How God is Transforming an Overlooked Orphan into a Trophy of Grace
|George Dennehy performing live on Acces Direct, Romania, September 2012|
My adopted son, George Dennehy, who was born without arms, is receiving worldwide attention for his unique ability to sing and play the guitar with his feet to the glory of God. Here is his story.
BeginningsIt began almost 18 years ago in a remote Romanian village. Comolsu Mare isn't significant enough to show up on most Romanian maps. It's a cluster of bungalows and patches of land where small sustenance farmers eek out a living. There are a few shops and churches and a road that leads to bigger places.
|Comolsu Mare Romania, December 1994|
John and Elena Dragan lived here with their three young daughters when the unspeakable happened. Elena gave birth to a long-awaited first son, but the boy had no arms. John the farmer wept and Elena fell into despair as little George with no arms was whisked away by the doctors.
The Dragans faced an impossible situation. If they brought their boy home, he would be shunned by the townsfolk. Handicaps were largely considered a curse from God. And what kind of life would their armless son lead on a small working farm? George was placed in an orphanage in the city of Timisoara and Elena and John went home to piece together the shards of their broken lives.
As George languished in an understaffed orphanage, God was tweaking the hearts of a young couple in the United States, my husband Mike and I. Mike and I and our three children were living a comfortable life in New England, but God's extravagant grace to us was making us restless to serve Him in a more profound way. The black and white, blurred photo of the 3-month old armless boy in Romania led the way. The Bethany Christian Services Newsletter said he was "born with no arms" and "desperately needs a loving home."
|Sharon and George at the orphanage in Timisoara, December 1994|
When word reached John and Elena that a US family was willing to adopt George, panic set in. Why would an American family with three children want their son--a reject, a pariah? Rumors of evil intentions fueled their fear. They decided that only a face to face meeting with these Americans would quell their fears sufficiently to trust Mike and I to take their son away with us for good.
|Mike, Sharon and Erin Dennehy with the Dragan family, December 1994.|
Then the impossible situation shifted to us. How could we convince a mother and a father from a different culture, that speak a different language and that are deeply wounded from the circumstances surrounding their son, that we have good intentions?
I knew that only God could speak a language that we both understood. It was His Word that birthed an understanding between our two families which has spanned 18 years. I knew that George's parents needed to understand what happened to their son was not a cruel accident. That a loving, redeeming God had created George uniquely for a purpose. After reading portions of Psalm 139 which I had highlighted...
13. For you (God) created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well.
15. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16. your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
...Elena put the Bible to her chest and said through discerning tears, "I will hold this close to my heart until I die."
The story continues in a coming installment...