I can’t believe we’re already in the home stretch! Though some days have felt long, overall our time in China is flying by! Already well into week 2 and we’re finishing up our time in Jiangxi Province. We’ve already seen over 130 kids (a Superkids record!) and have yet to see a whole new bunch of kiddos in Fuzhou.
Our first week in Shanghai and Changsha have felt very different from this week – there we went to large orphanages and saw tons of kids in a day! This week we have been spending more time travelling around Jiangxi province visiting smaller orphanages and seeing fewer children at each place.
My role on the team has been to do a sort of “intake” interview. This gives me a chance to learn more about the kids from their caregivers and if they are old enough,the kids can answer some questions on their own. I always like to note who is there with the child providing information about them – is it foster mom (or dad!), caregiver, therapist, teacher… etc. At the end, I ask if there is anything that they want to tell me about the child to give an opportunity for them to share unique details that might have been missed during the general interview. I love it when there is a spirited reply about something special about the child (they are vegetarian, or very smart, or love to watch cartoons and imitate the characters on TV). I don’t get an answer to this question every time, but I always want to give the opportunity for them to share.
Since my part happens early in the process, I usually finish first and am able to watch the rest of the team finish the developmental assessments or play with the kids that are also waiting. I love to watch the team work, but also like to get my hugs and kisses in when possible! Yesterday I made friends with an older deaf girl who needed some hugs just as much as a little toddler!
In between visiting kids, we have been eating… and eating! The food has been SO good and we’ve hardly eaten the same dish twice (well, except rice!). Most meals are with provincial or local officials who are responsible for allowing us to come into the orphanages to see the kids. They are so appreciative of the work we do and we are equally thankful that they trust us enough to let us meet their precious children. To show appreciation, a lot of toasts are made – to individuals, to the group, to anyone! We are learning to toast “Gan Bei!” (bottoms up!) and have had many laughs together as well as sincere moments of thanks.
Being in China really highlights the importance of the Superkids mission to improve the quality of life for orphans. I’m so proud to be a part of this team and this work!