Well, I guess I take that back, kind of. I love my age. Being 23 rocks. I often find myself in conversations with my friends about how free we are. How we can literally choose to move anywhere and do anything. We can travel anywhere we can afford, and if we can't afford it now, we can save up. Nothing is out of bounds or impossible for me at this point in my life. And that is awesome.
But days like today when I am holding orphan babies I wish I was older. I hate that my life experiences don't match the number on my birth certificate. And now it seems like the only thing I can do is......grow up slowly.
You see, today was one of those days that makes me feel like I could live here forever (someone start sending me meds...jk).
Last night I recieved a call from Dr. Xu saying that Amanda from the Starfish Foster Home (chinesestarfish.blogspot.com) is in town with 4 babies for surgeries. I have spoken with Amanda often over the past year but never met her in person as she lives far far away. Dr. Xu wanted me to meet her, saying it would be, "a great thing."
So today after work I taxi'd over to the children's hospital and after getting lost - turns out I wandered the 6th floor of outpatient not inpatient for about 30 minutes, haha, I found the room Amanda was in with her babies and 4 nannies.
It was a wonderful meeting. We got to talk money, surgeries, life purpose, orphans, the state of social work in China, and adoption laws in different countries, all the while holding precious babies. My baby, Harrison, pooped yellow guck on me and crieeeeeed. It was not good because he was crying so much they were worried for his heart. Tomorrow he will have a scan of his heart to see what needs to be done. He is only 8 months old and was left on an orphanage doorstep. He was blue when Amanda recieved him and she kept telling me how she didn't think he would make it. He's doing great now, making eye contact, and squeezed my thumb tightly showing off his strength. What a little trooper.
We went for a walk to buy food for the babies and nannies and found that the nearest grocery store has been closed since Amanda's last visit. I am not familiar with that part of town so I wasn't much help.
While I was holding baby Harrison (who apparently "loves my voice" according to Amanda) I told her about my work in the orphanage here and my eventual goal of wanting to adopt my own. She promptly asked, "any man on the horizon?" to which I told her "um no. Im 5'10." She told me a funny story of her sister marrying a man shorter than her in her native South Africa and how the pictures looked aweful. She is a hoot.
She then told me, "Oh man, because if you were married we could get you goin' on a baby." A free baby. For me. (!!!) She then asked my age and was surprised to hear my pathetically low number. I felt a little like a kid in a big kids jungle. I'm a youngin' trying to play the big kids game. Amanda is 38 and signed a 10 year contract 5 years ago. Which means she was 10 years older than me when she began her work. 10 years. Ugh. What am I supposed to do, waddle around Asia for 10 years until I am in my 30's and someone takes me seriously?
She told me to "hurry it up and make sure I'm married" by 27 so that when I'm 30 (legal adopting age if you've been married 3 years) I can "get a kid." To which I replied, "Ok, I'll get on that."
I hate age. I hate laws about age. Why can't we forget about age and just judge people based on purpose? Not that I want a kid now, but I don't like the idea that there is a deadline on my dream. Ugh.
Anyways, meeting Amanda was very inspiring. She is so cool. She talked about her total mind shift and lifestyle shift when she opened her foster home. She has 52 babies under her care in 2 houses with 26 nannies working 2 shifts. It's freakin awesome. She told me to fundraise and move out there and work with her for awhile. But that would mean 2 things I don't want to do, move, and fundraise. I don't feel like that is the answer for me.
But knowing her is amazing. Holding her babies is even more amazing. And knowing that one day they will be placed in loving families is even more amazing. Most amazing is remembering that God loves each of those children and that no one is an accident. Parents may abandon their babies but God will never abandon us. And we have to do everything we can to help those less fortunate.
I'm organizing shifts of my friends to go relieve the nannies over the next two weeks while they are here. I am also going shopping tomorrow for some supplies and planning to take the nannies snacks. Amanda said they love street food, so I'm going to take them some goodies tomorrow. Anything to help. I feel like a warm body with blazing energy and nowhere to direct that energy. So, time to throw myself into this for the next 2 weeks.
I am so thankful that my dreams are coming true, regardless of age or time. God places passions in our hearts for a reason. 10 years ago I was talking about orphan babies in my middle school classes. Now I hold them in my arms while they cry and spit up milk. For that I am infinitely thankful. Keep dreaming dear friends, cool stuff happens when you do.
Please visit Amanda's blog and keep her and her babies in your thoughts. We really can make a difference in the world. My faith in that fact has been restored today by meeting this amazing woman.
Now....where is that husband?.......(jk...kinda...)
Walk slow. xoxo