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Criticism = I’m so glad you’re here?

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I mean, I’m not just speaking of average criticism.  This is like criticism about anything having to do with your personality or looks, and then turns into hitting you or slapping you or _______________.

And, it’s the way most of our kids at camp, this week at least, are showing that they care and are so glad that the team members from Sweden came.

I know, it doesn’t makes sense – does it?  But it’s true.  It’s not okay that they do this, but it’s what they’re doing this week.  I am tired of translating for the kids because I see the discouragement when the team members hear what the kids are saying.  I feel bad, as if I am the one saying it.  Translating can be a rough road sometimes!

Here’s one, very short, example from today.

“M” walks up near the team member she is closest to.  Right off the bat :

“Want to fight me?”


“Let’s fight.”

How about we have a hug instead? (Said with a laugh.)

“No!  Let’s fight.  Right now.”

No, no.

“Want me to kick your a** right now.”

(Side note – to say this in Romanian, you actually say “Want me to give you the tea?”  HA HA!  Sorry, I had to learn this phrase today b/c I didn’t know it when I heard it.  Still makes me laugh even now…)

Well, I don’t want to fight.  Sorry.

At this point I started trying to joke around with “M” saying  – ohhh you’d better watch out b/c there is a hug coming your way pretty soon.  Thankfully it got her off her track of tearing this team member down, for that few minutes at least.  “M” has hit, slapped, complained, whined, moaned, swore these 3 days straight – all in an effort to tear this team member down.  Why?  She does it because it’s the only way she knows how to respond to someone sincerely caring for her, and giving her attention without asking for something back – or forcing something back.  She is so unaccustomed to anyone showing her love, that comes without a price, that all she can do is respond by trying to destroy that person.  She wants to avoid the hurt and pain of this person leaving.  She thinks she is doing herself good but her actions are self-destructive.  The only way she will ever be able to hold a job, have her own place to live, be able to function around other people is if she can begin to TRUST people.  She is so scared of someone being close to her, someone trusting in her and her trusting them that all she can do is….hurt them?  It’s true, completely heart breaking, but true.  The actions of her birth parents were so damaging to her, along with an institutionalized childhood, that anyone who comes near to her reminds her of the pain.  We don’t want to deal with pain.  We want to avoid it.  So, this is her way of avoiding it – by hurting the one closest to her.  So, in a way it’s a compliment.  In a way, it’s progress.  Her out of line actions and words show us that she cares for this team member…a lot… that she’s glad they came and that she has rarely had a male figure in her life that hasn’t taken advantage of her before.  It’s just so backwards, isn’t it?

The thing is this, she’s not the only one.  So many of these kids are doing the same thing with the other team members.

“I wish you hadn’t come this year.”

“Would’ve been better if the team from 3 summers ago had come.”

“It was better at the other camps.”

“Why are we so few here anyway?  This sucks.”

Yeah, these comments in and of themselves aren’t “so bad.”  But when you have 6 teenage guys and 4 teenage girls that are moaning at the same time – repeating them – laced with “Go to Hell” and “Satan this and that” in between the phrases almost EVERY HOUR of the day.  Well, it’s draining on the translators and EXTREMELY discouraging for the team.

Before heading to the pool this afternoon we had a talk with the kids about being able to say things that they LIKE about camp, not just the things they DON’T like.  I was impressed that a few of them came forward, straight off, and said some things they liked.  Simple things, but all together positive things.  We really needed that.

I think it’s impossible to come to camp, be with these kids, and not have an emotional breakdown at some point.  When I’m at the camp itself I feel that I have to be strong and put together so that everything runs smoothly with the kids, translators, teams running the camps etc…  I can’t breakdown because that’s not an option.  So, instead, I have my crying times after I come home each night.   Seeing how broken these kids are and feeling so little in being able to help them in any way shape or form.  Well, it humbles you before the throne of God and it can make you cry…a lot.  Or, maybe I should just refer to myself. 🙂  Anyhow, forgot the pool toys and headed back to the camp facilities to grab them.  Walking in I saw someone having their moment…  She and I were able to talk for a while.  Although our hearts may separated by land, during the year, they definitely come together at camp.  Such sorrow for the kids, such struggle with how we are to respond and be there for them, such sadness over the legalism in the churches of this country and how that binds the kids from being free in Christ.

It’s a lot to process – camp ministry with these children.  You know what’s great, though?  Not being by yourself to process it…having a team of people who are all pretty much going through the same deal heart/mind – wise.  I am so thankful to not be alone with these kids just now.  It’s been a very long December-Now.  There were more times than I wish to admit that I fell before the Lord, completely unable to get up, telling Him I couldn’t make it until summer.

I just can’t go there anymore Jesus…I can’t be by myself there anymore to the orphanage.

By the grace of God I have made it and I am SO FULL OF JOY to have these teams here this summer alongside me, and the others who are coming to help with camp.  Seriously.  So Thankful.



One response »

  1. We continue to find your posts insightful. They keep us praying. I have almost finished my professional counseling degree and have a keen interest in RAD. I have been to two seminars in the past couple of months dealing with Reactive Attachment Disorder and in both cases they use Romanian orphans as examples. It took our daughter 5 years to attach, but it is was so worth it. Now she just wants hugs and kisses all the time. We are making up for lost time. Thank you for your effort, God is using you.


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