Orphan-Grief: The Loss of Less

[This is a guest post by The Reverend] It happened today. And it was not pretty.

We were walking through the zoo, and everyone was having a good time. We had just seen the giraffes, and the two littles LOVED THEM.* We stopped at the park to play, and then grabbed some water to rehydrate. As we were making our way back to the gate to meet our taxi, E lost it. For no apparent reason. He was inconsolable.

G couldn't comfort him. I couldn't comfort him. Goldfish crackers couldn't comfort him.

When he refused the orange crackers of goodness, we knew it was serious.

We tried to figure out what the trigger was. Had an animal scared him? Did he want water? Did he need his diaper changed?

We tried everything, but nothing worked.

At one point, we were at a quiet part of the park (except for E's wailing!), and I put him down. I sat on the ground several feet away, to give him some personal space, and I just observed. He just looked around and cried. I didn't know what to do.

Finally, I thought to myself, "I wonder if he's grieving?"

Orphan-grief is a real thing. When kids leave the only home they have ever known, no matter how bad it was, they miss it. The miss the subpar meals. They miss the inconsistent caregivers. They miss the hard mattresses.

It's sad, but it's true.

So in that moment, when I sat three yards away from my precious boy, I prayed, "Father, help this little man. I know he's hurting. Comfort him. Help him to realize that life is going to be OK."

I then got up, walked over to him, and said, "E, listen, buddy. You don't have to worry. I know you miss your home, but it's going to be fine. God told us to take care of you, and we are going to do it."

In that instant, every bit of anxiousness left his body. He looked at me, I pulled him into my arms, we we walked happily out of the park. It was beautiful. And heartbreaking, at the same time.

Pray for E. This isn't over.

But that's alright. He has a Mama and a Taty that love him and want what is best for him. More than that, he has a Heavenly Father who cares for him beyond measure.

*Have you ever seen giraffes fight? It's craaazzzzy!

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