Orphan Survival Stories Index |
MY NAME IS JH-14
I had just sat down in the recliner to watch the Abrams Report when I heard a knock on the door. Opening the door I saw a young man standing there staring at me.
"Are you Mr. Rogers?" he asked.
"No son, my name is Kiser. Roger Kiser," I told him.
"I'm JH-14 and I'm looking for Mr. Rogers," he said, in a quiet tone.
"I'm sorry you must have the wrong house."
I watched him turn around and walk away. He had a very sad look on his face. He walked looking only at the ground; his shoulders slumped forward as if it were the end of the world.
I walked back inside and closed the front door.
"JH-14," I said aloud.
'I have heard that somewhere before,' I thought.
Like a ton of bricks it hit me, almost taking my breath away. I ran into my office and began throwing books right and left onto the floor. Finally reaching what I was looking for I began to thumb through the pages, as fast as I could.
"There it is JH-14."
I fell to my knees and began looking for another small book. Within several seconds I had found what I was looking for. I turned the pages so fast that several were almost torn out of the booklet.
"JH, JH, JH. There it is!" I yelled.
"JH-14, Jonathon Harrell," the name read.
I ran to the front door and saw the young man getting into a small red car.
"Jonathon Harrell," I screamed.
Suddenly the boy stopped, turned around and looked at me.
I walked as fast as I could toward him. As I reached him I said, "Thank you for not forgetting me."
"That's what I said to you when you came to the orphanage with my gifts," he replied.
"I know," I said smiling back at him.
"None of the kids at school, who have parents, have a fossil watch this good and expensive," he said, holding up his arm to show me the gift one of the Heartwarmer members had bought him when we gave the orphanage children a Christmas in July Party several years earlier.
We talked for about ten minutes. He told me he was moving to Arizona with some of his friends. The car horn blew letting us know that they were ready to go.
"Son, your name is no longer JH-14. I want you to remember that, okay? My name was 6918LC for many years. It took me almost 40 years to learn that my name was really Roger Kiser."
"Thank you, Mr. Rogers."
I walked him to the car telling him there were many people who helped buy his gifts. I let him know that every single one of them cares about him and all the other children in the orphanage.
"Can you thank them for me?" he said, as he slid into the back seat of the car.
"They already know but I will tell them again, I promise, Jonathon."
There in the back seat was the basketball, fishing rod, tackle box and the clothing that were purchased for him at the Christmas in July party. I knew, from my days in the orphanage, that this was all in the world that he owned.
As they backed out of my driveway I stared at Jonathon's face. His eyes were sunk in and deep in the sockets. I knew it would take him many years to get over never having been loved. He was now free to make a life for himself and to make choices on his own.
No one seems to realize the damage orphanages do to children in the long run. They are fed, clothed, housed and educated in a very good manner. The problems begin when they leave the orphanage. They head out into the world to make a life for themselves. But the only life they know how to make, for their spouse and children, is what they have been taught; that being a life of total control and total incarceration. No one raised in a normal family setting would stand for, or understand that type of life. That is why so many orphans are married five or six times before they reach the age of forty.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I watched them drive away. Jonathon has a very hard road to travel and much to learn about loving.
I can tell you this from experience: That young man will never hurt, or harm another human being because of the kindness shown to him by the Heartwarmer family. Most of you have no idea what was accomplished that day at the orphanage. For many of you it was just a party helping kids less fortunate than ourselves. To me, myself raised in an orphanage, it was saving a life and possibly the lives of many others in the future.