Monday, May 10, 2010

Journey of Hope Day Two

We were all very excited for the second day of our visit to Long Gang Social Welfare Institute.

Upon entering the courtyard, we were impressed by the cleanliness beauty of the building. Whatever your expectation of an “orphanage” might be, this wonderful place would surprise you. You enter through a large hall where there are brightly colored pictures on the wall. Going up the stairs our hearts were pumping fast. We didn’t know what to expect, but we came prepared to have a good time with the children.

AAC had put together bags and bags of arts and crafts supplies. There were markers, paint brushes, paints, stickers, felt boards, bubbles..(lots of bubbles!), games, noise makers, and two very big “parachutes”.

We were setting up for our day of fun when the children came into the room. They entered holding the shirt of the child in front of them. It was such fun to see them “march in” looking like tiny elephants coming into a circus ring. They were excited to see us and gave us huge smiles when they recognized us as the visitors from the day before.

Christie and Nicole were set up in a room to interview each child. During the interviews the orphanage staff tried to make sure that the teacher who was most familiar with that particular child was present. They talked with the kids about what they like and what they thought about being adopted by a family in America. They were also able to ask the child's caretaker about the child's everyday personality such as how they get along with other children etc. They discussed with the orphanage staff the child's special need and asked many questions.

Sandy, Marissa and Larry got to PLAY!! And play we did!! Among our many very active games were “Ring Around the Rosy”…the children loved singing and going around, but were very unsure that it was necessary to “all fall down”. They laughed and shouted.

The parachutes were a huge hit. The parachutes have handles on them about every 12 inches and the children (and us) held on to the handles and then, 1,2,3…UP!! Then DOWN. We put big beach balls on the chutes and tried to keep them going higher and higher. Then, one of the children would go under the chute and we cover and uncover him. The children could have done this forever, but the adults were getting very hot and tired.

I had a great time with a red flag and a green flag that Marissa had made. The children lined up and marched to music and had to STOP!! when the red flag was raised, and GO!! When the green flag was raised. If they failed to stop, they were out. It was so much fun to laugh with them when they forgot to stop.

Another great hit was working at art projects. At many tables, art supplies such as cut-outs of parts of flowers, houses, children, horses, cows, and many others, were glued onto big poster boards. The dexterity of the children and the great imaginations of these little people was amazing. They were able to create beautiful posters of houses with flowers (with many details such as exactly the right number of leaves) and lots and lots of abstract designs.

It was great to watch as many of the children, (remember they are young and have some handicaps) made necklaces and bracelets by stringing beads. They were patient and concentrated hard to thread the small beads. The necklaces and bracelets were really beautiful.

Perhaps the most memorable event of this amazing day was when we had a “birthday party”. Daniel was turning 16 the next day and so we had the kitchen at the hotel make a big and heavy cake saying “Happy Birthday” on it. Just before it was time for us to leave, we put a lot of candles on it and lit them and brought it out, singing “happy birthday” to Daniel. He was thrilled, embarrassed, shy, happy, unsure it was for him, and over-all tickled to pieces. The children kept singing and then we cut the cake. Oh my gosh!!! They loved it. It was just so much fun, but most of all, it was such a great pleasure to see Daniel and his never changing smile. We just can't tell you enough how special of a boy that Daniel is.

We were very greatful to the orphanage for the wonderful care they give to these kids. We got to experience first hand how much they care for them. It must be hard for them to come to love them so and hope for them to have a family and then to watch them leave and most likely never see them again. In effort to give the staff something to remember the children by, we had a special project planned. Marissa had brought blocks of fabric with holes punched in the corners and each of the children drew a picture on a block. We then tied them together to make a quilt. The quilt will be hung on the wall of the orphanage. What a great reminder of a happy day that will be! The children were delighted to see their work being brought together.

Leaving was hard to do even though we were all very tired and hot. It had been a day of joy, sadness, running, playing, working, hugging, crying, and most of all, loving!!

Christie and Nicole did wonderful, hard work and got great information about all the children.
Larry, Marissa and I had one of the most wonderful days of our lives enjoying every activity with the children.

It will be a day we will all remember and every one of us hope that EACH of the children will be adopted and have a forever family who will love them and encourage their amazing skills and desire to learn new things.

Back at the hotel, we couldn’t quit talking about “our” experiences. (each of us has different special memories). What an amazing experience!!!!

Then we were off to to Korea.
~By Sandy

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