Read about Lauren and Lisa's work in China

Our First Day at the Jiamusi Children’s Home: May 25, 2009

We were so excited to get to meet the children! When we arrived we were welcomed by six of the sweetest preschoolers who could not have been more precious. They were eager to talk and play with us and I was touched by how quickly they trusted us enough to sit on our laps.

I was instantly struck by the selflessness of the caregivers – we had presented them with chocolates upon our arrival and they reserved all of them for the children. So after getting to know the children over a chocolate snack, they were in full play mode. At first we played together with toys but in no time at all they were happy to crawl into our laps and even dance with us.

The children were evenly split by gender – 3 boys and 3 girls. We learned that most of the children were living with slight intellectual or physical disabilities but they received high-quality care to address their needs. Children who had needed surgeries were given them at a young age and physical therapy specialists helped with motor skill development. Despite their different abilities they played well together and with us.

The children were fun-loving and also responsible. They were sure to always throw away their trash and rearrange their toys when finished. The older kids watched out for the smallest girl and held her hand to walk her to the bathroom. It was truly touching.

May 26, 2009

Today we were welcomed by eight beautiful babies! For the rest of our time we will rotate between working with the infants we met today and the preschoolers we met yesterday. The babies were also equally split by gender and many had special needs. One of the older babies had already received corrective surgery for clef palate and is doing very well.

While all of the children’s needs were met, the low caregiver-to-child-ratio (1:8) unfortunately made it hard for each child to be held enough and receive enough personal attention. Therefore we strove to give as much attention as possible to the kids who received the least. We fell in love with the happiest baby we’ve ever seen. She radiates happiness and despite her clef palate, she has the most sincere smile and her eyes light up as she laughs.