Holt Senior Writer Robin Munro is traveling with Waiting Child Manager Jessica Palmer to learn more about a new group of children in Holt’s Journey of Hope program. On her first day in country, she met 3 of these beautiful children. The following is her thoughts on this meaningful day.
Robin Munro, Senior Writer
Wuxi, Jiangsu, China—Today, we arrived in a town called Wuxi, in the south China province of Jiangsu. We are here to meet a group of children the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs, or CCAA, designated Holt to find families for. They are all children in Holt’s Journey of Hope program– a special program for older children, or children with special needs in southern China.
On our first night, we meet three children. Their orphanage is in Zhenjiang, a great distance from Wuxi. But the caregivers know traveling to meet us will heighten the children’s chances to be adopted. Here, Waiting Child Program Manager Jessica Palmer will interview the children, assess their conditions and post their pictures on Holt’s photolisting, in hopes of finding them families.
*Yan Lin is 12. She is tall, in shorts and a T-shirt, a Mickey Mouse button on her yellow Crocs shoes. She seems shy among strangers. When summoned, though, she quickly snuggles up to Sue Liu, the young, sweet-faced manager of the Holt office in Beijing. In care since she was a baby, Yan Lin was born with a minor condition which made it difficult to control her bowels. She underwent surgery to correct this condition. Now healed, she is more confident in school. She wants to be a teacher, like her favorite caregivers. She feels discouraged when children find families. And fears for the day she turns 14, when she will no longer be eligible for adoption.
*Yan Bing is almost 5. He likes to pose for pictures – to throw up his hands as though about to summit a roller coaster ride, a big open grin on his face. He climbs on Sue’s lap and makes himself at home there, stealing her bracelets to try on his wrists.He is adorable, and seems perfectly healthy. When Yan Bing came into care – as an infant – his head was swollen from communicating hydrocephalus; he had water on his brain. Now, his symptoms are gone. He has developed into a healthy, high-energy charmer of a child. I can’t imagine he will stay in care much longer, and feel confident about his future.
The third child we meet is named *Guo Bai. He is only a couple months younger than Yan Bing, his closest friend in the world. Both boys came into care as babies, around the same time, and grew up together in the orphanage. They play together throughout the evening, jumping like monkeys on the hotel bed and tumbling over one another with the comfort of brothers. In development and personality, though, they are very different. Guo Bai has little stubs where his ears should be, and hears very little. Because of his ear deformities, he learns slower. While Yan Bing is in his second year of school outside of the orphanage, Guo Bai is still in the orphanage preschool. I hope they both find families, as well as Yan Lin. I hope their journey of hope ends in fulfillment – ends in a family.
On this, my first night, I’ve met three children I can’t forget. But it’s just the beginning. Tomorrow, I will meet over 40 more – children who’ve journeyed from all over this broad, steamy province in southern China in hopes of finding a family.
More information, including videos and photos, will be available for this group of Journey of Hope children in the weeks to follow. Click here to view other children in Holt’s Journey of Hope program still in need of families.