Love Does Not Conquer All

you-are-enough

When I praised one girl for swinging really high, I could tell by the look on the others’ faces that my actions were making them sad. But this wasn’t a pouty, temper-tantrum manipulative reaction we’re used to seeing in the United States, but a soul-deep internal doubt that asked “Am I worthy?”

Last year I attended a conference of several thousand Christians who were engaged and wanting to learn more about the ministry of caring for orphans. Many of the attendees were adopted themselves or were adoptive parents. Most everyone in attendance had visited or prayed for an orphanage at some point in his or her journey.

You could easily leave such a conference floating on a cloud as if the ministry of caring for orphans (and widows) as directed by the book of James was the equivalent of laying in a bed of roses.

Not that there weren’t breakout sessions about the difficulties that older adoptive children face. I encountered adoptive parents walking the halls telling about their emotional battle scars of grueling attachment processes. But the general message of the event was “Love conquers all.  As people of faith, we must learn to love orphans.”

am i worthy

It’s easy to believe this is all it takes: willingness to love. But during my visits with Feed the Children’s orphanages around the world, I’ve experienced a different story. Love, while essential, is not always enough.

In November, I spent time at the Dagoretti Children’s Center in Nairobi, one component of Feed the Children’s work in Kenya. On a sunny afternoon, I walked to the playground on the compound with about 12 children ranging in age from 3-12 years, both boys and girls. I was excited to jump rope and kick the soccer ball and hug these precious ones I’d previously only spent time with in more formalized programs.

And over the course of the afternoon, no matter what I did, there was not enough of me to go around. The children’s English language skills were still developing so instead of saying words I was used to hearing on a playground like, “Come push me” I got a lot of my name. “Elizabeth, Elizabeth!” they’d say.

I was constantly running between children. And for as much as I took individual time with one child to push her on the swing and be present in that moment of connection, there was another boy doing a flip on the monkey bars wanting the same attention. When I praised one girl for swinging really high, I could tell by the look on the others’ faces that my actions were making them sad. But this wasn’t a pouty, temper-tantrum manipulative reaction we’re used to seeing in the United States, but a soul-deep internal doubt that asked “Am I worthy?”

Sure, this playground scenario is similar to that faced by parents of multiple children on a daily basis. But these moments laid bare the danger of loving particular children in an orphanage. Even the mildest, most harmless display of favoritism (what any parent would naturally show his or her child) in an orphanage causes pain and suffering in all of the children there. It is not good to be known as “the favorite” in an orphanage – not if that child is to remain in the community of children.

street children

Even as I hurt for these precious ones—what I experienced growing up in a two-parent home is something most of them will never have—I remembered that these kids are the lucky ones. In Kenya, many abandoned children live on the street. The children at the Dagoretti Center receive care, clothes, food and schooling. They live in cottages with housemothers and fathers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  They have drivers to take them to school. When you see their faces, you see a hopeful future full of possibility.

Yet even with all of this “privilege,” their hearts still hurt. Even with the support teams the Feed the Children family has formed, even though churches send food and missions teams deliver toys, even though the caregivers in our orphanages love and treat the children like their own (which ours do!), even though we rescue more kids off the street and place them in homes like Dagoretti, it doesn’t heal the wounds in their hearts.

Orphan care is complicated, non-linear, and begs many questions. How do we get through to their hearts? How do we help orphans know, really know, that they are beloved?  How do we heal the wounds they carry without creating more? It’s a big conversation, and we need your voice in it.

you are enough

But despite the unanswered questions, we don’t want to leave you with no way to respond.

At Feed the Children, we like to write and deliver cards to the children in our orphanages. If you visit our break room in any given month, you’ll usually see a box of cards, a pile of pens, and a list of names so that staff can take just a few seconds to write a personal note to one of the children in our care. We would like to include you, too.

Write a note to a child in the comments below telling them you care, and we will hand-write them into cards and deliver them for you. In a few months, we will post photos of them receiving the cards, so you can see how a kind note to say that someone cares brightened their day. And please, share this with your friends, family, and coworkers. Let’s shower these children with affirmation!

64 thoughts on “Love Does Not Conquer All

  1. Precious child,

    I just wanted to tell you that although we have not met, and may never meet, that I am praying for you.
    My prayer for you is that you will be happy and healthy and you will know how much you are worth–so much! You are precious in the sight of the Creator of the universe. Bless you!

    Love, hugs, and prayers to you,
    Brooke

  2. The thought of your sweet face fills me with joy. Smile often because you are amazing and cherished. Sending you hugs and laughter.

  3. I hope you have a good day today! You are loved–God loves you and me more than we can possibly imagine, and I have a big imagination. Do you like to use your imagination, too? I like to imagine that when the sun shines down on my face, God is saying to me, “I love you. You are my child.” I like to imagine when it is raining that God is saying “If you are thirsty, I will give you a drink!” I am imagining you right now, a child who lives far way from me, smiling as you read this, knowing that this message comes from someone who is praying for you today, who is sending you a hug from hundreds of miles away. I hope you feel my hug. I hope you feel God’s love in the sunshine and when you see it rain. I hope you know how special you are.
    Blessings to you from North Carolina, U.S.!–Alicia

  4. I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, but I want you to know that you are loved. I am praying for you, that you have a blessed life. You must be very strong to be where you are today.

  5. Hi sweet child! You are beautiful inside and out. You are special and unique, and I am so happy that you exist. I know that you will do amazing things and make the world a better place!! You are a precious gift.

  6. Dear little one,
    You are very deeply loved–by me and by God. You are important. This world is better because you are in it. I pray that your life would have peace and joy.

  7. Sweet Child,
    I wish I could be there to give you a big hug and see you smile.
    Sometimes, things might be really hard for you but that will make you stronger as you grow. I know you will grow up to be a good person with a special heart and you will know you are loved by many people.
    You will always be rich enough to give people a smile.
    I learned a simple thing that you probably already know,….”Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
    You can do anything you can imagine in life if you set a goal and do a little every day to get there.
    You can be a teacher or a musician, you can even become a doctor if you want, that takes time but you can do it. Maybe you want to be an artist….you can make art from things you find in nature just by using your imagination. You can do anything you want but it is nice when you help others along the way. Write stories about your life or your dreams and share them with people. You could help some other child through hard times by sharing your stories with them.
    I might be far away from you but I hope you know I care and wish I could do more to help you.
    I hope you know how important you are to me and to all your friends there. I will be thinking of all the good things you are going to do with your life and I am proud of you for being so strong.
    I wish you blessings of good health and happiness little one.
    Hold your head up high and be proud of who you are. Make a plan and work hard for your future and keep that beautiful smile for all to see.
    Sending you all the love a father could send to his own child, You deserve it all.
    Your friend in Arkansas, USA,
    Paul

  8. Dear Sweet Precious Child,
    You are special. You are loved. You are valued. I love you and value you even though I’ve never seen you, and God loves and values you and He DOES see you. Peace to you, Child of the King.

  9. Beloved child – Please believe you are now where you are safe and will have food, shelter and a chance to learn skills that will help you as you grow up. You are there because of a lot of people who love you. I hope you become a happy child learning to be a great person.

  10. Hello! One of my favorite parts of the Bible (Psalm 139) reminds us that God made us and knows us even before we are born. I don’t know you, but I do know that God knows you inside and out. You don’t know me, but I know that God loves me and that God loves you too. Even though I don’t know your name, I know in my heart that you are special. You have something important to offer this world and the people around you. No matter what, never forget that you are loved.
    Your friend, Tonya in Virginia.

  11. “Before you were woven together in the depths of the earth, God saw your unformed body. ” You are fearfully and wonderfully made. There is no one is this whole wide world like you. Your fingerprints say that. And so, you are special; in fact, you are extraordinary!

  12. Happy Valentine’s Day! This is a day when we celebrate love and friendship, and I wanted to send my love specifically to you. It makes me so happy to know that you are in the world. Your heart is special, and if you look closely there, you will find God’s gifts of love and kindness. God has given you this love and kindness so that you can enjoy giving them to everyone you meet. Wow! Everyone who knows you is lucky indeed! You are a true friend.

    Sending you love and kindness from my own heart,
    Susan in Oklahoma City

  13. Hello, sweetheart!

    You don’t know me, but I work every day to write good things for Feed The Children so that you can get everything you need. I want you to have every blessing in life because you are worth it. I am so glad that God made you– the world wouldn’t be the same without you!

    Love,
    Tamara, a faraway friend

  14. Hello to a Very Special Child,
    Thinking of you and praying for God to bless you with good health and much happiness. You are loved very much. Sending hugs and kisses from Pennsylvania, USA.

  15. You are special and unique! There is no one on earth like you! Be special and unique; be you! You are beautiful!

  16. Precious Child,
    I may never have the pleasure of meeting you. I do want you to know that you are beautiful.
    One of my favorite bible verses is Deuteronmy 14:2. ” You hve been set apart as holy to the Lord your God,and He has chosen you to be His own special treasure.”
    You are most definitely a special treasure. Never forget that.
    Hugs,
    Dorothy

  17. Dear friend,
    I hope that this day is one where you will know, without a doubt, you are loved–even by people who have never met you, like me. On the other side of this world, I am giving thanks for you and praying today will be a day where you laugh, spend time with friends, and feel God’s love surrounding you.
    With love,
    Abby

  18. Dear sweet child,

    I know I’ll probably never get to meet you, but I want you to know that you are amazing and you are worth fighting for! I’ll continue to pray for you ever day of the year and pray nothing but the best of things find their way to you! God bless your sweet little soul:)

  19. Dear Sunshine!

    Your smile makes me happy. I know that God is shining his light on your beautiful face today. Be strong and brave in your life…watch The Lord move mountains for you:)

    Take care and God Bless! Your friend,

    Yolanda Lowmaster

  20. IN THIS WORLD THAT WE LIVE IN. YOU WILL NEVER SEE ALL THE PEOPLE WHO PRAY FOR YOU EACH AND EVERY DAY. WE CRY WHEN YOU CRY, LAUGH WHEN YOU LAUGH. HURT WHEN YOU ARE HURT. FROM ALL OF US. STAY STRONG. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND BELIEVE. YOU HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO CARE FOR YOU, WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED. MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL

  21. Dear little one,
    Though you and I do not know each other and we live across the world from each other, I know that we are still connected because the same God loves and cares for us. God saw something so special in you when He created you and He thought you were worth dying for. Even if our paths never cross, know that I, a college student in York, Nebraska, love and pray that you live a life full of love and laughter.
    Love, hugs, and kisses to you,
    Delaney

  22. Hello beautiful little girl!

    I am happy to meet you. My name is Katie and I live in the United States. What is your name? I like baseball and baking cakes. What do you like to do for fun? I am writing today to say you are special. You are loved. You are unique. You are a beloved child of God. I hope you know how wonderful you are. Have a great day. I hope you have an adventure. Adventures are my favorite.

    Katie

  23. I want you to know that Jesus loves you with all his heart. You are the light in his eye. He loves all children. He knows your name & everything about you. You are one of a kind & so very special! He is thinking of you right now & so am I. You are so brave, so special & loved by many people you don’t even know. It is my prayer that you are BLESSED every day of your life. I pray you have all you need. I pray you are happy & healthy always. May you feel the love from Jesus & from me as you read this. I love you…….Jesus loves you. May God Bless your BEAUTIFUL soul always.

  24. Dear friend,
    I know we haven’t met each other in person, but I want you to know that I am sending you lots of love today and every day. I believe that we can send things like love to places even very far away, just by thinking it, and I hope you believe that too.
    I want to thank you for being you and for allowing me to write and share with you. I know that you will be an amazing person and am sure that you already are! You are special, unique, and one-of-a-kind. You are loved by so many people, even people you may never see or meet or talk to in person – but we are here; always remember that.
    Lots of love always,
    Jessica

  25. You are loved. You are one of a kind. You are special . You are blessed and highly favored. I love you.

  26. You are amazing and were born with a very special purpose. Know that you are loved and I’m so very happy you were born.

  27. Even though we have never met, I have to tell you that every child in the world is so precious. You are a beautiful creation of God. Jesus, also, loved all little children. I pray that each of you has a wonderful life and a special family to share it with. Families consist of many different people. Sometimes our families can be the people who live where you do such as your friends or the people who take care of you. May God keep his Angels around each and every one of you throughout your life. And may all your dreams come true.

  28. I am writing a note to let you know how much I care. You are in my thoughts and even though you don’t know me I will pray for you. I hope you are well. I hope you have many good times ahead of you and please remember that I do care and hope to meet you one day.

  29. You are God’s special gift to the world and have the ability to do great things in life. God loves and lives within you. I want you to experience all of the joy and peace He has to offer. You are strong and full of life. God bless you child.

  30. Hello friend!

    My name is Kristen and I work for Feed the Children because I believe in YOU! Though we’ve never met, I want to tell you that I care about you; your health, your safety, your happiness, your heart. I wish I could be there in person to show you how much I care about you and love you.

    But I do have a proposal. Every night, for the rest of my life, I will look up at the moon and think about you. I hope you will join me now and then by looking at the moon with me. That will be OUR connection.

    Much love from Pennsylvania, now and always,
    Kristen

  31. Dearest child,
    You are precious and one of a kind. You are loved and treasured by the God who made you. Life is not always fair, but it’s good, and it’s worth fighting for, so don’t give up! You are special because God loves you, He knows you, and if you call on His Name–Jesus–He will be your friend and your Daddy. He loves you. Just because there are many people around you doesn’t mean you aren’t special. There’s only one you! No one else is just like you. Ask God to show you your own talents and special gifts. Love everyone just the way you want to be loved. Be kind, and forgive others when they hurt you. Remember, they sometimes feel just like you do: they don’t always feel special, either, so remember when they can’t give you the love you want and need, it’s not because you don’t deserve it; it’s because they don’t know how. YOU be loving and show them how because you are special that way. And you are worth of being loved!

  32. Hey,
    I just wanted to let you know that even though we have never met, I think you’re awesome! You matter so much in this world.

  33. Happy Valentine’s Day, friend!
    On this holiday I want to wish and pray all kinds of blessings on your life! I hope God makes his unconditional love obvious in your life. Be a light to those around you and learn to find joy in the little things. Have a happy day and a blessed week!

  34. Dear One,
    On this Valentine’s Day I’m wishing you joy, smiles, and lots of fun. God loves you and has a great plan for YOU! Keep love for Him in your hear.
    Your friend,
    LaRee

  35. Dear friend,
    I know we haven’t met but I just wanted you to know how wonderfully special you are. There are so many unique qualities that make you who you are. I wish I could be there in person to give you a smile and a hug but since I can’t, you should pass the smile and hug on and spread the love that way.
    Sending love your way,
    Hannah

  36. Dear friend,
    I want you to know that there are so many people, including me, thinking of you and praying for you daily. You are so important. Never underestimate the effect you have on the lives of everyone around you. You can do incredible things for he future of this world that we share. All my love,
    Caris

  37. Hello friend!
    I know sometimes life can be really difficult and sometimes it may feel like it’s never going to get better but keep your chin up. There are so many people that love you! You may be wondering, how is that true if they have never met me? Well, my answer is everyone is special in their own way! And we should embrace our uniqueness because that’s what makes us who we are. I love you for who you are!

  38. Happy Valentine’s Day!
    I pray that your life is blessed, that you choose joy, and that you can be a light to others to help them do the same. You are so special, and loved by more people than you can imagine.

  39. Just for you,
    This time of year is focused around love and I want to share I with you. We haven’t met, but that’s okay because I’m sure you are one special person! Keep up all the good that you do and share it with everyone around you. I love you and I hope you have a wonderful day and don’t forget to smile because it’ll brighten your day and others’ as well.

  40. Happy Valentine’s Day!
    At this time in our life I pray that you find happiness and contentment in everything you do. I’m sending extra love and well wishes your way!

  41. Happy Valentine’s Day!
    I pray that you are experiencing God’s love in your life during this holiday season. When you can, give laughter and joy to everyone you come in contact with, and may God bless you with his peace!

  42. Happy Valentine’s Day!
    Roses are red, violets are blue, candy is sweet, and so are you! I pray that this note finds you joyful and content! May God bless you with loving experiences and close friends to share them with!

  43. You are a sweet and kind person! God is using you in great ways and the world is a better place for it! We are so proud of you! We hope today is filled with fun and giggles and silly faces!

  44. We would like yto get involved in this ministry. We currently sponsor three children and the abandon babies project in Kenya. Letter writing to orphans is something our Church could do. Where would we send these letters and who would we address the letters to? Thanks for your time.

  45. If I had the means, I would take you into my arms and you would be my very own child. I love you, and God loves you so much. I think of seeing what you look like – a face full of light, joy, and excitement, your legs running tirelessly as you play tag with other kids, and the giggle threatening to burst from your chest as you excitedly try to avoid being “it”. I wish that your parents were still alive to see you grow , and witness those beautiful moments. I personally wish I could experience them with you, and give you big hugs, and kisses. Someday I would like to have children, and even though I am not married right now, I would love to adopt! I would take you in with much excitement, and anticipation, just wanting to love on you, and spoil you like no one ever has. Because I cannot, I leave you with this letter. You are loved, and one day God in heaven will Himself reveal to you that He is your Father, and that He made you, and you are His. I pray that as you read this letter, you will feel His arms wrapped around you in love along with my arms. God bless you, and once again I love you.
    Hugs and kisses – take care! Have a wonderful life! I love you again 🙂

    • Nana Adwoa Forson,

      Wow, what a beautiful and encouraging letter you wrote. Vibrant and hopeful. It blessed me just to be able to read it. I’m sure God will use it to lift up the child who receives it.

      So, thanks.. that’s all. You have a beautiful, brilliant heart. Keep shining!

      In Christ,
      Kurt

  46. Hi, Sweetie!

    Did you know that God is just CRAZY about YOU!?! God made you for Himself JUST LIKE YOU ARE and he wants to spend time with YOU! You are the apple of His eye! Just think about that! God is wrapping His loving arms around you right now, and no matter what, you can trust Him to be on your side.

    God doesn’t want you just to know ABOUT Him, He wants you to KNOW Him!
    He is your parent, your teacher, your friend, YOUR God and He wants to spend time with YOU!

    I wish I knew you, but I send my love and pray for many blessings for you! Remember, you are NEVER alone!

    Suzanne

  47. Hi, Sweetie!

    Did you know that God is just CRAZY about YOU!?! God made you for Himself JUST LIKE YOU ARE and he wants to spend time with YOU! You are the apple of His eye! Just think about that! God is wrapping His loving arms around you right now, and no matter what, you can trust Him to be on your side.

    God doesn’t want you just to know ABOUT Him, He wants you to KNOW Him! He is your parent, your teacher, your friend, YOUR God and He wants to spend time with YOU!

    I wish I knew you, but I send my love and pray for many blessings for you! Remember, you are NEVER alone!

    Suzanne

  48. Hello Beautiful One!

    I wish you were MY child, that I could be there with you all through your life. We would talk for hours, about everything, the big and small things. You would know that you are not alone. I’d show you all of the beautiful things in life, and help you to learn to grow beyond the troubles you have had. You are important in this world. You have capabilities and talents that are unique to you. No one in this whole world is like you. No one has your thoughts, your smile, or your combination of blessings. You are the only “you”, we have in this world. And you are very, very important.

    Please, take time to learn about yourself. You have so many abilities. What are your talents, how can you make good use of them? Learn the ways of love, God’s ways. Always know, too, that it’s alright to love yourself. Really, you must have love inside yourself in order to be able to share it with others. Most importantly, always look to our amazing, loving Savior, Jesus Christ. Study His ways and learn to follow Him closely. He has the words of life. Sadly, there are many, many hurting and broken people in this world. I was once like that myself – I had a dad growing up but he was very abusive and what he did was horrible and very damaging to me. However, Jesus Christ called me into His family and set me free. I was adopted by God Almighty Himself through Jesus. He healed me, He comforts me and lets me know how very deeply I am loved. He loves us all this way. Sure, there are still some sad memories and some things I experienced that still hurt, but I am free! I have God’s love and it can never be stolen from me. God is a good and loving parent who you can always trust. Ask God to show you, I know He will.

    This letter may be a bit too long, I hope I still have your attention. Because you need to know, you are a beautiful person! You are worthy of this great love of God. You are worthy of good and holy things. You are worthy of all the blessings of God that He will bring into your life. Keep your eyes on Him and keep your heart open. Be ready to receive the gifts He offers. He loves you. I love you, too. Do all you can to love others in life. Be bold and strong, you area child of God! We may never be able to meet face to face here on Earth, but someday we’ll celebrate together as God’s own family in His glorious Kingdom of Heaven. You are unique, beautiful, and worthy beyond what words can express. Look to the Cross and what Jesus did for you there. You ARE loved. You ARE worthy!

    Love in Jesus!
    Kurt

  49. Hi, dear one! Although we have not met, you have a very special place in my heart and in my prayers! You are a wonderful blessing to the world! Please know how beautiful you are inside and out. Lots of love, Aubrey.

  50. You are a masterpiece, created for a purpose. You are special and beautiful. When you hear the birds singing, they are singing a special song of love and joy just for you. You are thought of often. thinking of you makes me smile.

    your friend always,
    Judy

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