Jessica Palmer, Holt’s Waiting Program Manager, is currently in China with Holt’s Journey of Hope children—a group of older children, some with special needs, who are in desperate need of families. On her second day in China, Jessica interviewed and interacted with the children and learned more about their specific stories and personality traits. Once Jessica returns, she hopes to use the information she has gathered to help these beautiful children find families of their own.
The following is Jessica’s account of her visit to Wuxi, Jiangsu, the location of Holt’s 2010 Journey of Hope camp and where Jessica first met the Journey of Hope children….
by Jessica Palmer, Waiting Child Program Manager
Wuxi, Jiangsu, China—Although I couldn’t understand the Mandarin being used by the loving caretakers as they described the children in their arms, I looked into their eyes and could still sense the feeling and meaning behind their words….“Please don’t forget about this child. She deserves a loving family too.”
On my second day in China, I traveled to the city of Wuxi, Jiangsu, where I assisted in interviewing and assessing children in Holt’s Journey of Hope program, in hopes of finding them permanent families of their own. Dozens of children and orphanage staff, from all over Jiangsu Province, attended this special camp.
One child, 10-year-old Xing Men, was able to share his touching story with us. In care since birth, Xing Men has leukoma of his left eye. This charming young man explained his interests – particularly origami – practiced his English for the group and recited ancient poetry for us. He then told us about how he feels when other children go home with their families and how he doesn’t understand why a family doesn’t come for him.
After Xing Men had finished sharing his story, I looked into his beautiful eyes and could truly see his sadness.
For the three years I have been with Holt, I feel as though I have gotten to know many Waiting Children—through reading countless child reports, viewing photos and videos, and even meeting several children, once destined to wait longer because of some “special need”, now with forever families. But this was different. I was here, in China, seeing the children face to face, looking into their beautiful eyes, and seeing how much each one just wants to know the love of a permanent family.
Although advocating for children is my job, personally meeting the children who continually wait for families is, so far, my most important work at Holt.