Tuesday, May 25, 2010

One of these children could be yours

When I initially looked at just the names, ages and special needs list of the kids we were assigned for our Hope Journey camp, I had the feeling that these kids would be difficult to place. Those names, ages and special needs, I'm afraid, are what most people are still seeing. But when I went to China and met these kids, they were so much more than that! These are happy, capable and adorable kiddos!

I met Mark who has hydrocephalus and is the cutest, smartest and most talented little boy! I just wanted to scoop him up in my arms. He was certainly not affected by his special need, swinging his hips, dancing and spinning to the music.

I also met Jimmy, who is another smart and talented boy with facial paralysis. Sometimes I noticed it, but most of the time he seemed like a regular boy. He is another talented dancer and a close friend of Mark's. He, too, was very confident swinging his hips on stage.

I met Lisa and was amazed that she has cerebral palsy, because she is such a talented, capable and outgoing little girl. It may take her a little longer to learn, but she is determined and that gets her far in life! She was motivated to memorize a poem and recited it by herself for the performance. I watched her throughout the camp and continued to be amazed by her confidence and happy personality. She picked up on things just as quick as all of the other children.

I met Sam who has a limb difference and is a happy, outgoing and confident little boy! He's adorable and affectionate and compensates for his special need quite well. He loves to be held, but is fine walking, too, and participated in the activities with all of the other kids. Sam has a lot of potential and just needs a family to help him reach it.

I met Anna who is a sweet, outgoing little girl who always has a smile on her face and makes the most of every moment. She is reported to have developmental delays, but she is certainly not unintelligent! She is affectionate and fun-loving and gets along very well with all of the other children.

I met Cherry, who is a very smart and sensitive girl and a good artist. Cherry is a proud girl and was in quite a few performances in beautiful costumes. She has lots of friends and I can't tell you how many people I've heard from who have adopted children from Bao an that were good friends with Cherry! It's Cherry's turn--her family must be out there!

I met Peter and it wasn't evident that he was deaf until the interview at the end--he moved to the music quite well! Peter is a magnificent performer and was given a solo in the Lion Dance, which he deserved! He is a happy, confident boy who is very friendly. Peter will go far in his life!

I met Quentin, who was outgoing and sweet from the start! He liked to practice his limited English and never missed an opportunity to pose for a photo. Quentin wants a family, and that was evident just from his actions at the camp. He is also multi-talented and a very smart and sensitive boy. He made up and recited a beautiful poem all about spring. He also played an African drum beautifully.

Harold is a shy boy who played the cucurbit flute beautifully! He participated in all of the activities, but was reserved. His cheeks turned bright red when he was given a big hug by Barack Obama's half brother who was there. He is modest, but I think the right family could draw him out of his shell.

Shawn is an orphanage favorite. All of the nannies enjoy taking him home and giving him lots of attention! His special need doesn't affect his daily life and he is adorable and well loved. He is one of the youngest in our group of kids this time. I had no idea he was any different than any other 3 year old! He's quite responsive and knows his body parts and colors and can follow directions. He had a good time with the beach ball!

It's very difficult for me to put into words the experience we had with these children. We didn't see special needs. We saw normal boys and girls who were great performers and good at having fun! They were well behaved, friendly and it tugs at my heart to know that we haven't found their families yet. Such impressive children could only be more so with the unconditional love of a family with them. That's security that they do not have as orphans in China.

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