Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why bother?

It was spring of 2006 and I was at Dianjiang signing the agreement with the orphanage and government officials to start our Gracie’s Room project. There was a Chinese tv film crew doing a featuree on why “Westerners” come back to do work in orphanages. They taped me meeting the child- the orphan- that our family sponsored in foster care. I held this child and the reporter asked me a question. It was very emotional. I was meeting a child at my daughter’s orphanage who we had received reports on for a year.” Why do you do this?” “ Why do you pay for this child to be in foster care?” “ Why do you care about these orphans?” Remember, in China, “these orphans” are , to most, nobodies.
Why? Simple, boiled down answer? Because I would have given anything for my two girls to have received that care. Anything! If someone had asked me when I was waiting or my child if I would pay monthly for her care to ensure she was getting love and nurturing, that someone was holding her , engaging her, playing with her, loving her…I would not have hesitated. But that didn’t happen. I did not have that chance. Neither of our girls received any special care. No one held them and cherished them. No one fed them a bottle and cuddled them. They did not get what they needed.

I can’t change that for them . I can’t change their past. But I can change someone else’s future. In small ways, very small ways. And that’s why I do it. That is why I volunteer. It’s why I pay out of my own pocket to go to China and check on the program; to talk to the director about what can be done differently and how it can be improved. And it’s why I will continue to do – even in small measures- something to change the future of children, to give them a head start, to show them love…simply because I wish someone had done it for my kids…

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gifts from Friends

 Here it all is. And it’s a lot. Good thing I will be able to pack my simple jeans  and tees to wear to hold babies in one very small suitcase, because I will need big suitcases to pack all of this.

Gifts for the babies. For the children of XinXang. Gifts from friends. People who reached into their hearts and pocketbooks, who looked at our wish list on Amazon and bought one bottle of vitamins. Or six toys Or bottles for kids with cleft lips and palates. Some diaper ornaments. Or bandages for the little girl who drags her foot. Or sleepers. These gifts arriving at my house over several months are gifts that matter.
Because of the way Amazon administers  their wish lists, unless the giver wrote us a note, we never knew who the gift  from. So I want to say now. Thank you. Thank you so much. This means a lot. It means when I travel to China next month, I will be carrying wishes and gifts from so many of you. I will post pictures as we bring these gifts to the orphanage but for now I want to say thank you. Your gifts are an affirmation that what we are doing is worth it. That these children are worth it.  That they matter and that you care.
Again, thank you.  Words fail me. “Xie xie” from these little ones in a room in an orphanage in a small town in China. Thank you.

Moya Smith