Heng Yang Hang

Trip Start Aug 19, 2012
1
22
50
Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Hengqi Hotel

Flag of China  , Hunan,
Friday, October 26, 2012

Just left Hengyang a couple of days ago.

We are sooooooooooo deeply grateful for the opportunity to have gone.  And thank you from the bottom of our hearts to those who helped support us financially and emotionally with this part of our trip with ICC.

I've had some time to think about what to blog about for this part of journey, and I still don't know how to summarize our time in Hengyang at the orphanage.

We had the chance to hold, carry, hug, kiss (me, not Adrian), cuddle, console, walk with, run with, jump with, sing with, and laugh with orphans of various ages.  I mostly spent time with the "little girls" (4-10 years old), most of whom had varying degrees of cerebral palsy (CP) or epileptic conditions, and none of whom could speak coherently (and not just because I don't speak Mandarin).  Adrian spent most of his time with the "big boys" (12-25 years old), some of whom didn't know their own strength.

To give some perspective, most of these children do not leave the orphanage more than a couple of times a year, and sometimes not even their specific areas of the orphanage.  So, our outing to the park was an extremely joyful and fascinating one to most of them.  The pure joy and excitement to be in nature and new surroundings were awe-inspiring for me to witness.  Their awe became my awe.

How does one explain that as much as I was there to give to them, it felt like they were giving to me.  To have children who are suffering physically, mentally, or emotionally, still able to greet me with joy and warmth was so humbling to experience.

To say "I missed you pretty girl" to a beautiful CP girl forever frozen due to extreme spasticity of her entire body other than her neck, and receive a shy smile back, was heart-filling to the point of heartbreak.

To hold in my arms a tiny 5 year old, crying out in panic as her entire body was wracked with an epileptic seizure she was fully aware of, was beyond heartbreaking.

And yet there is hope as the ICC staff work unswervingly with the children and cultural system they are in.  There is hope when one hears about children being sponsored or adopted.  There is hope when within a couple of short weeks, I see a child I work with, learn to take food from a spoon properly and be fed appropriately by staff as they are trained for her needs.

The commitment, responsibility, sacrifice, effect, and deep love ICC clearly demonstrated during my time at the orphanage was inspirational.  I don't know if I could ever do what the staff do there.

The group that we went with was phenomenal, and the hearts of the people I met were so big.  We have made lifelong friends, and parting on our last day was truly sad.

I have been moved.  Moved to know that I can love a child that is not mine.  Moved to know that I deeply miss being at the orphanage.  Moved to know that someone who has less than me in countless ways can give me so much more than I can give them.  Moved to know that we have been permanently changed.

We have lots to chew on after being in Hengyang.

Hopefully, the photos will give you a small sense of what we had the privilege to experience.
 
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Comments

Clod on

What an amazing experience! My one regret is that I didn't pursue a volunteer opportunity during my world travels... 9 more days till I see your pretty faces! :)

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