Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Changsha Advocacy Camp Day Two

Oh what an amazing day our final day in Changsha was!! We were told we'd be playing and getting to know the younger kiddos on this day and sure enough we did!!!

Before I even left the states for China I had two mama friends approach me in hopes that I might be able to see and love on their sweeties while I was in Changsha.  Because those children were already matched and did not need advocacy, I didn't expect to meet them but I hoped and prayed for the chance because I've been in their shoes!! I know what a joy it is to know that someone has loved on your baby while you are still waiting to get to them.  One sweet friend's daughter played playdoh with me on our first day in Changsha!! What a joy it was to see her and get to love on her a bit!

So when we walked into the baby room, the very first child I laid my eyes on was my other friend's daughter!!!

What are the odds???  I just couldn't believe it!!

And after her shock and disgust for Americans (we seem very weird looking and scary to her)  wore off a couple hours later, she even let me take a picture with her!!! ;)

And this little guy!!  When I first walked in and they started bringing children that were on our list into the room, Mr. Wu told me that he was sorry but the little guy with thalassemia I was looking forward to meeting was at the hospital getting his transfusion.  But it turned out that information was wrong, and he strolled right into the room a few minutes later.  The director knew I wanted to meet him, so she had him brought over for the day, even though he still had to be monitored for a reaction a day or two longer.  Isn't he adorable??

Look at all these babies!!!  And there were sooooo many we got to play with and get to know!!

And here's what gets me... These babies- all of them- need families.  And I don't just mean the babies we played with on our final day.  I mean all of the children we met and all of the children we didn't meet.  The orphanages in China and India and Columbia and Ukraine and Uganda and in so many countries around the world are filled with babies just like them.  Because whether they are 8 months old or 15 years old, they are all babies.  Babies in need of a mom and dad.

And after a fun morning of play, these particular babies were due for a nap!  So they sent us to lunch so the babies could nap!!

After lunch we were presented with a couple options for the afternoon.  We could play with the babies some more, go meet a few older boys to answer their questions about adoption, or 2 lucky people would have the opportunity to meet the staff and children at Butterfly Children's Home.  Knowing the work that Butterfly does and the precious kids they serve, I jumped at the opportunity to go meet the staff and children there, even though it meant no more play time with these precious little sweeties!!

Butterfly is a children's palliative & hospice care home right on the grounds of the orphanage.  They take in the sickest children, those who are unlikely to make it, and risk it all for those children!  They try to find resources to get these children miracle, life-saving surgeries at leading hospitals like those in Shanghai.  They care for dying children, sitting right by their side in their final days.  Their goal is to love on these children and bring joy to these children everyday, for as long as each child has.  They are truly Jesus hands and feet right here on earth.

I met their amazing director Naomi and she shared all about Butterfly, showed us around, and shared the babies' stories.  I still don't have words for everything she shared with us that day.  With brokenness all around, these special nurses and volunteers choose hope.  And they choose it everyday.

I'm attaching their blog for two reasons.  One- because you guys should be praying for their staff and children.  And two- because they need financial supporters to continue to do the work they are doing!!  Their staff dreams of growing and taking this level of care to other orphanages.  No child should have to die alone, but that is the sad reality without centers like Butterfly.  Please prayerfully consider supporting their work, whether in prayer or financially.  They are making miracles happen!!

After visiting Butterfly, I walked back to our hotel and began to get ready for the flight back to Shanghai the next day.  This trip was a dream come true.  An opportunity to truly make a difference, bringing you all the stories of so many children who are waiting for their forever families to come.  It also became an opportunity to begin a new level of advocacy for the many, many children who wait with thalassemia and I will share more about that in coming days.

Our time with the kids had come to a close, but my work had only just begun.  Stay tuned!!

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