This time I got to be the one to stay home and wish I was there. I have talked to the teams each day by phone, and scribbled pages of notes on all of the beautiful children they met who will need surgeries, on the new orphanages who have requested projects or supplies, and of course I have been oohing and aahing over every photo sent to me of the wonderful children they got to spend time with. That part is always so wonderful. I don’t think most people realize how very hard these trips can be as well though….only sleeping 2-3 hours a night and flying and driving long hours every single day to cover as much ground as possible. Each time I am in China, my friends there say “you must rest, go back and sleep”, but of course we all say the same thing over and over, “I can sleep in America!…there is still too much do!”
I also know all too well what it feels like emotionally to hold a baby with severe heart disease and wonder where the funds are going to come from, or to have orphanage directors make the most unselfish of requests such as “please can we have high quality formula to make our babies as strong as possible”. Oh where is that legendary money tree? As the volunteers called me each day telling me the names of the babies who need to be moved for surgery, I started wondering how I could meet the most recent Powerball winner. I know there have to be so many people in the world who would love to help save the life of a child with severe heart disease, especially when it can be done for “only” $5000. When I talked to our medical director last night, I told her when she got back from China to “please take Saturday off”, and she immediately said, “no way….we have kids to heal.”
I am so grateful to everyone who helps with LWB’s work…from the orphanages to the donors to our amazing volunteers. The four women flying home from China all left their own children and families in order to help change the lives of children. They funded their trips 100% out of their own pockets. In a culture that makes heroes out of celebrities who often make less than ideal choices, I just want to say that we all need to remember that there are heroes all around us. Each and every day there are people working quietly and without any recognition to make sure the lives of children around the world are bettered. It’s not the stuff of Headline News, but it is definitely the stuff of what life is truly about.