Vietnam Part II ::: Giving Back

The most striking thing about the orphanages are the incredible people who work there.  "Work" feels like the wrong word.  These caretakers dedicate their lives, their everyday, to not only caring and teaching the orphans of Vietnam, but loving them so naturally.  It's evident in every smile, every bond.  I personally owe so much to these people for taking care of my sister Eleanor and brother William before we got them.  They are truly angels on earth.

My mom brought pictures from when we got my siblings and many of these women still work there.  Here's Eleanor with the head of Go Vap Orphanage. 

William with the head of Tam Binh Orphanage (fun fact, Angelina Jolie adopted her son here).  

Santa was a big hit!  Even though the costume barely came up to his knees :)

Opening presents.  It was so wild, we would hand a child a wrapped package and they were thrilled.  Just with that, the wrapped package alone.  They didn't always realize it opened and goodies were inside!  Talk about low expectations.

My momma and this little cutie.  Don't you just want to take her home?  Seriously though, take her home :)

Sunglasses were a big hit!

The little girls room.

The little boys room.

Now this disease needs an explication.  Cephilac.  In America, many babies are born with this.  But it's detected at birth and a simple, affordable surgery is done leaving the child to live with few repercussions.  But in Vietnam thousands of kids a year die from this disease, typically between 4-6 years old.  Their life up to that is confined to a crib, as they are unable to support their head even to sit up.

Some of the beautiful caretakers and my mom.  Many of them grew up here and have dedicated their lives to kids who are exactly where they once were.

The gardens.

Awaiting presents!

Those beautiful faces!

I gave this adorable little lady a package and she was thrilled with the wrapping alone.  I showed her how to open it and inside was a clip, a pair of sunglasses, a bracelet and a compact with a comb.  I put the sunglasses on her face and she was fascinated by the newly rose tinted world.  I put the bracelet on her and she marveled at the gold clasp.  I pinned the comb in her hair and she was unsure how to feel, not being able to see it and all, so I opened the mirror to show her.  She was quite shocked by her reflection.  I don't think she had ever seen it before, I said "so pretty."  She certainly didn't understand but she smiled at me anyways.  I comber her hair back into the clip and handed it off to her.  She sat there combing her hair, staring at her reflection for as long as they would let her, before they called everyone back to their rooms.  I hope one day she realizes how beautiful she is. 

This little guy played along with my brother playing acoustic guitar.  He was really into it, it was so adorable.

William is 14, needless to say he doesn't often curl up and take a nap right on my moms lap mid day.  To me,  this exemplifies what this experience was for him.  What brave kids they were, but how overwhelming it must have been.  I can't even imagine a way in which they could have responded better.  They were not only positive and giving, handing out presents with such joy, but they were so proud too.  Proud of where they came from and where they are now.  They should be so proud, I know I am.  They're really just incredible <3



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