Thursday, November 5, 2009

Life's Most Important Lesson

Henry, ready for an Imagination Movers concertTen wheelchairs, two more with built-in commode seats, seven ambulatory shower chairs, three shower benches, two hearing aids, 53 children's winter coats, and 20 pairs of insulated winter pants. That's what Love Without Boundaries was able to deliver to the Pingliang Social Welfare Institute using funds that some of you contributed. (See previous post.)

Henry won't be defined by his humble start in life and we know that eventually he will carve out his own special place in the world. But for now his history seems important by example because the other children still at the Pingliang orphanage are important too, as are all abandoned children with special medical needs throughout China and the rest of the developing world. That such a child who so needed one today has the safe future most of us take for granted is a clear reminder of life's most important lesson: that hope, love, and help are chiefly among all other things verbs.

That almost anyone so easily can help provide a disabled child in an orphanage with a wheelchair, or supply a shivering child there with a winter coat, is simple proof of exactly the same thing.

We worry about the children at the Pingliang orphanage and how more than 120 of them have special needs from birth defects, like Henry. Families in China rarely adopt special needs children for the same reasons so many are abandoned there. And from all of Gansu Province, a very large place, there were only about 50 foreign adoptions last year. China will do more for its people but rural Chinese, nearly a billion people, earn an average $2 per day and migration of rural workers has made it more difficult to track and control disease. Increasingly, living environments there can be contaminated by pollution. All of which increases the likelihood of birth anomalies among newborns and, in turn, of more abandoned children with special needs winding up in orphanages or worse. None of which decreases what each of us can do even in small ways to make a big difference for these children, discarded save for in this case the care of an overstretched orphanage staff. From Pingliang: tè bié gǎn xiè (grateful thanks).

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