Our daughter has lived in an orphanage for the last 6 years of her life. We have heard the stories, read the research and the books, and we know that institutional life can severely impact the child’s ability to later “attach” or bond with anyone. Our prayer all along has been that someone in the orphanage would have cared for her, loved her, and taught her how to receive love.
We learned that her orphanage in Shijiazhuang was one of the ones that has a One Sky program in it. One Sky trains workers to nurture the children and transform their childhoods by helping them to love and to learn. We eagerly hoped and prayed that our Jinna Rai had been selected to be part of that program!
The first two times we went to her orphanage we didn’t receive much information about her, but we could tell she was well loved. Some of her “nannies” cried as we said goodbye, and the other children seemed quite attached to her as well. We were thankful.
Then, our guide had to return to the orphanage a third time to pick up some things, and at that visit she was given a huge photo album to give to us. In it there are 159 pages full of photos and writing all about her!!! Between November of 2010 and March of 2015 someone took notes and paid special attention to her, supplying a whole page of information about every two weeks! This is unbelievable to me. I made my other children baby books, but only for the first year of their lives…. There is no way I could have made a book as extensive as this!
What a huge, huge gift this is to us, and to Jinna Rai. Already she loves going through page by page, repeating, “Wah! Wah!” (“me! me!”)
I have no idea which nanny made this book for her, and most likely, on this side of Heaven, I will never get to see her again. But her love for our child has most likely completely transformed Jinna – and our family. Without this enormous but anonymous gift, our lives would be so much harder.
A few days later we had the pleasure of meeting with Dave and Darlene (John and Lois Kyle’s daughter and son-in-law) at a very overpriced Starbucks in a Chinese city. As we talked with them we learned that Dave has spent years volunteering every Saturday at a local orphanage. When he and his team first started going there it was clear the workers were not very nurturing and didn’t even really view the children as people. But as Dave’s team began modeling love and compassion, the workers began to follow their example, and over the years, the whole tone of the place changed.
Isn’t that incredible?? Because of a small team of volunteers just giving a few hours a week, hundreds of children’s lives have been radically impacted. And not only them, but any future families for those children as well. Yet those families will likely never know the faces of those who have made such a difference to them. We are very grateful for those who have given to the “least of these,” possibly never seeing any fruits of their labor, but making a lifelong difference!