Running Through China: Thoughts Before Boarding
The bags are full to brimming with medical supplies and baby vitamins; we’ve got bubbles and matchbox cars and necklaces and stickers; and just like on my adoption trips…..I have a million different thoughts and emotions running through my mind as I prepare to board the plane to China for our week-long visit with many of the people involved with LWB.
Every time I return, I discover the ability of the human heart to both swell with happiness and yet break with sorrow. I cannot wait to see the babies in our healing homes who have beaten every odd and who are now thriving and healthy. I get to see baby Emilio, who came so close to not making it, and little Farrell, who was severely burned but who found the strength to pull through. I get to see the beautiful children in our cleft homes who came to us so vulnerable and who are now chubby, happy babies completely loved. I get to have dinner with one of our education students who is now in dental school and give hugs to some of the children whose parents are counting down the days until they are united through adoption. True joys – and reminders that when people come together to help, beautiful things can happen.
But I will also meet with many children on this trip who weigh on our hearts each day: children on the shared list whose files remain unchosen, whose aunties ask us again and again, “Isn’t there a family who would want them?” One orphanage director is driving five hours to meet with us and bring a little boy we helped with retinoblastoma. He sadly lost both eyes in his treatment – but his aunties love him so much and want him to have a better life through adoption. They are hoping that if we meet with him, we can then find a family who will realize what a beautiful son he would be. We are meeting with many children whose medical needs are so complex, and dozens of children who are aging out of the system and who will need real encouragement to live on their own. Difficult decisions will be made on this trip, and I am praying for the wisdom and clarity to know how to help each child in the best way.
This week, my kids have hugged me tightly and asked me not to go, even though they realize I must. They understand that there are thousands of children around the world who have never known what it means to be loved completely like they are. And so the trip begins. If only for a moment while we are with the children in their orphanages, I hope we can show them how special we think they are. May the right decisions be made. May every child who truly needs us cross our path. May we all realize yet again that it is in fully opening our hearts that the miraculous can happen. Thank you for joining with us in these hopes and for making our programs possible. Until every child knows love — our work together continues.
Amy Eldridge is the Executive Director of Love Without Boundaries.