About Me

My photo

I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Second Hand Undies and Learning to Fish

We mail a package to Buddy's former orphanage a couple of times a year. Some of his friends still live there and we send it to one of his favorite caregivers. It is a nice way for him to stay in touch with his past.

We usually send some hygiene times, school supplies, and games for the kids. If there are any special requests we try to accommodate them. We also include some recent pictures of Buddy and our whole family.

We only recently started saving clothing to send, since Buddy didn't grow very much the first year we were home. In the last few months he has really shot up, and we have started setting some of the ones he has outgrown aside. We were doing a sort on the weekend and he pulled out several pairs of underwear that were too small and put them in the send pile.

I asked if people donated used underwear to his orphanage. He looked at me like I was crazy and replied; yes, of course they did. I asked if he ever had new underwear when he lived there. Again, he looked at me like I had lost my mind and shook his head no.

Then he did the thing I love, he started telling me a story from his life before we adopted him. I never know when this is going to happen, but when it does I always gain so much insight into why Buddy is the way he is.

In Buddy's orphanage, new clothes were kept aside for when the state inspector would come. These new clothes were proof that the children were being well cared for. For special occasions where "outsiders" would see the children, they were dressed in these new clothes as well. Buddy remembers going to summer camp wearing new shoes on the bus. Once he arrived the shoes were taken back to wait for the return trip.

The majority of the time, all the kids wore clothes that were in pretty bad shape. I can still remember the way Buddy's sneakers smelled when he took them off. He is not a smelly kid, by the way, so that smell pre-dated him. To think that there were new, clean shoes that were being saved for good is pretty hard for all three of us to swallow. Buddy especially seems to have some resentment about it.

I don't question that Buddy's orphanage did the best they could to take care of him. There were so many children and not enough things. I spoke to a friend who also adopted her daughter from the same orphanage and she had some wise insight:

I don't know what the solution is. The government doesn't have the resources to solve all of the problems. There is too much poverty for them to be able to quickly change the direction that led to the institutional situation in the first place. Outside donations are only temporary. Not all of the children there would do well in adoptive homes, so adoption is only the solution for a few of them.

I think very highly of the fine work from all of the caregivers. I miss those children. I loved handing out candies and gifts. I wanted to do so much more, but unfortunately, there is only so much that can be done. It is said that if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, but if you teach that man how to fish you feed him for his life. However, sometimes it's simply not possible to go fishing at all.

It makes me feel sad and helpless.

No comments:

Post a Comment