Monkey in the Middle
The sun is beating down on us, and if it weren’t for the straw hat they gave me I would probably be a puddle. Of course, the kids aren’t content just sitting in the shade drinking from a fresh coconut, so what are we doing? Running around playing soccer and trying to avoid the sharp metal hiding in the grass. I’m the “monkey,” so I am in the middle trying to intercept the ball as they kick it around the circle laughing. I tell myself I am going easy on them, but like I said, it is quite hot and they are much more used to the heat than I am.
As we play, my mind leaves the game and starts to realize the significance of this moment. These aren’t just any kids in SE Asia. They have no idea who I am, but I recognize these kids the moment I see them. These are children on our photolisting who are waiting for families — kids who I’ve written about and tried to bring to life through words many times in waiting child posts.
Often in my job it can feel like there is a disconnect between myself and the people we serve. I can forget that they are kids who are full of life with unique personalities, passions and desires. As I look around the circle and see their smiling faces, I am reminded of the weight that comes with the work we do, and the opportunity we all have to change real lives.
Later that week, I had the opportunity to be there when a 16-year-old boy I advocated for on social media and the blog met his adoptive family for the first time (see video). I’m not a huge fan of showing my emotions, so thankfully I could hide behind the camera. But in that moment, it once again hit me that while it’s easy to feel removed as we sit at our desks in the United States, real peoples’ lives are positively changed because of the work we do.
Daniel Hespen | Marketing Specialist – Family Recruitment
Since being back…
Two of the kids that I played soccer with have found families! However, there are still some who are waiting for a family.
One in particular who is still waiting is my little friend Vincent. He is a sweet kid who loves to have fun with his friends and is thoughtful about the needs of others. I saw him quietly observing the other kids in the orphanage and looking out for those who were younger.
Vincent needs a family that is knowledgeable about older child adoption and has access to a good educational system. Could you or someone you know be the right family for him?