As we board the plane headed for Shanghai, I reflect on the last few weeks with a sense of wonder. What a truly profound experience. The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City… all seem to pale in comparison to meeting our new family and friends at The New Hope Foundation.
It’s beginning to dawn on me that the toughest part of our journey will be the “good-byes”. Saying farewell to our new pals was pure anguish. Ray-Ray, Au Jun, Mao Mao, Luke, Shannon, Katie, Dr. Joyce and Robin, Dr. Steve & The Martins, The Moore Family, all the mamas ( nurses) and so many others.
My kids and I have had the great honor of experiencing the lives of some remarkable children. Each one welcomed us, allowed us to be part of their daily routines, shared their warmth, their laughter, their tears… I know it sounds a tad melodramatic, but I’m at a loss for how else to express the immensity of our experience and love for these kids.
These guys aren’t just your average kids. As fate would have it, they have been lucky enough to be taken in by the New Hope Foundation … their lives changed forever. Each of these kids comes with a tragic tale of abandonment, physical challenge, and very little hope for a future.
But because the stars aligned, or god blessed them, or the random-ness of the universe would deem it so, these guys won the lottery thanks to Dr. Joyce and Robin Hill. Saved from either sure death or an uncertain existence of pain and suffering, these kids have received the medical attention to either walk again, smile again, talk again, see again, or just to live again. And it’s all topped with a ton of loving kindness and nurturing from the incredible staff at The New Hope Foundation.
My experience with these kids is hard to describe. Quiet moments with them sitting on my lap, or carrying them in my arms, or just waving and smiling from across the room… from playing in a plastic ball pit, to the jungle gym outside, or swimming with the kids in the pool. Greeted in the morning with Ni Hao… which means hello… with smiles… hugs, extended hands with the hopes of being held… all this has truly had a deep effect on me. Cathartic really…
See, I fancied myself a guy who knew the world. Who had a rough and tumble childhood myself with tons of tragedy of my own. With a loss of both of my parents by the age of 8, I thought I had joined the ranks of hard knocks…
But I’m the luckiest man alive… I have two beautiful healthy boys, my own health, a cool career, friends and family that are there for me…. Life is good. I have a new gauge in which to count my blessings.
And still one has to think of all the kids who don’t have the good fortune of being one of the chosen few at New Hope. Of the kids all over the world who still suffer and sit at death’s door without someone to come along and save them. I wish for a million New Hope Foundations… I guess there will always be kids to save on the planet…. I honor the people that find it in the hearts to be selfless and make a difference.
Here is the link to a short film on The New Hope Foundation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvMME-2dJ40
Oh, yeah, The Great Wall was awesome. I took a moment to remember my tribe who spoke up and were heard at Tiananmen Square… Got a kick out of standing in front of the huge picture of Mao hanging over the entrance to The Forbidden City…. And walking through the Forbidden City made me want to see The Last Emperor again and wish I could have lived at that time and experienced the majesty of all that… of course as royalty….
So we are being spoiled on two fronts. The joys of experiencing the awe of different sights and cultures, and secondly and most importantly, the joys of being of service. I hope that our efforts here abroad make a small dent in these angels hearts… because they have opened ours fully.
And, of course, I’ll give you an update in Shanghai…. Anxious to check it out and the boys and I will look out for Shanghai Lil. We’ll let you know if we come across her.
P.S. – Big Shout out to LEGO! They came through with their promise and Buck has been giving out huge shipments of Lego to all the kids. The kids in our locations are loving them!
Guess the joys of Lego is just universal!!! Play on….