And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas timeThe greatest gift they'll get this year is lifeWhere nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flowDo they know it's Christmas time at all? These words left an impression on my heart so deep at such a young age. Surprisingly, I knew way back then I would grow my family through adoption. When I sang this song at the top of my lungs into a hair brush standing on my bed I always thought of the parent less children. Here we are today, having grown our family thru adoption and in the land where our journey started with so many parent less children. We may not be in Africa where there is no snow, but the lyrics ring true for so many children everywhere. Do they know? We had the ultimate blessing to volunteer for a day of food, fun and ice skating in honor of approximately 200 orphans in and around Moscow. The Mr and I took Munchkin One to a local ice skating rink. The first time he put a face with the word "orphan." This was one of our purposes. To begin to introduce Munchkin One to a deeper level of understanding his past. Not many children spoke English, ranging in ages from 4-18. It was a bit difficult at first to just stand back and watch many of the Mr's coworkers laugh and love on these children. I desperately wanted to converse and let them know. Let them know they are thought of. Let them know they are prayed for. Let them know they are loved. Let them know they are wanted. Let them know their lives have purpose.
Three young boys spoke enough English and the Mr spoke enough Russian to make a connection. We spent hours with them. They were excited to speak with us. They took Munchkin One under their wings as if he were one of them. Little did they know, but we did not share. Munchkin One had three big brothers for a day. One helped teach him how to ice skate. Do they know? Do they know how much it meant to Munchkin One? Do they know how much it meant to us? The day ended with us walking the boys to their bus. The orphanage is located 2 hours outside of Moscow.They expected the return to take three ours. Do they know? Do they know how special they are? If only for a few hours, yes, they knew. For this, my day was complete. Baby steps..... We adopted/sponsored four orphans for Christmas. Each year at home in the States we always took two angels from the tree at the Mr's office. One angel for each of our Munchkins, the same age as each of them. We want our children to learn the value of selflessness, of giving without the expectation of receiving, of taking care of each other. This year, the younger angels were taken. The Mr took four letters from the Orphans to Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) listing their wishes. It was an honor to play Ded Moroz to these four children! What we bought for the childrenis insignificant compared to the joy they will receive on Christmas morning. I prayed over all those gifts as i wrapped, tied ribbons and stuffed bags. Do they know? They will know soon how much they are thought of. A sweet (Russian ) friend helped me write four letters to each of the children; Danila, Denis, Aloysha and Natalya. Having never written a letter from Ded Moroz, I didn't want to let the children down. I knew I wanted them to know an American family thought of them and cared for them very much. But was this appropriate in a letter from Ded Moroz? My friend wrote the most beautiful letter to each of the four children that brought me to tears. Do they know? Yes, they will know. There is no amount of time, energy or money to great to make them feel as warm and loved as I pray they do on their Christmas morn. It is not about the gifts. It's about the thought. But how do you tell a child who was never given a thought? Through a gift. In this case, the gift of words. Do they know? Do they know how much they are thought of? Do they know how much they are prayed for? Do they know how much they are loved? There are 700,000 orphans in this country. 7 of them know. 7 of them know they are important. 7 of them know they matter. And 7 of them have left an impression on my heart. Do they know? Yes they know....and so will many more. This is only the beginning.