Tuesday, October 26, 2010

300 years

300 years.....that is a long time. Week before last I was honored to attend a wonderful event celebrating the 300th anniversary of the orphanage that I volunteer at each week. They had a really nice affair on Thursday that included all kinds of entertainment and local dignitaries that spoke before a crowd of at least a couple hundred people or so. They also had several families that had adopted from this orphanage return for the event and they were presented with gifts and one even spoke about her life since the orphanage.
I was part of a group of 10 volunteers that attended the event and I went to show support for the orphanage. I really didn't expect to get overly excited or emotional or even understand most of what was being said for that matter. I just wanted to go and be supportive. Well....that was my plan and as the Lord often does.... He had another plan.
I found myself in tears several times watching videos that were shown or observing families that were in attendance that have been grown through adoption. It is such a miracle and beautifully transcends all language barriers.....it's just amazing. I was fortunate to be in attendance and it wasn't just so I could be supportive. The Lord wanted to bless me and encourage me and oh how He did!
On Friday, my normal day to go to the orphanage, I went expecting nothing extraordinary. The celebration and festivities had all been on Thursday so I again, wasn't prepared. Surprise, surprise!......the families that had come in for the celebration (from the US and the Netherlands and not sure where else....I think there were 6 or 7 all together) were all touring the facilities and came through the baby/toddler area during our shift. Oh it was so wonderful! Most of the girls were about 12 to 15 years old and one family was even celebrating their GOTCHA Day on that very day. They had received their daughter 15 years ago to the day. (how cool is that huh?) There was also a family that had a little boy that was only 3 or so.....also from this orphanage. So here's the part that is just so neat and I'll write thru tears now b/c it still gets to me. The girls and their families were being followed and escorted by quite the entourage- as you can imagine there were lots of photo ops and they came in and immediately started playing with the toddlers and such. The part for me that was so moving was the parents of these girls. They literally could not stop expressing their gratitude for what we were doing as volunteers. They just watched us with this look of emotion that can't quite be expressed. There were tears and hugs and lots of smiles and exchanges of "that look" but here's the deal.......it was them that I wanted to thank. I kept saying...."NO, NO it's you that we thank. You are the families that are loving these girls forever now. We just come and help for awhile." and the whole time I'm just thinking how grateful I am that I get to be there.....at that moment.

Then there was the other side of my brain........ I know the feelings they are trying to express.....I am "that Mom" who would LOVE to know that someone had gone and held my little girl when she was tired or hurt. I would love to know that for 7 1/2 months of Xan's life she was being loved on......even if it was only once a week. It's huge- and I totally get that. It really was a surreal moment. My feelings were all jumbled. I was grateful, they were grateful, I was happy, I was sad, I was overwhelmed. It was just one of those moments that will forever be part of me.

The whole time all of this was happening we were just sitting in the floor holding babies (I think I had 2 on my lap for most of their visit) and just rocking them or soothing them. They weren't used to all this attention and it was a bit unnerving for them. Once the families and their entourage all left we were back to the normal routine......and the babies were all still there doing what they normally do and probably wondering what just happened. I didn't have time to really collect my thoughts and process all of the emotions until I was home and then it hit me. God totally blessed me those two days. ABUNDANTLY blessed me and I have no idea why it was me....but it was and for that I am grateful.

I didn't get a whole lot of pictures....but here are a few.

One of the girls who had been adopted from this orphanage.

The director giving his speech.

Some of the entertainment and one of the young girls living at the orphanage now.

A few of the other volunteers.

Xan was excited to hold the flowers we received as gifts. They were beautiful!

1 comment:

we are the spencers said...

wow. what a great experience. made me cry! i can't imagine being there.