Monday, March 10, 2008

Humanitarian Efforts

We are waiting for them…they are waiting for us.

When news of China’s “worse snow storm in 50 years” hit the evening news with images of one million of their army soldiers pitching in to shovel away ice and snow, my mind immediately lept to the children in the orphanages. Where the children ok? Were they warm? Did they have enough food?

I had the distinct honor to travel as a volunteer with the super kids charity ( in the aftermath of those storms. It was a relief to see that the snow was mostly melted, but concerning to hear that downed power lines were in need of repair before power could be restored to the more rural areas. The monies raised for the Emergency Relief Fund were quickly put to use. Several needed heaters were purchased for the Yuayang Social Welfare Institute. Colorful rubber tiles were bought and assembled on the playroom floor to add warmth and safety.

As a waiting Mom, it is one thing to see photos and videos of “Gotcha Days”, or hear about the children’s living conditions. It is quite another to visit the children and see first hand their needs, daily routines and smiling faces. As we waiting families now talk about the wait in double-digit months, I realize the children are waiting too for us. To witness their needs and plight is to realize, our greatest role is to be their advocate. Not just for the perfect little one we will someday call our own, but for many children’s who will remain. There is so much that we can do to impact the lives of the children who live behind the intimidating wall of privacy of the orphanages. Volunteering with Gladneys Humanitarian efforts ( WILL make a difference. The young children need to be touched, loved and fed. The older children need examples of hope for a future beyond the orphanage. Here at home, there is much to be done to organize, implement and grow our humanitarian efforts.

Janet Fink began Super Kids Charity ( after she adopted her daughter from Shanghai Children’s Home. The mission of Super Kids is to train caregivers to incorporate easy and fun physical therapy exercises into the daily routine. The training is implemented by expert pediatric physical therapists; it is sustained by the efforts of volunteers both here and in China.
“ We our selves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the Ocean. But that ocean would be less because of that missing drop”
—Mother Theresa

Volunteering to help their efforts has been a wonderful enriching way to ease our long wait. Those of us who build our families through adoption, look at the world through a different lens. One that is touched by global awareness, respect for cultural differences, and a realization of the potential in all children. For me to make a contribution to the lives of the children filled the void left in the wake of the long wait. You too can make a difference. Your time, funds and enthusiasm will forever impact in their lives.

Eileen McAleer MD

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