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Set ‘em straight!

December 27th, 2011

Ok-my apologies to anyone who has been checking here for a couple weeks without a new post to find!  Thanks for the interest–and wanting to keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

A few days ago, Stephen sat down next to me in the tv room and said, “Kristaps kind of hurt my feelings tonight.”

“Really?” I responded, “How did he do that?”

Stephen explained, “He told me that I need to show you more respect.”

I smiled on the inside. “That’s interesting,” I said before asking, “and what do you think about that?”

Stephen quickly blurted, “I need to set him straight!”

“About what?” I probed.

“Well, he doesn’t know what it’s like for me to have parents on me all the time, giving me consequences, and checking on me!” Stephen announced.  I quickly giggled inside, knowing Stephen had no awarness of the irony in what he said–setting another teen straight on the horrors of having parents that care for him–especially if that other teenager is an orphan! 

Taking another approach, I simply added:  “You’re right, Stephen, he hasn’t known for the last six years what it is like to have parents guiding him and giving him consequences to teach him about life–perhaps with less harsh consequences than the world itself would dole out.  On the other hand, I am not sure he would agree with you that you have a rough life having us as your parents.” Stephen walked away with nothing else to add to the conversation . . . I have yet to circle back around to him about that conversation.

Perspective is simply dynamic.  Honestly, that is a big part of the reason I have not blogged since almost two weeks ago–my perspective has been changing a lot.  Oftentimes, I cannot keep up with the changes–the learnings–the resulting wonder.  You know, I don’t diminish Stephen one bit for using the phrase, “set ‘em straight.”  I mean, it’s human nature to think we are in the same corner with truth, and we, in turn are doing others a favor when “help” bring them into that corner.

So many perspectives come to mind from just these last two weeks, I don’t know where to go to give an example!  I guess an obvious one would be our response to the word “orphan.”  After spending a lot more time with Kristaps and Samanta, this is no longer THE defining monacher for them in my mind.  As such, I have been hesitant to catalogue our experiences with their visit here, because many of you may have come to this site out of a natural curosity about their story, and our experiences with them, being orphans.  Honestly, I have come to see their story, up til now, as theirs’ to tell if they choose to.  I mean, they’re parentless! From that, I think much of the backdrop of their circumstance is understood.

But what I can tell you is that many of the facets of their lives we were told simply aren’t true!  Those, I want to set straight.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think New Horizons was lying to us because when they have to have some training or an orientation to this experience, they are doing so for orphanages that stretch across Russia and its previous repuplics.  So, what is true in one orphanage in Ukraine obviously might not be true in another in Latvia, just as orphanages across the U.S. provide different experiences.  So I don’t mean this as a slam on the organization at all.

That said, you might appreciate the humor in the scene the first night when Julie and I were in the bathroom with our two weary, non-English speaking (or not fluent anyway), travelers explaining with hand language that we DO have hot water and they CAN (oh wonderous day) flush the toilet paper down the toilet! . . . .  Let’s just say that they have grown to have a favorite phrase here to add to many things we say . . . “And?”

I am coming to wonder if this is a polite way of saying , “Duh!” The truth for them is that they do have many modern amenities in Latvia, and they do not have, contrary to what we were told, a lingering belief that we Americans like to lure them here to sleep in our beds so that we can kill them for their organs!

I will continue in another post–look for Set ‘em straight–in Faith!


  1. Tammy
    December 27th, 2011 at 02:17 | #1

    Curtis, glad to see you blogged again, have been curious how your Christmas season is going. Glad to hear things are well and loved the conversation between you and Stephen…thought that was priceless, a true teenagers perspective. Looking forward to hearing more.

  2. December 28th, 2011 at 04:33 | #2

    Welcome back, my friend! It is hard work to blog your own story. Interesting how different this experience is than what you expected. I love the way you put it when you said that their story is theirs to tell if they choose to. That’s one of the hardest parts of blogging to me… telling my story without infringing on others stories. Way to go!

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