|A Volkswagen van such as Uncle Paul |
drove. Courtesy: Second Chance Garage
|There I am, center, after my Aunt Marilyn's|
wedding, which took place in our back yard.
|Neighbors deemed our vacant lot, |
full of Goldenrod, a nuisance.
Courtesy: Seasons Flow
Once my sister married, she and her husband sought home. Discovering "her" house on the market--the very Cape Cod that inspired my mom's dream to build--Becky and Randy jumped at the chance to buy it. Some people have the knack for turning dreams to reality; my sister is one of them.
She wanted to be high school valedictorian.
She wanted to practice veterinary medicine.
She wanted to own the house on Yorkshire Drive.
And her dream home offered everything inside that it did out: quality, detail, classic beauty--perfection, really--even a Dutch door and a backyard shuffleboard court. My sister, distressed by random numbers, appreciated its 1520 address, too. They put down roots. They planned to stay. She was done moving.
Or so she thought.
|Dr. Rebekah De Nooy, holding a patient.|
|Calin and I were married in Becky's house.|
But her work with the Russian Orphan Lighthouse Project brings her face to face with a reality far more grievous than a distressed property: teens, with little hope for the future, pushed out at a certain age to the Russian streets, where prostitution, gangs, drug use, hopelessness, and suicide often await. She could look away--it's what most of us do--yet she cannot, striving tirelessly to help forgotten children fulfill a dream none should even need to have--the dream of a permanent home. Not the bricks and mortar kind like my sister so desperately wanted, but the flesh and blood kind, like she already had.
Becky uses the get-it-done grit that made her own dreams achievable to help Russia's older orphans fulfill the most basic of theirs. The obstacles are fierce: cost, fear, awareness, willingness. But she keeps trying and trusting, rejoicing in the successes, while mourning each failure when a child in need--a child with much to offer--ages out of the orphanage, with no family and nowhere to go. Despite her efforts, not every dream comes true--not even for my sister.
But it has for Daria, who, four months before aging out at age 16, found a family. And it has for 85 other children my sister has helped--children with health challenges, children in sibling groups too large to interest the typical adoptive family. Indeed, any child no longer a baby or toddler faces crushing odds.
I'm very proud of Becky--not for topping her large high school class, or making it through grueling veterinary school, or owning the perfect home--but for making God's command to help orphans her command, and making the pie-in-the-sky dreams of the hopeless her dream.
And because she won't give up--not until everyone is home.
The Russian Orphan Lighthouse Project brings American tourists to Moscow to visit with older Russian orphans in 5-day sightseeing trips. Whether adoption interests you or you simply want to show an orphan you care, you are welcome to join the adventure. The next trip is planned for February 5-12, 2013 with additional trips throughout the year. In 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available, the Russian Orphan Lighthouse Project found homes for 55% of the teenagers adopted to the USA from Russia. Find out more about the Russian Orphan Lighthouse Project on my sister's blog: RussianOrphanLighthouseProject.blogspot.com, and on the Russian Orphan Lighthouse Project Facebook page.
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