Monday, November 3, 2014
Day 4: Meet the Kids!
I was going to post last night, but was so tired, so I went to bed early. I knew I'd be up at 3 or 4 anyway, so figured I'd just post then. It's 4 in the morning on Tuesday here as I type this. Yesterday, we met the kids! Wow! It's really hard to put into words. Overwhelming, to say the least. I don't have any pictures to post because we have a designate photographer, Kim. She is blogging, too, so I highly recommend you visit her blog. Also, another team member and her 13 year old daughter are blogging. Here are links to their blogs. Kim's blog is here Lyn's blog is here Why am up so early??? I haven't been able to sleep past 4 since I've been here. But I'm managing. It's definitely God's strength that's holding me up, because I feel fine during the day. I do hit a wall at about 7 though. Luckily we are able to just be in our rooms and rest after our devotional meeting each night. I figured since I can't sleep right now, I might as well be productive and update the blog. There's so much to tell, so this may be long! Yesterday was lots of fun, meeting the kids. When we arrived, the older kids were exercising outside and they invited us to join in. It was so cute and fun. The nannies led a little exercise routine and then we had a relay race. The big kids really participated well. Several of those kids have Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and some other disabilities that weren't so identifiable. But they all had such BIG personalities. They were so excited to see us, waving, smiling, and saying "hello" in English! After exercising, we were given a little tour of a part of the orphanage and then broke into groups and went into our individual rooms to play with the kids. The first room, I was in is where I met the little guy I talk about below. He's already a favorite. When playtime was over, we went to different rooms and helped feed the toddlers and older babies lunch. After they ate, we were escorted to another room and fed another huge meal at the orphanage. It was all food that the area is "famous" for. After lunch, we went back to the hotel for a rest, while everyone at the orphanage napped. Did you know that the Chinese take naps in the afternoon for about 2 hours--all of them, not just the kids? This is a tradition I think I could get used to. Although, of course I wasn't able to sleep. Too much excitement from the first morning with the kids. That afternoon, when we returned the kids and staff had prepared a few little performances for us to welcome us! It was the CUTEST thing ever!! Then, we were asked to perform! YIKES! We quickly decided to sing children's songs with gestures--Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes and Wheels on the Bus. We also invited the children up to participate. It was lots of fun and I think they enjoyed it. The rest of the afternoon was spent playing with the kids and again helping to feed them dinner. We ate dinner at the orphanage again last night. The Chinese are such gracious hosts! I woke up at 3:00 this morning thinking about the children we met yesterday, specifically this one little guy, he’s probably about a year old. Hoping I could play with him again tomorrow. I believe he’s pretty low on the list of kids that they deem to be “adoptable”. He has a severe cleft lip/palate and Down syndrome and pretty much sat in a chair with no interaction (other than the attention I gave him). Psalm 139:14 popped into my head as I thought about him. I think I will tell him that he "is fearfully and wonderfully made" tomorrow and then next day and every day I am there and pray that he understands. Then Audio Adrenaline’s song “kings and queens” popped into my head, next. If you don’t know it, click here to hear it. Its a beautiful song. I heard if for the first time a couple of weeks ago and downloaded it immediately. I knew the words were about these children we were going to be meeting. As I laid here and thought about these words and how this little boy (and all of these children) is truly “one of the least of these” (Matthew 25:40), I started to cry. I believe God has just broken my heart for him and all of these kids. I feel so helpless because I’m only here for a few days. But "I know my God won't let them be defeated". I have to believe that and pray that our team and the teams to follow can advocate for these children so that they can find families. They need to be held, talked to, played with every day! They need mommies and daddies. They need to know they are LOVED by Jesus and worthy of love! At dinner last night, we had a deep conversation with the director of adoption at the orphanage, which she initiated. She asked many questions about why Americans want to adopt from China and especially why they would adopt a child with special needs. Wouldn’t be a burden? Wouldn’t it be difficult? Would they want to send the children back? And then the big question…Does it have to do with religion? We have to be careful what we say about religion here, but were told if asked directly at the orphanage that we could answer with discretion. She was trying to understand why so many Americans adopt and told us that the Chinese don't because in their culture there is "high expectation" from the children and they want their children to be perfect. Two of the women on the team have adopted children from China, both have one child with cleft lip/palate and could answer the questions from a personal point of view. She was very pleased with our answers and appeared to be amazed at our willingness to love these children. I believe it was also helpful that she was able to see pictures of the two families with the adopted children. She was happy to see that "they look so healthy and happy". I pray that we can help them understand that these children are wanted and are adoptable despite their disabilities and that people who are open to adopting a child with special needs see past the disability and instead see their abilities and the fact that they are God's children, whom he created and loves so very much. "I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works and my soul knows it very well."(Psalm 149:14) "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40) "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height for the Lord has rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7) Please continue to pray for the team. Pray for SLEEP! Pray for us to continue to remain healthy. Pray for these children!