The third place we worked while in China was at on orphanage. We were told ahead of time that the conditions were not very good and at that it would be hard to handle. And they were. But this was one of those experiences that nothing could have prepared us for. And just for reference, this orphanage was located in a single apartment, where 29 children from about 3 weeks to 13 years lived, and they all had a disability or health problem. As we stepped off the elevator onto the sixth floor of the apartment building, where the orphanage was located, the smell of urine and old food was overwhelming. There were bags of trash laying in the hallway and a crowded drying rack of onesies, split pants, and little shirts in the corner. As soon as we entered the apartment a child immediately grabbed our hands or held up their arms to be picked up, which we did, all the while trying to take in how cramped and dirty things were. And honestly, for about the first hour or so that we were there, I just wanted to leave. I love kids, but I don't know if I've ever felt more uncomfortable. It smelled bad, the children were dirty, and emotionally, it was just a lot to take in. I wanted to help, but didn't really know what to do or where to begin. One of the helpers had handed out cookies and the girl I was with couldn't help but have it all over her face and hands, so I cleaned her up. Then I asked for a brush and tried my best to get all the tangles out and pull her hair back from here face so it wouldn't get stuck in the snot constantly running from her nose. My insides were being torn in so many different directions. I was trying to do all these things without getting too much food or snot on myself, and then I'd feel so guilty for being so concerned about it. I didn't want to get dirty and feel gross for a few hours, when here was a nine year old girl who couldn't walk or talk and spent most of her time lying on a hard wood floor.
Some time later it was time for them to eat, which consisted of cups or bowls of instant milk. I was handed a bowl and pointed towards a girl in a wheelchair to feed. Every other spoon full or so she spewed back out, usually on my face or neck. One of the workers told me that she spit when she was happy, because she couldn't really talk. Knowing that made getting spit on a little easier to handle. Later there was an older boy who was getting really rowdy and needed to be corraled and I was trying to figure out how when I spotted a deck of cards. I pulled him aside and just started dealing the cards out between the two of us, and then showed him how to take turns putting the cards back down on the table one-by-one, and he loved it! We did that for another thirty minutes until it was time for us to leave, which was a bit if a relief that first day.
Our second and third trips to the orphanage were much easier to handle. I think mainly because we knew what to expect. Leaving on the last day though was so hard. We walked out of those doors knowing we would probably never see these precious little children that had stolen our hearts again. But more than that, not knowing what the future held for them, but knowing many were bleak. Would they have the surgeries they needed? Would they be adopted? We didn't know and probably never will. It was these experiences and thoughts that taught me a lot about faith. I know that the Lord loves these children more than we do and He holds their lives in His hands. Their position in life doesn't make sense to me, but I am so thankful that I can trust the Lord and his sovereignty. But even still, say a prayer for these adorable little ones!
|Megan and Ting Ting|
|Jessica taught her Miss Mary Mack|
|Tiffani and my card playing buddy.|
|William and Jessie|
|Me feeding Amanda|