ... ALL CHILDREN are gifts from the Lord ...

Thank you for journeying w/me always ... Thanks to so many of you who are praying for my sweet Maggie ... She has touched many hearts and continues to grow mine.... She still has much to endure, but will not do it alone ...

57 kind words.:

Kristi J said...

What a great post!! As you can see on my post tonight..I have friends with disabled children and couldn't imagine a country that would treat them so disrespectfully!!! I finally remember to find your homecoming video the other day...I LOVED IT!! I'm going to make a post out of it if I can figure out how to put it on mine...I'm a little computer slow, missed you tonight...see you next Sunday, kj

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Love the picture of the girls..
They are sooo beautiful...
Love this post.. you are soo right..
NOONE is perfect..
I am always here for you and will continue to be with you in thought and prayers ....
You are amazing.. and have an amazing family...
Love ya crazy..
Hugs..

April said...

Oh Gwen, it just breaks my heart to think about that, and very hard not to "stomp on some heads" to say the least if I had been there..but they are the ones that missed out, on a chance to share a smile with one of the most beautiful children God had created, and what a honor that God chose you as the parents of beautiful Maggie...Praise God...

thorvet said...

Looking into Maggie's eyes in the gotcha photos compared to the most recent photos you can see the immense change in her eyes. Indeed, her eyes tell the story of a changing heart, mind, spirit because of the love she is now experiencing with brothers and sisters and people who are always there for her. The love she can now return because she is feeling less vulnerable to allow that love to flow.

My words fail me, but I can see into her eyes and see hope.

Teresa

thorvet said...

Looking into Maggie's eyes in the gotcha photos compared to the most recent photos you can see the immense change in her eyes. Indeed, her eyes tell the story of a changing heart, mind, spirit because of the love she is now experiencing with brothers and sisters and people who are always there for her. The love she can now return because she is feeling less vulnerable to allow that love to flow.

My words fail me, but I can see into her eyes and see hope.

Teresa

that girl (shelly) said...

preach it, girl! You get an amen from my row.

Kathi said...

You should've heard what I said (then again, maybe not) at my TV when I heard that... I CANNOT believe that anyone would say that about/to a child. It broke my heart as well. May I email you and tell you something? I am so with you on everything you said..you have the most beautiful little girls in the world

Kim Kenward said...

Maggie's story has touched so many people. There are great things destined for this special child. I can't wait to see how her journey unfolds.

Steffie B. said...

Love you girl.... I couldn't agree with you more.... lets' talk this week....
smooch...

Shelly and Family said...

H Gwen...Wow what a powerful post! It was so honest for you to post how different each of your two experiences were while in China. I know there has been a lot talk about China and the Olympics and I so try to stay quiet on that whole subject...feeling such a strong bond with China that sometimes it gets hard for me to get my point across...but I did stand up and say something when I heard "someone" say that our daughter Francesca was a Olympic reject...I so went off and I think I said some stuff that wasn't very nice (but I just couldn't hold back) and TG my hubby ushered Francesca away in time for my fury to be unleashed (I so bet that this idiot will think twice about what comes out of his mouth)!

The Zehrs said...

Beautifully said my friend.
It has struck me also during these games that the chinese athletes "left" their homes at ages as early as 3 to begin training for their sport, only seeing their families a few days a year. One commentator said that one of the girls begged her family to let her come home and they refused, saying "It is best for the family." It seems in the Chinese culture that "perfection" has it downside too. How I pray for them all!
P.S. Sophie told me that we need a "Jadyn Baby" (chinese)at our house! Kinda freaked her Daddy out!

Anonymous said...

Gwen...I'm glad you posted what you did. We experienced similar reactions with Anna and Emma's adoptions. Thumbs up all the way from most Chinese onlookers for Anna - an adorable, "perfect-looking" baby. But with Emma, well, Scott felt and overheard the disdain and observed the gestures regarding how her mouth looks. And yet, she is just as perfect in our eyes as Anna. Your Maggie will grow up knowing that she is valued, cherished, and chosen by God and you and Scott. What a gift that she is being raised by parents who are teaching her the true root of all beauty (although I personally think she's just as beautiful as can be)!

emily said...

As always, a great post. Oh how my heart is going to be breaking in a few days for all of the amazing orphans that we meet along the way. I will have my eyes wide open my friend.

I love you and the way that you have faithfully walked along side me through this. Can you believe we met the night before you went to get Maggie?

LaLa said...

Amen sister! It really is sad to think that poor child with a beautiful voice is being made to feel less worthy. I saw her pics and think she is such a cutie!!! I saw a petition going around about letting her perform in the closing ceremony..we shall see

Anna said...

Amen sister!!!

Carrie said...

Thank you for speaking the words of my heart from the start. Honestly, I can say that some Chinese people have no regard for a person as they are. If you are not "special" in some way then who are you? The Olympics was a prefect example of this.
You and Scott were called to bring Maggie into your home to teach her the true meaning of beauty and that God does not look at the outward appearance, only the heart. You are nuturing this in her Gwen and what a beautiful, lovely gift from God she is!!!!

Denise C said...

