There is something that has really bothered me deep down each time I have been to Chenzhou.
Well, let's face it, there are many things that bother me very deeply.
But this is in particular, just makes me realize the enormity of it all.
It may sound silly or petty in the grand scheme of life.
But I think it sums up the depth of loss for these kids.
They have NO family.
They have NO home.
They have NO clothes of their own.
They have NO toys.
They have NO pets.
They have NO birthday celebrations to celebrate their entry into this world.
They have NO holidays.
And the list goes on...
And to take one more thing from them...their sexual identity as a boy or a girl is most often unclear.
Their clothes are never a reflection of what sex they are.
Their shoes either.
Their heads are shaved.
We are constantly asking, "Is this a boy or a girl?"
Now I know babies can be hard to tell sometimes. My own children were often mistaken for the wrong sex even when I had appropriate clothing on them.
But it is the fact that something so basic to human dignity, boy or girl, has even been stripped away from these precious little ones.
It hits me hard.
A 13 year old boy with a deep voice had a pink shirt on and pink Croc-like shoes.
I have a 13 year old boy and I have never seen him choose this "look".
A little boy was sporting a shirt that said in English "Sweet Girl".
Yes, at least they have clothes on their backs, but my goodness, it just shows how desperately humbled they are.
I am sure the orphanage takes whatever they can get to clothe these kids.
I get it.
And they shave their heads.
Easier to care for I am sure.
In some cultures this is how everyone wears their hair.
But I have never seen a woman with a shaved head walking the streets of China. Or many men for that matter.
Couldn't the girls have their hair?
I know both my beautiful China girls had their heads shaved.
Just another reflection of their worth.
Or better yet...lack of.
But...if someone, anyone, decided to dress them according to their sex, or let their hair grow, it would show they were being thought about as a person, an individual, a soul that was created by God and has a unique purpose all his or her own in this world.
But they don't get that small little decision.
They are the "least of these"
What would it take to change things?
I have asked myself this question over and over again.
I don't know, somehow I dare to dream that if maybe that small, seemingly insignificant step of keeping their sexual identity for them were to take place that maybe, just maybe it might be the spark that set off a chain reaction of seeing these kids as beautiful creations full of worth and honor and dignity.
And maybe when we are there, I pray when we are there, that we all make these kids feel worthy
Worthy of love and dignity.
Like they are the beautiful souls they were created to be.
Boy or girl.