What it’s like to be an orphan

It’s sad to think there are millions of children around the world who don’t have parents or a family. Imagine growing up not knowing if you had a mother or father somewhere in the world, who love you or think about you. All you know is the walls of the orphanage and the other children without families. In China, there many orphans who are left abandoned by their parents. Sometimes, parents do not have the money to raise a child. Other times, children are abandoned only because of their disability.

In Huayang, there are many children who suffer from disabilities and do not get the care they need. Many of the disabilities can be treated and some diseases can even be cured. A child who cannot hear will benefit from a hearing aid. A child who has Multiple Sclerosis can get treatment to grow up like a normal child. Children who have Down Syndrome can receive training and attend special schools to one day be an independent adult. However, Huayang is not a rich orphanage. There’s only so much the staff can do.

Many babies in orphanages cry all the time. Some cry because they are in pain, but many cry because they feel alone and want to be loved. Because many of the babies are not adopted, they do not get the love and attention they need, and they become weak. Once they become weak, they cannot eat and they cannot grow.

A lack of nutrients from proper feeding can stunt physical growth and cause developmental issues. Without a healthy diet, the chances of a child having mental and physical disabilities increases as they get older. ADHD, OCD, Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Depression are just a few.

Because orphaned children have never felt the warmth and love from a family, they withdraw from reality. Instead of playing with their friends and having big smiles on their face, they become anti-social, are not happy or have no energy, and are depressed.

There is hope.

Regularly volunteering to visit children in orphanages, helping the staff with feeding and cleaning, and playing and talking to children helps. A lot. When orphaned children notice someone is trying to speak to them, is trying hard to play with them, their faces brighten up. When babies are picked up, cuddled and played with, they stop crying. Orphaned children feel happy there is someone coming to see them and play with them.

Many of the children have serious diseases or developmental issues. But just like you, they want to feel loved. Giving children love and attention will make them happier and stronger. With a collective effort, the future of children at Huayang and specialist schools can be brighter.

Give your heart. Together, we are A Heart for China.

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