The past four days I've been in China have been truly incredible. I feel like I do not have adequate words to describe what I've seen and experienced. When I volunteered to write to blog for today I realized I was going to have a difficult time deciding what I wanted to focus my post on as I have so many stories I would love to share!
I've decided to write about a boy named Anthony who we saw in Changsha the first day we were at the children's home (Wednesday, April 15). Before coming to China I started to look at the past posts on the Superkids blog. Obviously I did not get through all the posts before the trip, but I did come across the post about Anthony. When I saw him walk into the room yesterday I immediately recognized him from the photos I saw on the blog. The room I was working in was connected to the first 'station' where the children come. I saw Anthony walking through the halls before it was his turn, and noticed he did not seem to interact with anyone too much. When it was his turn to begin the examination he seemed very quiet. I watched him answer April's questions from a distance, but it seemed he felt overwhelmed, shy, and somewhat self conscious of so many people watching him. When I first saw Anthony walk in the room I knew I wanted to be able to connect with him. I wanted him to know how loved and valued he is. When his interview portion was done he went to the next room to wait for his examination. He sat down, and I brought him a couple treats hoping to see a smile. He didn't seem the least bit interested in the candy I had to offer so I just left a couple of pieces beside him and let him be. I didn't want to bother him, and while I hate to admit it I somehow 'gave up' trying to connect with him.
Not long after I left Anthony with his treats I was goofing around with another boy and girl who are similar in age to Anthony. I was teaching them to give high fives and just laughing with them. Anthony passed by a few times, and I quickly tried to involve him in the high five lesson. He was hesitant...unsure how to respond to the silly American girl who wanted him to hit his hand against her own. After watching me interact with the other kids he decided participating was a good idea, and that's when I saw him smile! It was the first time his face went from showing discontent to a spark of joy! I was thrilled! Thrilled he was interacting with the other kids and just has thrilled to see him smile, feel part of something, and act like a kid! The day went on, and Anthony slowly became my buddy. He willingly sat down next to me and colored a picture. Later in the day he would duck into other rooms and run out onto the balcony when I went to look for him so could be further examined. He's a mischievous boy, and hearing him laugh (even though it was just a quiet giggle) warmed my heart.
Those moments yesterday afternoon were the sweetest surprise. I didn't think Anthony would have any fun before he left that day....especially when I couldn't win him over with a couple of treats. But he proved me wrong, and for that I am grateful. It's kids like Anthony that remind me to love always, and that the smallest act of kindness can make a difference (even if that difference is made later down the road). Loving people is not always an easy task, but I know it is what we are called to do. I believe Anthony left the room yesterday feeling loved by all members of the Superkids team, and what a privilege it is to be a part of a team that loves so well!