A Beautiful Transformation
This is my third straight year of attending kindergarten graduation ceremonies. I know exactly which bleacher has the best view and which parking lot is easiest to pull out of in the after-graduation chaos. But this year while the principal reads the names of all the kindergartners, my thoughts will drift back to China, where my youngest daughter’s story began .
Julie spent her first 3 years in an orphanage. When she first came home to Texas , she had a fresh buzz haircut. She could say “Mama” in English, count to 10 in Cantonese, and had decided that ice cream was a wonderful thing. Other than that, we had a long way to go. Speaking English, figuring out how to live in a family and understanding what siblings are all about. Learning that some things belong to you and some to me. Learning that our cat will not eat her after all. Learning that it’s a mama’s job to kiss and make it better. These concepts were not part of her world yet.
Fast forward almost 3 years to today. She’s now spent half her life in Texas . Her hair is long and shiny. She loves Hannah Montana. My little girl who was so solemn in her referral photos is now the biggest goof-ball. Every day she brings home drawings that say “I love my family” or have little stick figures labeled “Mommy and Julie”.
What a beautiful transformation. My daughter is why I absolutely love volunteering for Love Without Boundaries. I know there are so many children who are living in orphanages across China. Many of these children have special needs requiring medical treatment. I love being able to help them heal and to give them hope. It’s truly exciting when we can repair a child’s wide cleft lip, or transform a toddler with bluish skin into a child with a healthy heart and a new future.
And the best part is that not only are they healed, but they now have a better chance of finding their forever families.
So when I smile proudly at Julie’s graduation this week, I’ll think not only of her story, but also of all the other children still waiting to come home. I’m very thankful for all of LWB’s friends whose support allows us to give so many of these children HOPE, HEALING, and a bright new FUTURE.
Laura Baldwin is the Medical Program Director for Love Without Boundaries. She lives in Texas with her three children – Elise (Vietnam), Grace (Vietnam) and Julie (Guangdong, China).