We arrived at the center and headed straight for our respective areas. Glen brought a guitar and gave us the option of singing to the kids. Since no one took it, Derek suggested we do it for our group. OK, I get to hide behind an instrument today.
We went into our first room and started singing any old kid’s song that came into our heads. It helped to have Keena (a BV and school teacher) on our team. Our reward was the look of enjoyment that spread across some of their faces (of course some didn’t look the least bit interested, and one just wanted to pull the strings off the guitar).
After a morning of singing, I went to spend my last few hours with two kids in particular. The first is Guo Guo. This guy is just plain funny! I didn’t get to ask but I wonder he can feel pain. Earlier this morning, he fell head first on the floor with a thud. But he just got up without making the least bit of fuss. Not even a whimper.
Then someone gave him a balloon and he chewed it till it burst in his face. He just looked surprised that the balloon was gone. Anyway, I love this kid. He sucked his thumb then grabbed my hand. He picks his nose regularly. And he is super fast – managing to grab my glasses twice – even when I was watching him to ensure he didn’t grab my glasses. But his face is one of the first in my mind when I think about the trip.
He arrived at the centre starving and almost didn’t make it. Thanks to the care of ICC, he’s lively, smiley and responsive today. Again, I had to clap for him for close to 45 minutes. For reasons I’ll never understand, the sound just mesmerizes him.
I also spent my last hour at the centre with Wei Wei. I took him to his spot at the pergola again – but it looks like this dude remembers me. After just a few minutes at his spot, he led me to the slide and then sat at the foot of it and looked at me expectantly. How could I refuse?
Saying goodbye was sad. Not teary-eyed sad but sad nonetheless.
As we headed away from the centre for the last time, I felt grateful for this experience. Because now I can truly say I feel for them. I’m thankful for this much-needed change of heart. Prior to this trip, I was actually quite afraid of kids with special needs because I didn’t know how to react to them. Now, I know that they’re really not that different. They crave acceptance and love just like any other kid. And they need it more because so few will give them that.
The toddler boys are in a loving environment now. The carers show them affection, feed them and they certainly don’t lack the human touch. But what happens when they outgrow this at this cute and lovable age?
I’ll do what I can from here and pray for them – because God can do what we can’t. I have also decided to sponsor one kid on a regular basis – so that I’ll get regular updates on his progress.
Hazel plans to sponsor a child too. She took care of one blind little girl named Yang Heng Da. Because Hazel spent all 3 days with her, Da Da cried when Hazel said goodbye on the third day – despite the fact that no one told her we were leaving.
Two people sponsoring two kids is like a drop in the ocean. As for the thousands upon thousands of other kids like them, you and I can’t help them all – but the least we could do is remember them and not look past them. If you’re a Christian, join us in prayer for them – not like once a year, but as often as you can. I say this with great comfort because God can love them better than we can.
The train to Changsha took us away from the kids at over 300 km/h. In no time, we were in Hunan’s biggest city. You may not have heard of Changsha – but it is as big and as vibrant as Bangkok – if not bigger. Within 40 minutes we were worlds apart from the kids. But they’ve made their mark and memories of them remain clear in my mind’s eyes.