Questions…and an Answer
My cleft trip summary was supposed to be submitted right after Maureen Brogan’s beautiful post, but to be honest, I didn’t have it in me. I needed a breather as I felt both emotionally and physically raw after returning, and trying to sum up the week I witnessed in China with a few clever sentences seemed trite and disingenuous. I wrote earlier that these trips were hard, but I had no idea. I came back to the US changed. No epiphanies, but the world looked and felt different, and the problem was that I couldn’t articulate why, either to myself or others. Until tonight.
My family and I live in a beautiful little town just north of San Francisco. Tonight was Outdoor Family Movie Night at the kids’ school, and when we arrived about 100 kids were sprinting around the field, doing their best to stay warm as a thick wall of fog descended over the ridge and the temperature dropped to where you could almost see your breath. Laughter was echoing in the valley, and as darkness brought in the night, children ran back to find where their parents had laid claim to a sliver of real estate with blankets and folding chairs. I was lying on my side, and my daughter came and sat on my legs, using them as a makeshift chair to view the movie. As the screen lit up, I saw the side of her face excited for the start of a movie. I looked around and realized that I was surrounded by moms, dads, and children, all smiling and laughing. And it occurred to me: this kind of scene is unimaginable to the kids I had met in the hospital a few short weeks ago. And the question that appears so naturally is…Why? Why do some children experience pain and sadness early on and have no one to comfort them? More generically and perhaps a bit cliché, why do bad things happen to good people?
But what came into my mind next, and what I want to share with you, is that the Why doesn’t matter. Life and the world are complex and, in my opinion, questions like that will never be answered satisfactorily. What does matter is what occurred in China that week: the solution. The solution was months of preparation by dozens of volunteers all over the world. The solution was the doctors and their teams that travelled over 5,000 miles volunteering their time, money, and expertise so they could make a difference. The solution was dedicated LWB employees, one in tears from the stress of bringing almost 50 children from all over the country so they could land in an operating room at a specific date and time.
So the Why question is irrelevant. But there is another Why question that can be answered. It just relates to the solution rather than the problem. Why? So that these children get their opportunity to be held, loved, and cared for by their OWN mom and dad. That they will have the chance to be sitting on their own dad’s legs to get a better view of the movie on Outdoor Family Movie night. And that it’s not an unimaginable fairytale for them. It’s part of their life.
I’m wondering whether it’s coincidence that this happened on the night before Mother’s Day. It does give me a great opportunity to thank everyone, especially mothers, who made this trip possible. There are hundreds of you who gave your money, time, and dedication. On behalf of Love Without Boundaries, I thank you all. My request on this Mother’s Day is that you help us do it again. The need is there, and together we can continue to be a part of the solution. And for those of you that are thinking that adoption might be the right choice for your family, there are some wonderful kids looking forward to their very own Outdoor Family Movie Night.
~Chris Ingoldsby, LWB Board Member