Restored Hope

October 25, 2010 Chinese Culture, guest post, Katherine, orphanage realities 0 Comments

Guest contributor Katherine is back this month. She is currently working as a teacher in China, and also has the unique opportunity to spend time volunteering at a local orphanage. Katherine blogs over at Life of a Pilgrim and, though not an adoptive mother, she has invaluable (and profound) insights into life in China.

I’m going to be frank with you. It’s been hard for me to go to the orphanage this year. I don’t know why this has been the case more so this year than any year before, but it honestly just hurts to go. There is so much brokenness there that I can’t fix. And the grief of it all is just sometimes overwhelming. Even worse, there’s a part of me that just wants to turn away. Turn away from the dirty sticky fingers, turn away from the snotty faces, turn away from the stench of wet pants, turn away from the guttural sounds of those who can’t form words. And I hate the part in me that cringes and wants to turn away. I know if I look, I must act. And acting is sometimes tough.

The other emotion that I’ve been struggling with this fall is just a questioning lack of hope. Somedays it’s hard to see how there could ever be a hope and a plan for a future in those halls. I just don’t see the slightest seed of redemption. Yes, for some kids, adoption lingers ever nearer. But what about the ones left behind? The ones who can’t speak? The ones whose minds are far from this place? The ones who can’t control their bodily functions? Where is their hope? Where is their future? Trite and pat answers just won’t do.

Due to the above emotions, a few events of the past two weeks, streaming in bright rays of hope, have left me at times fighting back tears. The first was a Chinese couple, who came and lingered for hours falling in love with a little boy. Their adoration was written clearly all over their faces as they each took turns holding this precious baby. If all goes according to plan, this little boy will be whisked into a loving home sooner than later. To see Chinese couples opening their hearts to adoption is something that encourages me to no end.

While the couple cradled this infant in the nursery, another momentous occasion was happening across the hall. About fifty primary school students, with parent chaperones, had arrived at the orphanage. This is the first time that I’ve seen primary aged kids come to visit. It was sheer mayhem and chaos for the forty or so minutes they were there. But those little eyes were able to see a part of society that is too often hid away. And more than one defender of the orphan may just have been won during that time.

The following week, the brother and sister group from our campus showed up to love on the kids. They played, they hugged, they taught and they loved. And it was a beautiful sight to behold. Students coming of their own initiative.

And then there’s Stella. My beloved Stella, whose heart has most definitely been broken for the orphan. This girl is going to be a mover and a shaker wherever she ends up, and has leader written all over her giftings and personality. She’s decided to start her own campus organization that will see to the kids in the orphanage getting first rate tutoring by college students for free each week. This will not just be one time eye opening visits, but rather a commitment to investing in the future of these children. She has a vision, and she’s determined to see it fulfilled. As I type this, she’s at the orphanage discussing the details with the director. Her dream is to get the organization off and running, and to find another student by the end of the year to take over leadership once she graduates. The idea, initiative, plan? Comes all from her.

And then there was hope. Beautiful blooming hope.

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