This trip has been a whole lot of being able to do things we’ve never been able to do before. That openness towards us that allowed us to take pictures and videos from the start, teach a workshop to the staff about making connections and building relationships with children, complete forms on every baby in the four rooms where team members have served, and interview foster parents has been a privilege that we have not taken lightly. In all of that, there has been another open door, one we were not at all expecting but one that proved to be one of the most significant experiences of the trip.
The director asked us to provide some training to their “kung fu” therapists (aka physical and occupational therapists) given that we had 2 PTs and an OT on our team. We were led to the front building on campus, what used to be the building where our teams served before they moved into the beautiful new building in the back where we are now. We learned that there is much going on in that old building still, and what’s going on is nothing short of amazing. In that space that used to be filled with orphans are families. In tact families from all over the city come with their handicapped children to receive therapy. Since they may be traveling very far distances from the countryside even to get the help their child needs, they come for 15 days at a time, sleeping there where the orphans once slept and receiving therapy daily–speech, aqua therapy, massage, PT, and OT. Then, they go home with homework to keep the momentum of therapy going and return again 15 days later until the therapists are pleased with progress and release them to allow another family a spot.
I watched our team members come alongside their team members, encouraging, giving suggestions, asking to learn from them. And, I watched the women and children, some mothers with their beloved sons and daughters and some grandmothers who now care for grandchildren day in and day out, and could not help but look around me and feel like I was right where I should be, watching something miraculous happen.
Orphan care starts right here, friends. It starts with all of us joining efforts to support families. It starts with people who care who may not even speak the same language working together to give families what they need so that they are best set up to climb the hurdles in front of them. Orphan care must include doing all we can for family preservation.
Orphan care begins right here, where we are.