Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hope in Orphan Care

At the beginning of this month, I had the incredible opportunity to go to Maria's Big House of Hope in Luoyang, China.

Maria's Big House of Hope, for those who don't know, is a special care center that cares for special needs orphans under the age of five.

Having already been to Peru, and absolutely loved it, I was curious to see how China would compare.

We arrived at Maria's late a night, and so we couldn't play with the children. I took the elevator up to the sixth floor with the rest of my teammates, marveling that the other five floors were filled with special needs orphans being taken care of as they should be taken care of.

I woke up at 5:30 the next morning and went to play with the kids before breakfast. I remember feelings as if I was in a dream. The sun shone through the windows, illuminating the gorgeous paintings and the sheer joy of the place.

I took the elevator down to the first floor and stood outside a room for quite some time. I was nervous to go in, though I couldn't explain why. Maybe I was afraid I'd meet another Carmencita, and that it would hurt too much. Maybe I just didn't want to interrupt the nannies' schedules.

But as I was standing outside, worrying about going in the room, a little boy wheeled past me in a wheelchair. His nanny stood behind him. To my surprise, he stopped outside the door of the room I was standing in front of. He must live in that room. He looked at me for a minute, and then waved his hands for me to come in. "C'mere," he said.

I stood in shock. This little boy had just spoken to me. In English. "C'mere, c'mere, c'mere."

So I followed him into the room, where he immediately had me unbuckle him from his wheelchair and threw his arms around my neck.

After going from room to room that morning, and seeing the precious smiles of the special needs kids at Maria's, I went to breakfast with the rest of team. I told our leader,

"I feel like I'm in heaven. It's five floors of special needs orphans being taken care of. Five floors of special needs orphans that I can show love to for eight straight days."

The only part of the trip that wasn't incredible was that I got sick. About three days into being at Maria's, I started to go South. Then I was completely down for about two days - congestion, coughing so hard I couldn't breathe well, crazy sore throat. By the time I was well enough to play with the kids (with a surgical mask on) it was our last day. God taught me even through sickness, though.

After going to Maria's, I know without a shadow of a doubt that my calling is to care for special needs orphans. There is absolutely no question about it. Maria's Big House of Hope lived up to it's name. It gave me incredible hope in orphan care, but at the same time, it made me realize how hard hope is. Because I realized that Carmencita, my precious baby from Peru, would never be taken care of like this. That millions of orphans all around the world would never get the care that these kids did.

But then I thought, who says? Who says that those kids can't get the same care? Who says that special needs orphans can't be well taken care of? Who says that there can't be Big Houses of Hope everywhere?

While I didn't love China, the country, I did love the orphans there. With everything in me. And I can't wait to see where God calls me next.

And, because Caleb always does a slideshow for everything, I thought I'd do the same this time!

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