It’s been a few days since the internet actually worked. Two nights ago, I crouched in the middle of an orphanage hallway that was approximately 12 degrees, holding my laptop at every angle possible trying to hold on to one bar of service to send updates. Last night, I was the strange American in the middle of the hotel hallway, sitting completely motionless because if I moved, everything I was trying to do would crash. I will never take you for granted again, home internet.
We’ve met a ton of kiddos the past few days, and yesterday we saw quite a number of older children (or “big kids,” as one of my hosting parents have affectionately called them!). Older child hosting and adoption is scary for many families – a child who is 11, 12, or even older can have a tough time.. They come with a decade of experiences already, not all of them great ones, and a little personality of their very own. For our families who step out on the limb and take that walk of faith to host one of these kids, though, the rewards are immense. We’ve seen so many older children who so excited to finally be loved, and many of the children we see in China are ready and eager to learn a new language and step out of the world of their orphanage. The interview portion with these older children can be somewhat awkward – you can’t bring a wind-up toy or a small nerf ball to elicit a smile from these kids. Across all our programs, what helps the most is to break out the coloring books and drawing pads (pro tip for our future host families – coloring contests are a great way to bond with your kiddos!).
Miss Sweet Smile (in the orange) and Miss Pony Tail (in the stripe) stood out today – they are best friends and roommates. They share a room with other children, but their beds are right next to each other and they share everything just like little girls do. Miss Sweet Smile told us they love to play cards together, but, she shyly told us, Miss Pony Tail “always wins!” They slowly opened up to us, laughing and smiling as they drew us a couple of little pictures. We see children like them all the time; older children’s files may say “delayed,” but we look at them and know that with good schooling and a good family, they could be anything they wanted to be. The stigma around older children’s “developmental delays” is a hurdle we try to dodge and jump every day – these are kids who aren’t delayed, these are kids who have never been given a chance but have somehow still learned to make a best friend, smile to a stranger, and give a cautious hello. Every time I think about how much these kids have accomplished despite what they’ve been through, I am amazed…but I’m also frustrated. They deserve a chance as much as any child! Hosting is now their chance, and we can’t wait to see how these two little ladies will grow with the proper care of a family that they so deserve. We’d love to see them hosted close together, and we’d love to see the smiles of all our older children smile grow brighter with the love that a family brings.
Until tomorrow (depending on the internet, hallway, and angle of my laptop!) – talk to you soon!
A note from the staff at home: If you’re interested in potentially hosting, and especially hosting an older kiddo, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with us to find out more by contact Cayce at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (512) 323-9595 ext. 3102.