Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Another chance to help

We have broken all the rules of what you are "supposed" to do when returning home with an adopted child, and we are currently at the beach with my family for a week of vacation.  Luckily, Vivian is enjoying herself and having fun hanging out with and getting to know her cousins and aunts and uncles.  Many pictures will be coming soon!

I had to do this post because I have some very exciting and important news to share.  As many of you know, Rob and I were heartbroken by our trip to Vivian's orphanage.  In the van ride home from our visit, I remember vowing to myself that I would NOT forget those who we were leaving behind.  While in China, I heard from a friend of mine who was there adopting that an adoption agency is the U.S. was partnering with Vivian's orphanage to try and help them. I was so excited to hear this!  When agencies partner with orphanages, everyone benefits. The first morning I woke  up when we got home from China, I emailed this adoption agency (A Helping Hand Adoption Agency) to find out what I could about this partnership.  I was able to connect with a contact person at the agency who had been to visit Vivian's orphanage!! Since we were not allowed inside, I was so excited to make contact with someone who had been allowed in.

I  asked the contact person at this agency what her impressions of the orphanage were, and this is what she told me about her visit:

"They didn’t appear to do much “snuggling” or interaction with the children, mostly a caretaking business-like approach.   I was so happy to see that you had taken toys.  In the rooms I visited (which were where the cribs were located) I did not see any toys, .. NONE, which broke my heart." 

It is clear to us from observing Vivian that she was not exposed to many (if any) toys/dolls.  She did not have the first clue how to play with a baby doll when we first gave her one.  It is also clear to us from her flat head and back that she spent A LOT of time in her crib.  She walks more like a child learning to walk than a typical 3 year old and we don't think she was taken outside to play much, if at all.  We did not observe any children's playground equipment when we were there, either. When we took her to the park for the first time, she was scared of the swing and did not know what to do on a slide.  She does not have any words, either, and we can only imagine she was not talked TO much.  This is the reality of orphanage life.

This orphanage needs our help.  The kids inside need our help.  I ask you to please, please (pretty please!) consider a donation to this agency to help them.  No amount is too small.  I am including the link to the donate page below, and here you will find more information on what they intend to do with the money they raise.  It would make me so happy if, by posting this link on my blog, I could help them raise this money.  I don't think people realize that it takes money and resources for orphanages to file adoption papers on children, and without those things they just can't participate in domestic or international adoption.

Driving away from Vivian's orphanage was was of the saddest moments of my life.  Of course we were so happy to be leaving with Vivian, but in that moment I was so sad for the children inside and mostly thinking of those who I know will never be adopted, and will never know the love of a mom and a dad.  The reality is that there is just no way all these kids will be adopted.  BUT, my hope is that more of these precious children will have the chance to have a family.  At one point during our visit to the orphanage, our guide was called back in to take the picture of two little girls whose adoption papers the orphanage hopes to prepare soon.  We were told to stay in the van because evidently, these two little girls were Vivian's best friends, and they didn't want her to see them and get upset.  Our guide shared their pictures with us.  When I look at these pictures, I see something so very familiar.  It is not the black hair or the beautiful black eyes I recognize. It is the sadness.  It is the look of a child that is simply surviving, not thriving.  It is the look of a child that has no idea what it is like to be adored.  If my words do not move you, I hope their faces will:

I know those eyes.  I have seen them first hand.  I know that lost, lonely look because I saw it when I met my daughter

And I have witnessed how that look can change.  I have seen what love can do.  Even in 3 short weeks

I realize not everyone is called to adopt a child.  But, I do believe we are all called to help the weak and vulnerable in our world.  I would love it if you would consider a donation to do just that for these children who hold such a special place in our hearts.  If you are interested, here is the link to donate to this orphanage through A Helping Hand Adoption Agency:


Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

-Proverbs 31:8-9

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  1. I've been following your journey as our family prepares our own China adoption (we are about one month away from being DTC). Thank you so much for sharing this! I just donated! I am also helping to organize our church's Orphan Sunday, and have been looking for practical ways that people can help if they are not able to adopt. This would be perfect! I'll be sharing!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this with your family and friends. I realize you probably have a heart for the agencies you worked with through your adoption, but I thank you so much for reaching out to A Helping Hand Adoption Agency once you realized that we had recently developed a partnership with Vivian's Orphanage. This is the first time our small agency has had an opportunity to do this and we are thrilled at the possibilty of making a difference. For those wanting to know more about the legitimacy of our agency, they can visit www.ahelpinghandadoption.org.
    Thanks again!

  3. so much to type but cannot see through my tears right now. Kelly

  4. Oh sister...you are speaking my language! Those precious eyes haunt me every day of my life. It is always amazing to see what love can do!