the boys i never had

Long before I ever birthed a child, I used to imagine I’d have about five or six of them someday. And I can’t remember exactly, but I don’t think there were many (if any) little girls in my imaginary future brood. I’ve always been a tomboy, not a girly girl, and before I started hanging out exclusively with my hub-a-dubs, I had way more guy friends than girl ones.

It seemed only fitting that God would give me boys. But what the heck do I know about what’s fitting for my life? (my prophetic track record is dismal)

I am pleased to announce that he made the absolute most perfect choice by giving me three beautiful (but not-too-girly–thank you, Jesus!) GIRLS. I couldn’t imagine life without them. And I couldn’t imagine them as anything but girls.

But I’ve still got a special place in my heart for little boys, even if there aren’t any in my home on a daily basis. And hanging out at the Boys’ Center while we were in Cambodia? Super-tiring and absolutely awesome.

I can’t show you their gorgeous faces, because sadly, nauseatingly, horrifically, there are pedophiles on the internet prowling around this very minute looking for some precious little boys to devour. There are men who’ve succumbed to the devil’s sickest form of evil perversion, preying on innocent children and using and abusing their sweet little bodies in search of satisfying some unquenchable, unimaginable bloodthirst.

And then there are those who, in their twisted, screwed-up minds, have realized there is money and power to be had just by capitalizing on other people’s ghastly, perverted lusts.

And selling humans–many of them just babies, really–becomes as commonplace as selling fruits and vegetables.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia is just one of the many, many hotbeds of this unspeakable horror.  A place where men from all parts of the globe can come in relative obscurity with relative ease and spend very little money to make their wicked fantasies–and these children’s worst nightmares–come true.

I wish I were exaggerating, friends. I wish I was just playing the drama card and cuing the sad music, so I could massage your vulnerable heartstrings and get you to pull out your credit card and donate hundreds of dollars URGENTLY and IMMEDIATELY to some little pet cause of mine.

But I don’t want your money. Not yet anyway. I just want you to picture these boys’ faces in your mind. (And come on over to my house anytime, and I’ll show you a thousand pictures of their precious smiles.) And I want you to imagine what it would be like if your little boy (or a little boy you love very dearly) was living in poverty and barely scraping by and maybe selling recycled bottles to earn money for his family and then getting sold some night to a foreigner to do whatever he wants with him.

Imagine his physical pain as his little body endures things his Creator never, ever intended for him to endure. Imagine the emotional pain, the shame, the confusion, the devastation. Imagine this happening to him once, or many, many, many times.

Then imagine if there was something we could do to stop this. Imagine if there were glimmers of hope in the midst of this crippling darkness. Imagine if God’s love were big enough to stamp out evil, so that innocence and beauty and justice could thrive.

God’s love IS big enough, friends. And there IS hope. And you can absolutely be a real, vital part of it. And I can’t wait to tell you more.

20 thoughts on “the boys i never had

  1. Pingback: Marla Taviano » loaves and fishes

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  3. Yalonda

    Good morning.

    I have some commitments already for Saturday, but please let me know time and place. Hopefully I can make it.

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  6. valerie (in TX)

    Marla. I don’t even know what to say as I sit here trying to hold back tears.

    “Imagine what it would be like if your little boy….” I can’t. My son is 8 and it horrifies me and rips my heart in millions of pieces to even begin to imagine the horrors these precious boys have faced. Thank you for being a voice for them, and for helping us know how we can be too.

  7. Holly B.

    Love hearing about your passion to bring justice and Jesus to these little guys! Can’t wait to hear how we can help, friend!

  8. John McCollum


    It’s pretty depressing to check the search queries that lead people to the Asia’s Hope site. In the past month, people reached our site by first searching for:

    – Cambodia boy prostitute pictures
    – little boys bathing
    – little girls swimming
    – Thai prostitute videos
    – finding under age prostitutes in Phnom Penh
    – child rape pictures
    – young hookers Battambang

    …and many others, some too disturbing to post on your site. It’s important to remember that we’re fighting a war here, and that there are other forces working to exploit every child we’re trying to rescue and redeem.

    Thanks for being such a passionate advocate for kids at risk. They need our funds, our prayers and our voices.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Oh, gosh. Now my stomach hurts even worse. Thank YOU for all you do for these kids. I’m madly in love with them, and I’m 100% convinced that God wants me to give the rest of my life to help bring them hope and healing and justice and Jesus.

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