Friday, November 7, 2014
Day 8: Our Last Day at the Orphanage
We were given extra time with the kids this morning! Yay! Originally we were supposed to do a party, gift exchange and meeting with the staff this morning, but they decided to push it back to the afternoon and let us hang with the kids this morning. We are so grateful for the extra time we were given to spend with the kids. We got to do the exercises with the kids one last time. This had to be one of my favorite activities all week. I wish I could have a copy of the music they played. After exercises, I spent time in a room with the toddlers and played with “little bit”, the three year old with Down syndrome, whom I adore! I was in my special little guy’s room for feeding, but he went down for a nap, so I didn’t get to play with him or hold him today. He was so sweet while he slept. Like a little angel! At lunch we were given a list of kids with pictures and information—date of birth, medical condition, etc. of the kids that are “paper ready”. We had requested this so that we can make sure to advocate for the kids on this list. My little guy wasn’t on there. We asked about him and the assistant director told us that they think “he is not very good--no one would want to adopt him.” It broke my heart and took all I had not to cry. One of my teammates spoke up and told her that there are families who would be willing to adopt a child with these kinds of delays and that with the right therapies, he could thrive. She told her that he was my favorites and that I loved him. I could not speak because I was fighting back tears. All I could do was nod to agree. She agreed to start preparing the paperwork on him today and thanked us for loving him so much. Perhaps this was my purpose in coming on this trip? To advocate for this child who would not be known if I hadn’t fallen in love with him. Now I pray that the right family for him steps up. I admit, I was beginning to think that Todd and I were supposed to be the ones to adopt him. I prayed about it all evening and cried! I told God that if he wanted me to do this, I would, but that he would probably have to do some work convincing Todd. Shortly after this prayer, I felt a sense of peace and a release from this responsibility. After today, I believe that my role may have just been to love him enough so the staff at the orphanage could see that he was worthy of love, too and convince them to put him on "the list." (Although, technically, Lyn ultimately convinced them, I was too sappy to speak!) After lunch, we met with several of the nannies and staff. They repeatedly expressed their gratitude to us for visiting the orphanage and for loving on the children. They also told us that we were the most beautiful group that’s visited (I’m sure they tell everyone that!) I tell you what, if you need a self-esteem boost, come to China. All week they talked about how beautiful we are and everywhere we’ve been people want to take their pictures with us. We feel like celebrities here! We also expressed our gratitude to them for allowing us into their home and letting us take pictures of the children so we can share their stories and hopefully help find a forever family for them. They then presented us with gifts. They gave us each a tea set and some local tea to take home (the evening before the assistant director gave us a lesson in making tea and shared with us some of the culture on tea in China. It was very interesting!). And remember the craft we did with the older kids a couple of days ago? They put the child’s picture in the center of the flower, framed the picture, and presented that to us as a gift to take home. We were so touched by the gifts! We also presented them with the gifts we brought for them. It’s so hard to believe that today was our last day at the orphanage. I’m going to miss those kids and will think about them often. I will wonder if my little guy is being held. I will wonder if any of the kids have found homes yet. I will continue to pray for them and advocate for them as much as I can. We head back to Beijing tomorrow. Then back to the US on Sunday. I have so enjoyed my time here, with the kids and in getting to know the other team members. I have a feeling China may see me again one day…another mission trip? An adoption? I don’t know. Only time will tell!