Each time I go I want to come back and convey to everyone just what we saw and experienced.
But my words just don't do it.
The pictures just don't do it.
It is just hard "to get"
It changes you deep inside.
I feel happy to be back home in the comforts of America.
But I feel sad too.
People that have touched my soul still live there across the world.
In a place where comforts are few and far between.
Several of the babies had been adopted, were getting adopted or their paperwork was ready for adoption in mid June.
My buddies Ben and Charlie were doing well and even cuter than last year.
I so wanted to sneak Charlie home in my suitcase.
I am praying they find families quickly.
There were several new babies too and that is always sad to see.
This year was particularly hard for me.
The big kids were just out of control and hard to manage and that just gave me such an empty feeling.
A feeling of hopelessness.
Two children that were there last year had died.
One of them was my friend Chee (or wheel chair guy)
My heart broke.
This kid frightened me last year when I first saw him.
He was skin and bones all curled up on a wooden bench with hollow eyes and a solemn face.
He had sores everywhere.
He had retreated into himself and would not even look at anyone.
He had recently been released from the hospital into the care of the orphanage.
Criminal really that a child would be released looking like he did.
We tried hard to reach out to him.
By the end of the trip my friend was smiling and even laughed a few times when bubbles hit his face or the wind blew on his face as we raced around the orphanage driveway in his wheelchair.
He would look me in the eye and tell me which way to push his chair and sometimes...he would smile at me.
He died last December.
Alone I am sure.
Did anybody care that he passed from this earth?
Did anybody shed a tear?
Does anybody miss him?
I am so thankful that I spent time with him.
I am so thankful that maybe for just a few short days his life had a few small moments of happiness.
I missed him and his smile sitting quietly in his chair.
And it made me deeply sad.
Maybe I can't convey all that is felt while being there or the impact it has.
Maybe that is ok.
Maybe that is not the purpose of these trips.
Do I go for the kids?
Or the Nannies?
To help change their lives in some small way?
Or do I go for my life to be changed?
I am not sure.
And I am not sure I will go back next year.
I am hoping God will guide that choice.
It was just really hard this year.
And I felt really tired and really hopeless.
I will leave you with some pictures of my time in China.
And the faces of my friends that have changed my life forever.
I hope in some small way it might touch your heart.
If it does, please say a prayer for them.
The Hong Kong part of the trip is more of a vacation.
Julia and I did a ferry ride across to Kowloon and then visited Stanley Market.
On the return trip we shopped!
We love Hong Kong!!
Then it was across the border and on to Chenzhou China.
Nathan has a family coming to get him soon!
The lovely clean river we walk by everyday
Ray, the sweetest boy ever!
Collin who has down syndrome and is 15 and has aged out. He can not be adopted now.
He is one of my favorites.
Drawing with chalk outside.
We try to take them out when we are there because we don't think they ever get outside.
Silas who needs to be adopted. He was dropped off at the orphanage before we got there last year.
Daisy who also has down syndrome and is quite bright.
This adorable little girl ,Ella, had a seizure while we were there. It was so sad.
Drew, who sadly got his name because he drools a lot.
Lola who is blind
This obviously premature baby was brought in by the police while we were there. Look how tiny.
Tyson, bless his heart, a precious little guy.
These 2 are "pot sitters". They sit on these pots all day everyday against the wall in a very depressing room filled with other kids like this.
Rose and John,who is blind, also sit, or lay, in this room.
This is Sky. We are not sure what is wrong with her. She has been there for years.
Mikey, who also had a seizure while we were there.
This bright and healthy 12 year old has a sad story of divorce then death of the parent that wanted her only then to live with her grandmother who also died. Now she calls the orphanage home. She desperately needs a family. She is smart, talented, funny and takes care of the little ones.
Along the route to the orphanage
Anybody want a little meat? Just sitting out on a slab in the heat.
Or perhaps chicken or duck??
Fish is also available
Or these lovely kabobs cooking on the street
This cutie has a family coming this summer for him
Megan. A heart baby that was so blue.
Saying goodbye to one of our favorite nannies, Liz.
The baby room
Charlie! Isn't he too cute???
My buddy Ben also adorable. He learned to walk while we were there!!!
Julia loved Megan!
Chee's wheelchair sitting empty in the corner.
Trying the bubbles
And his smile I will never forget.
May you be in the arms of Jesus whole and healed my sweet friend.