Praising GOD for your two beautiful gifts!!! Precious in His sight!!!
Your words are "right on" Gwen...I agree wholeheartedly....bless your precious heart!
Chelsi and I wear our "Pray for China" wrist bands everyday!

Love and hugs to you, my sweet sister!
Denise C

Anonymous said...

AMEN, AMEN....and, another AMEN!!!

Jesus LOVES the little children.

Terry said...

After I heard what happened, I wondered if (and hoped you would) address this issue. I am disgusted that anyone, let alone most of an entire country, would see any child as not good enough/pretty enough/whatever enough for any thing. And while I love China and will eventually bring a child home from there (and probably a child with "special needs" at that), I'm still rattled by so much of their culture and their need for perfection which is hurting children.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Maggie is beautiful in every way, as is every other child in the world, whether they are considered special needs, not pretty enough to represent a country or as close to perfection as a person can be.

amy said...

thank you for your honesty on this topic.

YOur family is prayed for!

Leigh Ann said...

What a powerful post and a wonderul challenge to us all to protect the emotional well being of the children in our lifes!

Nicole said...

I was wondering if you were going to comment on the opening ceremony. It is SO sad they didn't use that sweet little girl as the face of China. Both of your girls are SO lucky to have you as their mommy. And they are BOTH absolutely beautiful!

Suzanne Kroeker said...

Courageously and beautifully said, Gwen. You expressed the sadness & frustration so many of us felt on hearing this story. Hope your family is well. Suzanne

Kristi said...

Well said my friend. I so agree with you in every way. Would like to add that even in this country, although they wouldn't like to admit it, think of TV and hollywood and how the right "looks" sell products on commercials. I think China got "caught" in this ugliness as they are perfection driven, but it exists, even here. Their culture is lacking so much in the value of individuals and when my boys heard the lip sync story they were so angry. They both agreed they were so glad Anna is here with us and not left over there to contend with such! Standing with you my friend as we stand with our precious children.

sar said...

hi, i'm sarah! i will be praying for your family as you expand again from ethiopia! my husband mark and i just began the process and already it has been so amazing.

-sarah in n.c.

Bella's momma said...

This was beautiful!

It is a sad shame we are looked at as enough or not enough. Thankfully each and everyone of us is enough in the eyes of a King.

Thank you for sharing your heart and the story of your precious BEAUTIFUL little girl!!

monicalrobbins said...

Gwen,
We found the same in China. Our daughter has a "blue" eye because of her blindness, and a few Chinese people absolutely could not understand why we would want her. How terrible it is. I watch the Olympics and just pray for those little girls when their gymnastics routines don't go "just right." I wonder what comments await them when the cameras are pointed elsewhere.
Thanks for posting this. It has been on my heart, too.

JulieM said...

What a beautiful post! I read you blog often and love your heart as a mom and your heart for the orphans. You continue to inspire me as a mom and as our family prays about going on our own adoption journey!! May God continue to bless you and your family!

Ruth said...

Amen sister!! How sad for that little girl whose beautiful face was not seen.

Kristi said...

Gwen,

I have never commented here before but I often read your inspirational blog. I agree with you so much about all children being perfect and different at the same time. I was devestated lately when I heard about the new movie out Tropic Thunder that makes fun of individuals with disabilities including adopted children, children with limb differences and with cognative impairments. That is here in America! It is shameful! I just know that our children will suffer at school from this. Thanks again for having the courage to speak out about this issue.

jennifer said...

Right on, sista!! I am right there with you. I am so enjoying all the great scenery and wonderful things about China during these Olympics, but can't stand knowing that all those little girls are in those orphanages - hidden away. It breaks my heart.

Janeen Jordan said...

Ok, when I first read this earlier today, I couldn't post because my heart was so broken - just the image in my mind of someone turning away from a little child or hurting them with words or even actions and knowing it was little Maggie...well, I've come to love this little girl I have only met once because of the courage she represents and it caused my heart to ache in such a huge way. All I can say is that one day we all will face a day of accountability -

Denna said...

Great Post!!!

Anonymous said...

Gwen,

I greatly appreciate your honesty and your HEART!! You are right where the Lord wants you and right where the heart of the Lord is. You are such an encouragement to so many. Adoption is a journey with many ups and downs. God is good and brings us thru the good and bad. Please know how we will be praying for continued healing on lil Maggie's life. You are an amazing family god has chosen to be her forever family.

Thanks for following him on this journey.

Love, LIsa

Gail said...

Gwen, You have spoken from the heart and I couldn't agree with you more. I don't always understand the ways of China either. Your Maggie is very blessed to have you as her mama.

Heather said...

Beautiful, Gwen - I love your heart - I love when you share from the depths of you...God uses that to build us up. Thank you, sister. He knew, Gwen, He knew Maggie would need you to heal the hurts, to bandage the wounds, not the physical ones, they are able to be endured... it is the spiritual and emotional wounds that run so deep. No, she will not do it alone, there is a village praying for all of you and we are so thankful for her loving parents and siblings. God Knew, He always knows.
Love to you, friend
Heather

One of God's Girls said...

