Sharing Smiles

August 26, 2009

Our summer volunteers recently returned from spending two weeks at the China Care Home in Beijing where they got to know our children. The volunteers held our tiny little charges, cuddled them, read to them and played with them, all the time watching in amazement as these fragile babies battled their various medical challenges. William Chen decided to volunteer because he wanted to see and learn for himself how China Care helps these children. He is now back in Texas starting his senior year at the University of Texas, Austin, which is in so many ways a world apart from his days at the China Care Home. Following are some of his thoughts after the first day he spent with the children in Beijing.

If yesterday was any indication, this volunteer trip will become a life changing and rewarding experience. The kids here are some of the happiest kids I have ever seen. Given their medical conditions, many of the kids smile when asked and laugh whenever they want. They’re just like any other children; they love to play and are curious about their surroundings.

One of the brightest parts of my day was during the afternoon and a bunch of the families were playing in a room together. There was one little girl who was playing by herself and didn’t flash any smiles. I noticed she was staring at me and so I smiled at her, she immediately smiled back at me. She wasn’t really into playing as much as she was into collecting toys. The little girl was probably the sweetest kid in the room; during cleanup she helped her brothers clean up their mess.

I spent most of my day in a room of kids who have had heart surgery, mostly because I established a connection with the kids during feeding time and I felt guilty playing with the other kids. One of the kids kept asking me if he could sit on my lap just so he could slide off. Every time he slid off he let out a huge laugh.

Even though yesterday was extremely exhausting, I didn’t feel tired until right before I went to bed. I think playing with the kids and trying to make them laugh and smile made me forget about how tired I was. I fell asleep, looking forward to when I could spend more time with the kids.


More journal entries »