Moments of this trip keep floating around in my brain. This is one that showed up recently. In the JiangXi province, we met a beautiful girl. She conveyed to us to Please, Please help her find a family. She did not do this through the translator. She hugged us all. She took Chelsea to pictures posted on a bulletin board of children who were already adopted. Pointing to the pictures and to herself. Chelsea did not know what to say. No one would. She wanted to leave with us. Chelsea found the translator, said yes she did understand and we would try to find a family for her.
Self advocacy is a powerful thing. There are many critics of international adoption who I would like to experience this exact moment. What can you say to a child who is asking you to find a family for them because they need one? Of course they need a family! The fact that many of these children will age out and never know the love of a family is a sad truth. These moments are heart breaking and have changed all of us forever. This scene was repeated in many different orphanages throughout our trip. A boy in ChangSha told me he really wanted a family, he said some kids talk about it but he needs a family more than anyone. Please can he be adopted. We were asked this question at least 5 times on this trip. I remember each one because it kind of takes your breath away. I ask these children what they would want a forever family to know. Sometimes they tell me something about themselves that they feel makes them special. Like I can run faster than anyone. Or, I will be a good son or daughter and help my Mom and Dad. They show me cartwheels. Lastly, will you find me patient parents who will love me?
So I want to ask everyone to participate in helping these kiddos advocate for themselves. Tell everyone you know there are beautiful older kids available for adoption too. I really feel this is a problem we can solve. Share, tell and retell their stories. Open your heart to an older child.