Gwen,
I couldn't agree with you more. I have been bothered by the fact that the little girl was deemed not pretty enough to appear on T.V. I can't imagine how going thru that experience is going to affect her. I know she was interviewed and she said she didn't care but we all know how badly words can scar a person and I can't help but think she is going to carry that baggage for a very long time. To be honest I wanted to go over there and get here and bring her here and love on her and let her know that God made her just as she was and to celebrate her beauty with her.
I think your Maggie and Emily are both precious and I love reading updates on them. You have been an inspiration and a source of encouragement without even realizing it. Love ya

Diana said...

Beautiful post. What a graet challange for adults not just toward children but to everyone. We are all God's children no matter how old we are.
God Bless
Diana

Our family said...

What an incredibly beautiful family you have!

~Casey

holly said...

I am so glad for mothers like you who do value all children. It is so important, I agree. Yes, I was disturbed by that story as well. I think the lack of value of females as well as the mistreatment of many who are considered imperfect in general is a sad truth in many cultures around the world, and yes, something we, as a world, need to work on!

Besides, Maggie is gorgeous! What a smile you all have put on her face! A pity that some people can't see the perfect child that God has made her!

Linette said...

Gwen-this post brought me to tears as we're waiting for a SN child from China. Each and every child is a gift from God..thank you for reminding us all in such a beautiful way.

missy said...

Absolutely!!! I read this and found myself saying, "uh huh, yep, she is so right". I teach many different children and I love them all so much. They are children of God and he created each one to be unique and be an individual. Nothing burns me up more than to see a child, an innocent child, hurt by adults who SHOULD know better.

Thank you for your lovely post!

Tina said...

I send out a hearty AMEN to you my world changer sister.

How I love you for your grit. You love deep and feirce for God and I just applaud HIM rising UP in you my sweet friend!

Kelly, Mom to the Putty's said...

Amen, Love it.

sar said...

hey gwen,

we were just wondering if you have any suggestions for us. so far in our adoption process we have been approved to adopt from ethiopia. now we are stuck, and can't even sign on with our agency because of money issues. how did you guys get started?? we have been married over 4 years now and haven't been able to have children, but God has given us a heart for adoption. we are frustrated because we want to do this so badly but we feel stuck! so far we are praying and slowly saving up, but we know there's got to be some way to move along a little faster! our baby needs us and we need our baby!

on the journey alongside you guys...

sarah [[and mark too :D]]

Tracy said...

What a challenge for all of us to look at everyone with the eye's of Christ.

Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

Oh my goodness what powerful words! Not only do I have a child with a disability, I teach inclusion students at school, and have 3 others with more severe disabilities mainstreamed into my class for social studies.

I try always to think, even before we had Ellie, "What if this were my child? If I were his mother, how blessed would I be to know his teacher cared for him."

Thanks for those reminders.

Bobby said...

Thankfully for ever one person who would look at a child and see all the imperfections, there is another person like you Gwen. Your compassion and giving heart is an example to all of us.

Don’t knock China too hard. I could see our own country doing the same thing, only being a little better at not getting caught!

Kathi said...

Jsut got your message on my blog; I wasn't sure if I could email you, as I thought you were only using the email address for the people that are contributing to your book....wanted to ask permission; so thank you for letting me do that.

Oatsvall Team said...

Believe me I do know how our country can be unkind also, and thank the Lord as a free country I can call someone's hand when the act inappropriately (especially to my children) ...

thanks everyone for the comments !!! it is blessing to know so many out there are looking out for those who can't look out for themselves !!!

Michelle said...

Gwen,
I am crying for what your precious Maggie must have had to endure before you came into her life. How hurtful words, stares, or even the absence of glances can be. Maggie is beautiful. Simply adorable. No burns or scars can conceal that. I will continue to keep her in my prayers as I know she has many procedures/surgeries ahead of her. I also pray that my children will grow up and look at what's inside a person before judging the outside. The book you recommended, "Same Kind of Different as Me," showed me that I need to be reminded of this sometimes, too.

Jenn said...

Gwen, A kindred spirit!! It broke my heart as well. It breaks my heart everyday to know that so many countries are so ashamed of anything other than "their perfection" that they hide children with disabilities away, and let them suffer and die.

Just knowing these harsh realities has changed me as a person, and I'm so thankful. I will fight for these kiddos for the rest of my life.

I am grateful everyday for my Yan and grieve that others are missing out on the blessing that it is to even know and love her.

Jewels of My Heart said...

Beautifully worded with grace and wisdom....
Oh if only we would see each child, each person through the Father's eyes....
God Bless You sweet sister and Maggie is so beautiful..........

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful journal entry!!!

Thinking of you,

Sherri
www.caringbridge.org/oh/kara

redmaryjanes said...

Amen my friend. Amazing post. I could not agree more.

Nikki said...

I read this post a few days ago, and haven't stopped thinking about it.
Well said.
Maybe you should write a book! (haha)

Jeff and Amy said...

I feel blessed to have come across your blog, how my heart broke reading how Maggie was treated in China. God had a plan for her, a home where she will feel his amazing love through your family.