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Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Kids that Changed My Life

     As I mentioned before, the summer I spent in India changed my life.  I was at a large orphanage with maybe, 1,000 kids.  I went there with, really, nothing to offer.  I had no medical expertise, no theological training, no teaching experience, I just went.  I helped out at the orphanage clinic, and I helped reorganize the orphanage library and tutor children there.  What I realized was, the kids at the orphanage could care less about what my background or training was.  They just wanted someone to spend time with them; someone to tell them how precious they were; someone to pray with them and encourage them.  These kids I left behind changed my life forever.  They're the reason I want to adopt, the reason I want everyone I know to adopt!

     The one thing all of these children had in common was their desire for a family.  Some of the children were true orphans.  They came from parts of the country where the fighting and violence was so severe, whole families were killed.  Some were found in the streets.  Others had one or even both parents living, but due to economic reasons, safety reasons, or other problems in the family, they could not live at home and have enough to eat or be cared for.  The one thing that surprised me is, even the children who still had parents living, who maybe got to see their parents once or twice a year, they still would have gladly hopped on a plane with a family willing to give them a permanent home.  I don't know if this is just because of the allure of "America" in general, or if it was just their desire to be in a permanent home, with loving parents who could be there for them any minute.  I think it was probably a combination of both.  I think it completely stinks, though, for families to be separated just because of poverty, and I hope we can keep working to end that.  For many of these kids, though, poverty was not the only issue. 

 The orphanage really did the best they could with all of these children, considering their limited resources.  The children were treated well, got to go to school, got medical care, and had enough to eat.  The one thing that was really lacking, was the number of adult workers in the orphanage.  They had a set-up where the teenagers would be chosen as room leaders.  They would be in charge of a room full of 30 children, varying in age from 3 years old to 15 years old or so.  They would make sure every child did their chores, got dressed, bathed, got their meals, did their school work, etc.  I was so impressed with these room leaders.  Granted it's more responsibility than most teenagers should have, but they were amazing.  They really took care of the children. 

I was impressed with all of the kids in general.  They took care of each other.  They made their own little family units within the orphanage.  But that didn't replace their need for a family of their own.  These children changed my life.  Maybe they'll change yours too.

     By the way, lest you think I'm actually a good photographer, most of these pictures were taken by a dear friend of mine that I met in India.  Her family is about to go do more amazing things in the world...she's the coolest. 

     It wouldn't be right to share this post without pointing out what amazing people my parents are.  They let their 20 year-old daughter, go to India, BY HERSELF (As in, no mission trip group here, literally, a solo mission), for 2 months.  I showed up at the airport in Delhi, and looked for a guy holding up a sign with my name on it.  My parents knew very little about the orphanage I was going to, and the organization that funded the orphanage.  Still, they let me go.  They never even shared any doubts or fears with me AT ALL.  They bought me a camera, some new luggage, and hugged me goodbye.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for always supporting my crazy dreams.  I've learned so much from you guys that will help me be a better parent someday. 


  1. Thanks BA for your kind words about your parents and your encouraging words about how kids everywhere (foreign or USA)need to feel the love and acceptance from parents (birth or adoptive).

    btw, we had LOTS of concerns about your trip to India, but we keep them mostly to ourselves. We had faith in you, and more importantly, we placed our faith in God that He would guide and protect you on your solo mission.

  2. Thanks, Dad! I'm glad you had that faith. I had a lot of friends at the time, whose parents never would have let their kids do what I did. I have so much more respect and appreciation for you and Mom, because your faith was always evident in the way you parented your kids.

  3. That is a really great experience! It is amazing how God uses the experiences in our lives.

  4. I'm really glad you once had that kind of experience in your life. It's actually not a bad idea to do it again at some other place, on some other time. I don't think I have the courage of going into an orphanage. These pictures alone leaves me with teary eyes. I wouldn't want the kids to see me feeling sorry for them and pitying them, that's why I do my part in trying to donate through the internet or if someone I know will pay a visit to an orphanage (on very rare occasions), I also spend a lot in giving the children a little gift.

    Aiko Dumas