1. In what context are you involved with orphan care?
Since 2009 I have had the privilege to work with an orphan-care facility in Beijing. New Day Foster Home provides life to orphans from all over China who otherwise wouldn't survive, and it's been an incredible experience. At first my role at the foster home was working one-on-one with children to help them develop and thrive, however in 2010 I was given the opportunity to run the foster home's social network and begin to work more with our sickest, most critical little ones. I would spend half of my day taking pictures, writing stories and responding to e-mails and the other half in our Critical Care Unit working with the nannies to keep the babies stable and comfortable. July, 2013, my family and I moved up North to Inner Mongolia where we are starting New Day North. My role in this stage is communication with orphanages, weekly trips to local orphanages, translating for trainings, assessments of the children's developmental and nutritional status and a whole lot of other small things.
2. In your current context, what do you see as the biggest need?
In one of my first orphanage visits a few years ago I was struck with the lack of "enough" in orphanages. I saw food, warmth, comfort, love and care... but not enough. This realization has stuck with me as I work with other orphanages, help to spread the word about orphans in China, and advocate for children's medical care or adoption need. There is just not "enough." Not enough people know about the little ones waiting over the ocean in cribs lined up against the wall. Not enough families are willing to take a leap of faith and begin the paperwork to bring an unknown child home. Not enough of us will sacrifice financially, with our time or our energy to really make The Fatherless a priority.
If each of us were to tell just one more person about orphans, adoption, the needs or the, often small and do-able, ways that we can be involved, so much more could happen and so many more children would know life and the love of a family.
Just one? In all of the orphanages that I have visited there were more boys than girls. This is a shock, because our history and experience with orphans in China is that they are all girls. Nope! Also, the effects of living in an orphanage are huge on most children. They have suffered many things that cannot completely be resolved in a few weeks of one-on-one love and care. I'm currently watching a few children in an orphanage that we visit regularly act more and more institutionalized each week. This shouldn't scare families from adopting, but should inspire them to get the kids out as soon as possible. Don't let a child wait one more day. They can heal. Their broken hearts can be stitched together, just don't be in ignorance that there will be a seam.
I would hope that most churches have an adoption support group. If not, start one. If so, get involved.
Don't just advocate for adoption and support parents through the process... be there AFTER the airport. Piles of paperwork and approvals and funds are overwhelming, but it's nothing compared to bringing home a sad and scared child who needs to learn