It is always interesting to me how if you are able to spend time with people in a place you travel to, the time is often more memorable. While in Beijing, we were delighted to be able to visit with some friends & acquaintances of Jason's parents who made our brief time in Beijing richer.
We got to stop in for a quick visit with the beautiful Burns family - Isaiah & Elijah are 5 months old and pretty darn cute!
One of the things I will remember most about our trip to Beijing was our stop at Shepherd's Field Orphanage to visit Spokan-ites Clay & Jewel Floch who oversee this special place. The orphanage cares for children with special needs and is like no other orphanage I have ever heard about. The children live in a beautiful "home" type situation with a one caregiver to every 2 to 3 children. They were clean, happy and playing together in a well-lit, lovely home.
As many of you know, I've never really been a "kid-person." I coo over and play with other people's children because I know it is what I should do. With the birth of my first nephew 7 years ago and the arrival of 3 more since then, my heart has been pierced with the love it is possible to have for children and I've found myself warming up to children more. Evenso, walking into a room of special needs children is intimidating for me. I wonder to myself, what type of interaction can I have with the boy who's head is twice as big as it should be or will the autistic child have a bad episode if I touch him?
Pushing my fears aside, I plop myself down on the spongy play mat and smile at one of the boys. He smiles back and start showing me how well he can spin a toy. We play catch for a long time together. Later, I find myself inspecting small bits of string with the autistic boy and my lap is filled with young girls showing off their finger nail polish. When it comes time to say goodbye, I expect the children to be clingy and disappointed. Instead, they cheerily wave, smile and say "Zai-Jian," then return to their toys and friends.
Their faces will by in my memory for a very long time.