Sara and I left very early this morning to drive out to the orphanage. It was pouring rain, a complete downpour, and of course we forgot our umbrella. But we didn’t let that stop us.
When we got there, a young boy came running out and immediately started pulling on our arms, dragging with all his might to who knows where. He was non-verbal and we are still not even sure if he could hear/understand us when we talked to him. We found the office and dropped off some donations that we brought of snacks and toothbrushes and toothpaste (thanks to Tonka Smiles of Minnetonka, MN!), then went on to find the kids.
Since our last visit, they have moved to a new building. It is beautiful, and very big, with shiny floors and clean walls. But the precious kids are all the same—same smiles, same eyes, same wonderment at anyone who will come and visit them. We came bearing gifts, coloring books and crayons, chalk (who cares that it was raining, they just used it inside), lots of stickers, bubbles, and snacks. The first five minutes were a mad rush for the goodies—that was fine, we were prepared. We encouraged the older ones to share the stickers around with all of children, no matter if they could walk or talk or even see. We showed them how the bubbles worked... that was a big hit. These new long bubble wands they make now makes it easy for the kids to blow or wave the wand to produce bubbles. Brilliant! One down syndrome boy dedicated his morning to coloring the entire Spiderman book, another girl insisted on being held by either Sara or I every moment, and yet another boy made sure that all the kids in the room experienced the bubble blowing at least once (he was so sweet).
There are so many stories from the day. But the sweetest part was meeting with the director. We took her to lunch and Sara talked with her (in Chinese) in detail about HS and what we want to do. Essentially Sara summed it up like this: “It’s a done deal, she wants to work with us. She said, ‘We need you.’ I asked if we could advocate for her kids even before we open HS, she said yes. She even said she would get us a list of names of the ones whose adoption papers are ready.” As you can imagine, Sara and I definitely had a few moments of freaking out right then. I was able to talk with her a little bit in Chinese, and she seemed impressed by that which was also awesome. All in all, we think she likes us. And that makes us very happy!
After lunch, we returned to the orphanage. We brought ice cream and decided to break out the facepaint. They loved that—what kid doesn’t? I can’t tell you how many butterflies and flowers I painted on their hands this afternoon… I lost count. They began bringing me fresh water for my paintbrush every five minutes just so I would keep going. It got to the point where they were washing it off their hands so they could get new ones. A few broke out of the butterflies and flowers trend and asked for a snake, or a tiger, or a bunny. The boy who claimed the Spiderman coloring book asked for Spiderman.
They are precious. It really just comes down to this: they need families. No matter what kind of help and resources and facility they have, we know that children are intended to be part of a family. These kids have such little exposure to the world; they barely even know what they are missing out on.
We are going back next Saturday with a few other friends we know in Chengdu. When Sara asked a few of the kids what they wanted us to bring them, the resounding conclusion was: CHIPS!
…I think we can manage that.