Often times when watching videos or reading books about the desparate state of so many precious children I find myself feeling discouraged that we can't make more of a difference. I fear that one of the hardest parts of going to see our child in Russia will be the number of children we will meet that will not be coming home with us. I can remember in the past feeling that it was almost easier to numb myself to the burden of helping these children. I just wouldn't allow myself to dwell on it and would "change the channel" in my mind so I wouldn't have to feel. It was just too overwhelming and even if I did make some small effort it would never be enough. I remember someone remarking about how unbelieveable it is that an adoption could be so costly (which of course we were surprised as well!).....it was suggested more than once that perhaps there was some way we could help that wouldn't cost so much. I think this is a natural response and we did of course consider it. But I kept hearing a voice say, "then who?" If we all find ways that are less costly, less invasive, less life-changing.....then who will help?
I know this won't be the last time I am burdened by the overwhelming need and our small way of helping, but the following story has shown up in two books that I have read throughout this process. It is one that I have heard many times before and often dismissed, and one that many of you have probably heard as well. It has helped me to put things into perspective tremendously and when I read it the second time I knew that I should share this.....
"In some parts of the world, when the tide comes in from the ocean, it brings with it thousands of starfish. Then the tide recedes and leaves thousands of them behind on the shore. Many of these starfish cannot make it back to the safety of the water before the sun comes up and dries them out.
A man was walking along the shore one day and witnessed this sight. He stared at all the starfish, saddened that so many would die.
Then he saw a young boy walking in the other direction. The lad would stop and pick up a starfish and throw it into the ocean. He continued to do this, picking up one after the other and throwing them back into the water.
"Why are you doing that?" the man asked the boy. "Don't you realize there are miles and miles of shore? You're wasting your time. You'll never make a difference."
The boy simply picked up another starfish and hurled it back into the ocean. As it landed, he said, "I made a difference for that one."
Like the young boy, we cannot save them all. But you and I CAN make a difference. Let's not let what we can't do stop us from doing what we can do."