We confirmed every stereo type of fat Americans as we pushed a cart to the check out line of the grocery store filled with 30 bags of snickers, 30 bags of peanuts, watermelon seeds, sweet rice cakes, and instant coffee. You should have heard the comments! And they didn’t even see how many oranges hubby bought at the market!
We confused and mystified the other shoppers and we also confused the nannies and workers at the orphanage who weren’t sure just what to make of us when we arrived gift bags in hand. As we passed out the treat bags today, the comments were of a vastly different nature. We often had to repeat ourselves explaining that we were giving them a gift….just to wish them a happy new year…just to make working today feel a bit better….just to give us a chance to love them and share with them a greater love. (OK granted, I might have had to repeat myself a few times due to faulty Chinese. Full disclosure!)
I would love nothing more then to have an earth shattering story to share with you as a result of today.
Not earth shattering, but as the nannies looked me in the eyes smiled and asked me to make sure I didn’t miss giving a bag to the worker at the end of the hall. That felt huge.
When I walked into the kitchen and our kids gave bags to the cooks and they made a big deal over meeting my family – that felt huge.
When we were invited into the room of one of my students to share snacks and tea with his roommates, it was a moment that took me beyond being a teacher – that felt huge.
I wave at the gate guard every time I come and go from the orphanage. After giving him his bag today, he waved back. Huge.
I am not sure how to explain the door that has been flung open. For reasons beyond myself, I have been given permission not only to teach art classes, but also to have full access to the orphanage (well, except for the infant room. More on that in a different post.) Full access just doesn’t happen. I am able to come and go, play with the children, pop into different rooms, and give attention to whatever child I feel led to love on that day. I then help feed dinner to the older disabled children to finish off my time. It is weird to have a foreigner walking around helping and loving kids. The other workers don’t know what to do with me. Today I hope they can understand me a bit more.
A smile from a nanny, a question about my family, and a wave from the guard….they all feel like huge steps toward the goal of deeper relationships and built trust.
One step at a time.
I love knowing it will make a difference – in me and hopefully to those around me.
On a family note:
I didn’t take one picture today. Can you believe that? Little Man handed out bags that were almost the size of him….it was adorable, but you will have to just pretend you can picture it! I am sure the memories we made today as a family will stick with us with or without photos.
Had a friend question me last week about taking all four of our kids to help. Surely taking two adopted children back to an orphanage would be painful and might cause some meltdowns. We considered that and in the end decided to pr@y hard and take the risk.
Loving others and reaching out isn’t always safe, easy and without pain. If my time at the orphanage hasn’t taught me anything else, it has taught me that. To be honest, I could say that about adoption too.
All four kids did great.
Actually the introvert of our crew, Soccer Dude, was the one I thought would have a “moment” when a child latched on to him. He turned and wrapped the child in a big bear hug and smiled. Serving today took him out of his comfort zone, but I would say that loving the kids at the orphanage will make a difference in Soccer Dude’s life and then in turn make a difference in the lives of others as well.
So maybe not earth shattering, but today was huge…in many ways.