Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Injustice of Teri Lynn

For those of you who are not familiar with the five-year-old orphan, Teri Lynn, you can read the account on my wife's blog HERE.  Your heart will break, but it will also be filled with a righteous indignation that will drive you to pray for this desperate tiny soul!  Below are two photos.  The one on the left was taken a few short months ago at her orphanage in Eastern Europe.  The one on the right shows the same girl in a government institution, where she lives life among adults, many of whom have mental issues.  We are all waiting for a third photo that someday her forever family will take!

Deuteronomy 10:18
He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 24:17
“You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.

Deuteronomy 27:19
‘Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.

Isaiah 10:2 So as to deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of My people of their rights, so that widows may be their spoil and that they may plunder the orphans.

Jeremiah 22:3
Thus says the LORD, “ Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

Six passages.  Six places in the Bible where God uses the word “orphan” with “justice.” 

What kind of justice is due an orphan?

It’s not difficult to figure out, even in the 21st century.  And one can tell just by looking at a photo.

Usually adoptive parents are so excited to show before-and-after shots of their adopted child.  But those exhibit an oppressed child in a foreign orphanage versus the same child in a loving home with their forever family.

This before-and-after pic is of a different sort.  Here, the orphanage shot is the better one.  Sad.  Because if Teri Lynn had stayed in her orphanage, and a couple flew to her to bring her home, then that shot would make people say with wonder, “Look how bad she looked while in the orphanage.”

But one cannot fathom how there can be a photo even worse than that.  One in which there’s not only a hollowness in the eyes, but a hopelessness surrounding the entire image—an image showing bruising and a shaved head.

When we see images like that, we think of Auschwitz or Dachau.  But at least those children were often with their parents.

I get impatient when I read comments from adoption websites, no less, showing peoples’ disdain for those like me who paint the bleak picture of realities like this. 

“Oh, give me a break!” they say.  “That guy’s exaggerating.  They’re not all like that!”

Maybe not, but there are too many.  If there was one institution like that, isn’t that one too many?

These are the same people who’ve never been on a plane and seen foreign orphanages, even ones that are in supposedly “developed” countries.  Decent on the outside, maybe, but a hellhole on the inside.


Every day.

Teri Lynn, your family awaits you.  Some man and woman are getting impatient too.  But their impatience is rooted in bringing you not only your forever family, but your justice!

Hang on, sweetheart.  Help is on the way.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I blogged about Terri Lynn yesterday, thanks to Adeye's post, but this just broke my heart again. Because I have heard the same statements about things being "not so bad." And your last line in this post just tore my heart out. Her family MUST be out there.

  2. Oh my heart! I can't wait to see how the Lord rescues this precious one like only He can! Thank you for bringing her story out into the light so we can all donate and pray.

  3. Patti, thank you so much for commenting and for posting about Teri-Lynn. I'm with you. I believe with all my heart that her family is out there. God is stirring their hearts even as we speak!

    Elle, you are so right. Donate and pray. That's what it takes. Isn't it excited to wait for her family to come into the light and say, Yes, that's my daughter! We'll go get her?!

  4. wonderful post! I just shared in on facebook! i am thrilled at waht is happenning with terri lynns fund and semd you and adeye much love xxx

  5. oh oh oh...
    it is true, places like that exist. when i was 18, i visited an orphanage for the mentally handicapped kids in romania. it was unbelievable. soul crushing. thirteen years later the memories still haunt me.
    thank you for sharing her story! Jesus has not forgotten terri lynn!

  6. Thank you for your input, Cari. We need to continue praying that God mobilizes His people to revolutionize this pandemic with His impact!

  7. This has broken my heart in two. It's difficult but necessary to open our eyes to how the rest of God's children are having to live...

    Poor little baby. I will be praying for her.

  8. Tears and prayers are with Teri Lynn, patience and waiting are so difficult. I am awaiting emails from the Australian governement, we do not have a Hague convention agreement with Russia.... if only we did. I pray He brings an amazing family. Blessings to you all xx

  9. Anthony, I had a reader today ask me why we are not educating these institutions as to how to treat these children. I have no idea how that could be done in the first place, given the fact that these are Eastern Europen nations; but don't you think the problem is not lack of education, but a problem of sin? I have a very hard time believing that anyone with a working conscience could watch a little girl deteriorate like Teri Lynn and not know it was wrong. I would love for you to blog sometime about why it is so important to preach the gospel...and how the cure for humanity is Jesus, not education. Curious your thoughts?

  10. Patti, sounds like you just did it yourself--tell people why it's important to preach the gospel. If I don't want to learn something through education, I won't. The problem is internal. A change of the depravity condition is what's needed. Jesus did all that.

  11. Anthony - y'all are going to need to learn to let the comments of the unenlightened roll off your back - it's just too stressful otherwise.

    We know first hand the condition in many places - some are wonderful - others worse than bleak.

    There are those that will say if it happens to one it's tragic....

    I'm moved to disagree - if it happens to one it's and atrocity - and if it's within our power to address and correct that in any way - well - that's the obligation due by a Christian.

    just sayin' -


  12. Well said, Aus. But I must say, Adéye and I don't find it "stressful" when we read those comments. Rather, it spurns us on to educate even more. When I get impatient, it's only because I want to educate MORE! And with people like you involved in this cause, the task is getting done. Thank you!

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this! I can attest to the fact that there are institutions all over Eastern Europe and the world just like the one that Teri Lynn is now in. I spent time serving in one such institution in Romania just last year.

    My heart aches for Teri Lynn and all children like her! I thank God that He not only allows our hears to ache for the injustice in our world, but He calls us to action! TO open our pocketbooks, our hearts and homes, to pray, to give, and to go! What blessings are found in obedience!

    There is no excuse for children to have to merely exist such conditions. Just as there is no excuse for us as Christians NOT to take action!

    For me personally, Teri Lynn's story has fanned the fire of passion that has been burning in my heart for the past 11 years. A fire that has burned past physical limitations and sent me blazing the trail to do justice for orphans dispute, and perhaps because of the fact that I have Spastic Cerebral Palsy and walk with 2 canes.

    As I bow my head in prayer for Teri Lynn, I am also asking God to help my unbelief and provide the funds needed for me to return to Romania this coming October- to meet the needs of more orphans who desperately need to know their Heavenly Father's love. Indeed nothing and no amount of money is too hard for Him!

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and God's heart on this subject of justice for the orphans!

    God Bless You,

    Melissa Melvin

  14. Melissa, I can't tell you how touched I am that the Lord has stirred your heart into action, in spite of your own health trials. Bless your heart, and I pray that more people will be motivated by your example! We'll be praying for you and keep in touch.

  15. Has a family come forward for her? I know this is a late comment. Please let me know. This breaks my heart like every story does but only more so in a gut wrenching way. I will be praying for her.

  16. We wll know the ideal situation be be for her to be adopted...but that aside, why was a child that young placed in a facility for adults? There are plenty of facilities in EE for children that are disabled. Even after they agee out of the detsky dom.



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