A Trip Full of Blessings
Honestly I didn’t expect much from this trip. In the past I have participated in charity-based events and have felt the passion to serve the needy. However, when I returned to my busy lifestyle from each prior event, I always thought donating money was enough. My husband and I have been sponsoring a child at the CEO’s orphans foster care program for two years; and we have thought of visiting the child we are supporting. One day my husband suggested that we should go visit our sponsored child so we joined the last LY trip. Before we left, Christina made a point to encourage us not to pity the children but rather tried viewing them with a different perspective (elaborated below).
The 2nd day in Luoyang, we visited the LY children welfare institute (the orphanage) and a few foster families in the program. At first I thought there was not much difference in each family. Suddenly, Christina’s words rang in my ears. We were asked to appreciate the foster parents by acknowledging their efforts in taking care of the disabled orphans. Rethinking her words motivated me to change my attitude. As most people from Hong Kong would have thought, the parents were willing to take care of the orphans merely for financial gain. However, I found that it was not the case. There’s a girl in a red dress, who suffered from cerebral palsy, her legs were paralyzed. The prognosis was that her legs would never be recovered. Her foster parents loved her anyway and had not given up on helping her to rehabilitate her legs. Her foster dad even made her a special walker so that she could learn to walk. To me, it demonstrated the parents’ genuine love for her and it was never about money. That day, the girl showed us happily how she could walk and it’s nothing less than a miracle to me.
On the last day, we gathered with a group of foster parents and their fostered children at the CWI. When there was a Q and A time for us to the parents, I asked the reason for their willingness to care for the disabled orphans. It contradicted with most traditional Chinese families’ wish and that would be to raise their own healthy offspring and hoped to see them grow to become somebody someday. One parent replied and said that they were able to do that for three reasons. First of all, he was healthy and had the ability to take care of the children. Secondly, he felt it was a responsibility of a citizen to do so. Lastly, he believed he was wealthy enough to help. I was shocked to have heard the last reason. In my eyes, his “wealth” was way off from the “wealth” of how we would define in Hong Kong!
I then asked if they’d ever thought of giving up. One mother replied honestly and said she had thought of giving up many times because taking care of a disabled child was a challenge indeed. She continued to tell us that as her foster son grew older, he weighed heavier and yet still could not walk. She worried and didn’t know how to deal with that so she returned the child to the CWI. After that, every time she visited the child he would cry and that made her cried too. Finally she decided to bring her foster son back home because it simply broke her heart to leave him at the CWI.
As this mother was telling her story, a little guy nearby started to sob and said that he was very thankful to his own foster mother because she had not given up in him under his own forlorn condition. All of us were touched by then, we definitely experienced the depth of love shared among these parents and children in that room that day.
This program is such an exceptional foster care program for orphans. It blesses children, families, and the local communities; it teaches people how to love. As a donor, this experience totally blessed me personally. An old proverb says that “you’ll be blessed even more when you give than when you receive”. In this trip, I witnessed how lives could truly impact other lives. Seeing how the children responded to their foster parents’ love touched me to the core. I never thought I would learn so much from these families and children. I particularly learned how to be patient, and this definitely enhances the relationship between my husband and I. I strongly endorse CEO’s mission, and will participate in their activities in the future. I hope to see more people come to support CEO and help them reach out to more under-privileged children, families and communities. Surely the positive impact will reciprocate to each of our lives as supporters.
Jodie Chan, January 2014