(All photos taken by Corey Amaro)
The children at Vieng Ping Orphanage range from days old to eighteen years. Most of them have and will live at Vieng Ping until they are eighteen years old. When they are eighteen they must leave and learn to find their way alone.
We went with our friend Celeste who volunteered and lived at Vieng Ping for six years. When we arrived everyone knew who and greeted her with open arms and enormous smiles. She was loved. (Celeste continues to do fund-raising for the orphanage.)
The children were beautiful.
French Husband and I were overwhelmed with emotion.
The instant we walked in we had children in our arms, they ran up and surrounded us. Their need for one-on-one attention was obvious. The children are well cared for at the home, but like any child they needed and wanted more love. Their cups do not overflow as every child's should.
(Small note: I was given permission to take photos of the children. They loved having their photos taken just so they could see them in the viewfinder. When they saw their photos they wanted another one, and another one. First they would smile shyily, and by the end they were making goofy faces with pure excitment.)
Much is needed as one can imagine... food, clothes, listening ears, holding hands, blankets, sheets, books, outings, supplies.... money.
Simply someone to hold a baby. Push a swing. Read another story. Give a glass of water. Share a smile. Hold someone up. Change a diaper. Wipe a tear. Wipe a nose. Sing a song.
Simply being present to one another.
It was not as easy as that... the children are many, the Vieng Ping Orphanage has four hundred children. And this is one place in a million. It was heartbreaking. Words cannot possible describe the emotion that roared inside of me.
The lump in my throat has not gone away.
The children are at the Vieng Ping Orphanage for many reasons. Most hope to find a new home. Long for a mother and father who will love them.
Most people want a baby. Unfortunately the countless paperwork needed from the states and other countries takes up to two years.
It is hard to understand...
Couples want children-
Children want parents-
And red tape and money is what keeps that from happening faster than need be.
Advocacy. Understanding. Spending time to make a difference.
The center encourages foster care (two hundred children are in foster care already) while the children wait. Most children after five years old cannot be adopted. Imagine that if a child is three and the process of adoption starts, that if it takes two years, they will not be able to be adopted.
Tragedy lurking in the corners, and starring blantly while saying, "What can you do?"
Yet words of Mother Theresa come to mind:
Mother Theres focused on hope and stood in the sea of suffering doing what she could:
A small stone cast caused ripples. Those ripples went forth regardless on where they would run.
We held babies.
We pushed swings.
We changed diapers.
We felt the richness of our lives standing by their poverty.
We were humbled, and the ache made us want to be better people.
Made us question what are we doing? How do we use our resources? Where can we cast our stones.
Understanding, hope, love and change is what is needed regardless of the why.
I held a baby.
Yesterday was the first day of Lent.
What can I do for these children?
What does it mean to walk the path of loving devotion?
It means to devote ourselves to love's ways.
Believing that what one does and says does make a difference.
John has volunteered, like Celeste at his own cost for eight years.
Rocking them to sleep.
Being their advocate when they go to the hospital....
Giving his life for their well being.
Teen agers wanting music, pretty things, curious about what their future holds, wanting to talk, and experience things.... wondering.
Ten year olds wanting a bike, or someone to play ball, or new shoes for socceer...
Five year olds... losing their first tooth, seeing their first falling star... mastering the hula hoop.
Babies learning to walk, needed someone to watch them take their first step....
Two hundred children reside at Vieng Ping home for children, and two hundred children are in foster parenting. The center is amazing, though could always use more help, the volunteers are few, the needs are far reaching.
Can you imagine the dishes? bathtime? bedtime? Let alone schooling and preparing them for the day they turn eighteen?
Children beautiful children.
If you would like to help by sending clothes, money, books, supplies, no matter the size. Diaper rash cream, burping clothes, tampons, socks, money for outings, to computers please let me know and I will send you Celeste or John's email and they will make sure you have direct information on how to donate.
Or send your gift directly to:
63/3 C.M. -Maerim,
Rte. 170 Rd.
T. Donkaew A. Mae Rim 50180
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Telephone: 053 211 877 236 049
Each of us has the power to love, and to give more than we think we can.
(Click on following links below to go to other sites to help or learn more.)