Waking this morning I felt fresher and more sprightly. So I packed my bags because today I am off to another hostel after volunteering.
The 1 and half hour trip to the Orphanage went smoothly, my driver picked me up from the Subway Station on time and I was at the Shanghai Healing Home ready to volunteer except they were not expecting me. When I found the nurse, who was the only person who spoke English, we sorted everything out. I explained I had a little bit of a cold and she suggested it best that I sit with the 3 year olds and take a small group downstairs to read and play with their toys. A group of 6 of us congregated in the play area just as two very kind Americans ladies arrived to volunteer, as they do every Tuesday.
This made this whole experience much nicer because they knew the history of the children and they took photos which they very generously sent to me.
I read the group a story, which reminded me of tens years ago when I was nursery nurse. The children then selected and played with a variety of toys. The older children in the group who were six years old have pretty good english skills, which could come in handy for them in the future, if everything goes there way.
I found out that the older children, who are still at the Orphanage, can not be adopted because they have never received a national identity number because their birth was not registered. This makes it impossible to be adopted and acquiring a number is expensive, time consuming and very difficult leaving these children in limbo. I asked what would happen when the reached 18. The best guess is that they would have to work cash in hand jobs to survive.
I also discovered that the Shanghai Healing Home is a secondary home for children requiring additional care like operations and each child is generally assigned to another orphanage somewhere else in China, from where they will return, if not adopted and if they recover.
Charities have created drop boxes which are warm, sheltered and safer places for babies to be left because I assume it was becoming difficult to find babies left in more random and slightly more dangerous places. As I said before most have some physical deformity, usually a cleft palette. I am not sure how much the one child policy along with the projected medical costs result in babies being left to be discovered in the box but there certainly is a motivation and pressure of some kind that leaves new parents feeling that this is their best option.
All the children were very happy, cared for and with a future of possible adoption to a family that would really love and care for them.
The routine is a bit different from what I’d expected. The children had their lunch at 10:30am before having a nap around 11am. Though they are up and playing from 5am. Seeing as I volunteer from 9am to midday this was quite a surprise. For the last hour I sat and smiled at the babies as they played with their toys.
My plan was to go to the Shanghai Healing Home this morning, however yesterday evening I had a fever and felt quite rough. This morning I felt a bit better but not great so I decided it best not to go today. Hopefully I will be feeling better on Friday for my final volunteering session before I fly to South Korea on Monday morning.
If you would like to help any of the children please visit this page and donate through paypal.