I spoke at a church in Canton on Sunday night and it was a small group but the atmosphere was one of the best I’ve experienced. The people were so supportive and friendly—Ben and I felt comfortable from the start and would’ve loved even more time to chat at the end. This time, however, there were a few adopted children attending with their parents. I don’t know if seeing those little faces is what brought on my bout of melancholy, but I am once again missing my China life. Each time I stand in front of a crowd and work through my presentation, stories and pictures of the kids, I feel passionate at the moment but always sink into a quiet, pensive mood after it is over. Sometimes it’s hard to believe I spent almost five years living in China and working with the children I care so much about. At times when I am so wrapped up in my American life of chaos, my China memories feel almost like a dream, not quite real. I’m starting to understand how hard it is for people on this side of the world to be less passionate or excited about supporting orphans, if they’ve never been impacted by an experience that instills that goal. Honestly, if I am not looking at the faces I knew and loved, I can easily forget the hardships they endured and those behind them are enduring today—this very moment! For example, I checked the weather in the city I worked in and I know from experience that at this time of year the babies are starting to suffer from heat rash that is aggravated greatly by laying on bamboo mats in extremely muggy rooms. I know they are being attacked each night by hordes of mosquitoes that will leave welts on their tiny faces, arms and hands. I know the nannies are feeling over-whelmed because the volunteer team will be dropping off one by one to return to their home countries for summer visits, causing the workloads to get heavier, and impatience to soar.
Most of all, I know this for sure—I don’t want to lose the passion I cultivated and I want to use my story to inspire that fire in others to advocate for children—any and all children, China and everywhere. I need to work harder to be an example to the children in my own family so that one day they might take over and do more for the disadvantaged than our generation did. This world should not be about who gets ahead, who has the nicest car or the biggest house—We shouldn’t obsess about what colleges our kids will go to or how successful they will be if we just push them a little harder or force them to join one more sport or club. Wouldn’t this world be a better place if we concentrated more on molding the younger generation to be more compassionate to those around them, to reach out to people in their lives and give a helping hand? What if we gave equal time to community outreach that we do to organized sports and activities? The important thing to remember is that when the children become adults and find their passion, they will find their peace.
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