Saturday, November 17, 2012

30 Days; 30 Posts: Adoption...My Time at the Orphanage

Not only have I been blessed to live in China, I’ve been blessed with the unique opportunity to volunteer at one of the local orphanages, which are now referred to as Social Welfare Institutes (SWI).  I sought out this volunteering opportunity because this is the only time in my life that I will be able to help these children on a regular basis.

It is such a privilege to love on the babies before their forever families come! I also consider it a privilege to to spend time with the children who will remain in the SWI (yes, there are many kids who live until they are teenagers at the SWIs and then “age out” of the system.)   For reasons I don’t understand yet some children are never put on the “waiting child” list to be adopted.  

When I first started volunteering, I went once a week for a few hours in the morning.    Now, I am working more on special projects and have recently become a co-coordinator for the volunteer group.  I am also in charge of putting together the monthly newsletter, which is something I love doing!

Out of respect for the SWI, the staff, and the children, the volunteers are pretty private about their time at the SWI.  But, I think it is okay to share my general feelings about volunteering there.  Going to the facility gives me a similar feeling as when I was working full-time as a speech-language pathologist -- too many children and not enough time.  As I did at school, my motto is to do the best you can with the time and resources you are given.

I have been so impressed with the devoted team of volunteers.  They participate in fundraisers year-round and work with other local philanthropic groups to provide disposable diapers for all the babies, outfit an activity room with toys and music, take the older children on outings and field trips, arrange and pay for surgeries, organize an annual Christmas party, and, what I think is so amazing, pay for full-time physical therapy for the children who need it!

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
Chinese Proverb

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