A Greater Tragedy {Carrie}

March 1, 2010 by nohandsbutours 11 Comments

We are excited to share that Carrie will be joining us as a guest poster here at No Hands But Ours. Carrie works in China at New Day Foster Home and chronicles her life in China on her blog Signs of Hope.

A Greater Tragedy

She was talking about AIDS orphans. Maybe that’s what caught my attention. I don’t really remember. And though I don’t usually watch celebrity interviews, I was sitting in a hotel room by myself, with nothing else to do. And so I listened as Angelina Jolie talked about the photograph she was holding.

A little boy with his head happily cocked to the side. You could clearly see mischief in his eyes. She’d met him on a visit to an AIDS orphanage in Africa. He was maybe 7 or 8 years old. And she’d snapped the photo as she toured the place. A few months later, fate brought her back to the same orphanage’s dusty gates. She remembered the impish boy and asked about him, hoping to see him again.

“Who?” the staff asked, overwhelmed by trying to care for so many children.

“This one,” she said, pulling the photo out of her pocket.

The staff thought for a bit and then someone remembered.

“Oh, he died a while back.”

She asked to go to his gravesite and was taken to a large graveyard with many unmarked graves. No one knew which one was his.

No one remembered.

Angelina Jolie’s eyes glistened with tears as she gripped the photograph and whispered, “This is the only proof that he ever existed.”

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about our loss of Tristan. A beautiful toddler who lived at our foster home for over a year, he died quite suddenly and unexpectedly of heart failure on February 18, 2010.

We get asked a lot how we can bear to keep going. Sometimes we ask ourselves the same question. We see a lot of sorrow and suffering; a lot of sick children, and many who pass away. We see a lot of pain and brokenness. Sometimes it seems more normal to have a baby with a birth defect then to have a healthy child. Our “best case scenarios” end with a child leaving us with their new adoptive parents. The worst ends with a flat-lined heart monitor. In either case, we love them for a while and then they go.

Self-protection and preservation is a normal human response. If something hurts when you touch it, you don’t touch it again. If something hurts when you love it, you don’t want to love it again.

But we can’t stop.

Because there’s a tragedy greater than Tristan’s death.

There’s the tragedy of a little African orphan in an unmarked grave with a single photograph being the only proof he ever existed. There’s the tragedy of thousands of orphans like him, living lives in cold and sterile rooms – staring at ceilings and finding comfort in themselves. There’s the tragedy of children who die alone.

It may hurt us to love them, but true love is a sacrifice. And it’s a tragedy for us to lose them. But it’s a greater tragedy for them to never know love.


You can read more about Carrie’s work in China on her blog here.

11 Responses to “A Greater Tragedy {Carrie}”

  1. Kim says:

    Beautifully written.
    I am a HUGE Carrie fan and pray for the opportunity to visit her and those like Tristan that she loves so well at NDFH during our time in Asia.
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,
    Kim

  2. TanyaLea says:

    Like Kim, I too am a HUGE Carrie fan! She has a remarkable gift for writing…but most importantly, the things she writes about are meaningful and touch so many. This post just TUGS at my heart strings… to think of that precious little boy in Africa, whose only proof of existance is a photo taken my someone half-a-world away…and the greatest tragedy is thinking of the millions just like him. That truly breaks.my.heart.

    Those of us who love and follow NewDay all felt the pain of Tristan's loss from this side of the world. And there are many more who feel it even deeper there in China. He may have died an orphan before he had the chance to be adopted…but he WAS known, so deeply loved by MANY and he will never be forgotten. He is now in the hands of his Forever Father…an orphan no more… just like the little boy from Africa.

    Blessings and Hugs,
    ~ Tanya

  3. Tara Anderson says:

    That was an absolutely beautiful post! One of my Carrie faves. :)

  4. Debby says:

    Oh….I think I now have a new Blog ton follow…..what an important story.

  5. Donna says:

    Oh my gosh… tears! I have so much admiration and respect for people who serve on the front lines.

    Donna
    Our Blog: Double Happiness!

  6. Jan J. says:

    Beautiful, Carrie. God bless you for giving children more proof than a lone photograph (or not) that they existed.

  7. Shannon says:

    Carrie,
    Thank you again for using your gift in such a beautiful way. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Words fail but the desire to keep pushing on does not…

  8. Stefanie says:

    This post touched me so, Carrie. Thank you for this very real reminder that selfless love is what we are called to… and ultimately can make all the difference in the life of a child.
    Great to have you here on NHBO :)

  9. The Brown Family says:

    Carrie, the chain of events that have led me to 'meet' you are not a coincidence. You are exactly what I need *right now* in my life. You have a beautiful gift with words and a willing heart to share. Thank you.

    Everyone else, you are welcome to enter a giveaway on my blog in honor of Tristan. His story touched my heart and reminded me of the gift I have been given in my own heart boy.

    Love
    Kim

  10. Jenna says:

    I didn't think NHBO could get better….but it just did by welcoming Carrie to the list of contributors. Carrie's the real deal, and if you don't read her blog, you really should.

    Carrie, this post was BEAUTIFUL and heartbreaking. We pray for you and for all of the staff at New Day EVERY DAY!

  11. groovy mama says:

    Wonderful Wonderful, Thanks for sharing.

    Donna
    Mama to a 'SN' child from China

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