Several months ago, my daughter, Katya*, and I Skyped with her grandmother in Ukraine. Katya is my seventh child. She came to us by way of adoption eight years ago. Stories of her childhood are fractured and mysterious. She recalls shadows and wisps that are as hard to catch as smoke that trails out the chimney and circles the pines before disappearing on the breeze.
But this day when we Skyped, Katya had a plan. Through our interpreter, Katya asked her grandmother about these wisps, about a cat that loved to sit in the window, about a playground where she loved to spin, and about the time that she caught the curtains on fire.
The fire was Katya’s fault. Katya had been playing with matches and was fascinated when a tendril of smoke turned to flame. The apartment was old and it wouldn’t take much for the whole tenement to become an incinerator.
Katya’s grandmother rushed in, and a neighbor rushed over, and Katya backed up as her neighbor grabbed for water and her grandmother grabbed the burning curtains with her hands. And by God's grace, the fire was squelched.
That was years ago, but Katya has carried the guilt of this story all this time.
On that day that we Skyped with her grandmother, Katya drew up the courage to ask her about this story.
Katya’s grandmother told the story of that day and how she saw the flames, and called the neighbor, and grabbed the curtains with her hands. And as she told it, she smiled and showed Katya the scars on her hands. For her, the scars were not reminders of a little girl's disobedience, but of God's goodness.
And Katya said, “Grandmother, I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me?”
A story singed with guilt and shame had become a story washed in forgiveness and grace. Stories heal.
With RiverCross, we know that stories heal. So we use stories to equip, train, and create environments where caregivers and children can disclose and discuss the painful things they have experienced, and then journey together toward the healing, wholeness, and hope that only Christ can bring. According to Mary Ann Phiri, Program Manager with Every Orphan's Hope, our approach has the potential to change orphan care for good.
Over these next days and weeks, you'll be seeing and hearing more about RiverCross through social media, via email, and through other opportunities that are still developing. We'll be sharing about our unique approach, and our upcoming initiative, Jabota Bridge. Would you pray about your involvement?
*Katya has not only given her permission to share this story but is delighted to share it.