These kids were so cute. We were having a tour of the facility and came upon all these girls. They were so happy to see us. They kept saying "hello" in English. Then they would say, " my name is _____". Then they'd laugh. They love speaking English and having us understand them. We were swarmed in a matter of seconds. This orphanage is for children 6-16 years old. They have 157 children housed on 4 floors. They said 67 children are under State Protection. I think that means they were permanently removed from their parents. The Director said that the children here do not get adopted because they are older and people just want younger children. That was so sad. They also go to school at the orphanage. The second Orphanage houses about 82 children who are 3-18 years of age. They said they have about 20 children a year get adopted. They go to school in the community. The director said some of the children have been adopted by Mormon families from America. We were very impressed with both orphanages. The first one the children were housed in dormitory style rooms with about 6-8 beds in each room. They have been doing alot of remodeling in the last 2 years and had a very impressive facility. The children's rooms were so clean it was hard to believe children actually slept there. They had separate floors for the girls and boys and each floor had a very nice lounge with a big screen TV. They even had a gym with a basketball hoop. They had a recreation room with a ping pong table and very old weights. I think their request for Humanitarian Aide may be for some weights for the rec room or exercise equipment. We visited the classrooms while the students were in class and it was so cute. They would all stand up when we walked in. One class had 6 year- olds who said they don't know English they are studying French so they all wanted to show us what they could say in French. Elder Kinghorn said he could take any one of them home they were so adorable. They all had little black and white clothing on skirts, vest, sweaters. The teacher was very proud to tell us, "this is not just for the holiday, they look this nice everyday". It was a much nicer facility than I could have imagined, however, the sad fact is this is their "home." This was very apparent to me when we entered the hallway where the 3-5 year- olds were in their beds napping, with their little shirts and pants laying neatly on the chairs next to their beds. As we walked by and saw a few of them stirring I thought of how Wyatt and Monroe like to crawl into our laps when they wake up and just "snuggle" for a little while. Where do these little children wander off to when they wake from their naps and whose arms hold them? Who tucks them in at night and who do teaches them to pray to Heavenly Father. Yes, these were nice facilities but there is no substitute for a HOME. These children are being raised without parents. I can't imagine what it would be like to grow up not having a family. The other thing that is hard to comprehend is these children go to camps in America where people come to see them to decide if they might adopt them. I can't imagine what the rejection feels like when they are not selected and they must return to the orphanage. They already have to live knowing their birth parents didn't want them and then they have to continually be disappointed when they meet potential adoptive parents who do not want them either.
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|From Health Fair|
To listen to this talk you will need to put the music on pause first
Sometimes we forget what divine gifts we have been given. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints