We are so quick to fill in the blanks, aren’t we? We get one part of a story, and we use our imagination to complete the rest.
But it’s too simplistic to do that with the care of orphaned children halfway around the world… to see an image and create a tragic narrative, hear a testimony and judge an entire community, read an account of a single incident and make assumptions about an entire system.
We want to have eyes to see the good.
And there is most definitely good to be found. So this month we are sharing stories that exemplify the good. The lovely. The things that remind us that there is always hope.
Join us this month as we share stories of love in the unlikeliest of places.
International China Concern (ICC) has been working in China with abandoned children who have medical disabilities for 24 years. Over the years we have watched many children grow into adulthood, as ICC provides care for as long as each child needs us.
But growing alongside those that stay with us throughout life are those that leave us, those that move on to the care of their adoptive families. I’ve noticed these children too remain ever in the hearts of their caregivers here in China, who fight for them and love them from the day they are placed in their arms, right until the day they are taken to the capital city to meet their forever families, and then fly off overseas.
Luo Mama is one caregiver who has lived this journey with the children she loves many times. Luo Mama has worked in ICC’s Heng Yang project since 2009. From the beginning Luo Mama was placed in the infant and toddlers section of the centre, and there cared for some of our youngest children.
Since her arrival, Luo Mama has cared for around 20 children that are now adopted to their forever families, mostly in the USA. Luo Mama bonds to each and every child and misses them deeply when they leave her. She says, “It breaks my heart when they leave, but I know it is best for their future, I know that they will have their own mummy, daddy, brothers and sisters, and that is best for them, so I am also happy.”
Luo Mama often tells people about a special boy that she loved called Long Li. Li Li has Down syndrome and she cared for him from when he was an infant until he was adopted at the age of three in 2015. Asked why he was her special boy, she says that he had Down syndrome and a heart defect, and he needed a lot of care, so she invested a lot in him, and so she grew such love for him through that time and investment.
Luo Mama talks about Li Li a lot, and often asks if there is news from his family. She hopes that she will see him again one day.
Luo Mama is about as maternal as any lady can be, she loves the kids like her own flesh and blood and we see this every day. Every time a child leaves to be adopted we comfort her as she cries and cries.
Luo Mama also takes pride in her children’s progress and achievements. She will often call us into the children’s home as we walk past to show us one of the children’s new skills, like walking, or feeding themselves. When she talks about them there is so much pride in her voice.
Luo Mama advocates for her children to receive all that they need. One day I saw her advocating to our education department for one of her children to start kindergarten class. She was saying, “She’s so smart, look what she can do, she needs to go to kindy too!”
Luo Mama plays with the children every day, she sits on the mat and plays games. She knows them all inside and out, their personalities, their traits, their likes and their dislikes. She loves them, and they love her.
Just last December a little guy under her care was adopted. Luo Mama cried as Tong Tong left her care for his new family. Tong Tong’s family posted a video recently on Facebook where he talks about the people in China that he loves and misses. Luo Mama is prominent in his thoughts, and gets the biggest mention. Tong’s little friend who was also adopted a few months earlier also talks to his family about Luo Mama.
I believe Luo Mama gave these precious boys a foundation of love that has enabled them to bond to their forever families.
Currently Luo Mama has a couple of babies in her care that she is crazy about. Jun Hong is a boy, and Li Lan a little girl. They both came into her care as infants with different special needs. These little ones will also be adopted in the future. She will have to say goodbye again, and it will be hard, but this Mummy knows her role, and that these children need her love, so she throws her heart into caring and committing to each one.
These little ones are thriving under her care, and we see them changing, developing and growing each and every day as she invests herself in them.
Luo Mama has a mother’s heart. She is a mother who welcomes children into her arms, invests in them intensely for just a few years and then says goodbye, over and over and over again.
She is a mother with great courage, with great love, and one of ICC’s heroes.
Kyla Alexander is a Pediatric Nurse from Australia. Kyla has lived and worked as a self-funded Christian worker in China for over 16 years. Kyla has worked as the China Operations Director for International China Concern for the last six years, overseeing four local projects providing a range of services to over 350 infants, children and young adults with special needs. The projects Kyla oversees provide services for orphaned and abandoned children as well as families with children with special needs with the view of preventing abandonment.