The Heart of Every Orphanage

This week, WACAP’s travels in China continued. China Case Manager Lindsey Gilbert shares her thoughts about those who care for children as they wait.

At the heart of every orphanage are the nannies, the people caring day and night for children who have no one else. So often I see people lament the care and conditions in orphanages, and it’s true that no orphanage is a replacement for a family. However, in all my visits to orphanages I haven’t seen a lack of caring. In fact, I see women who care deeply for the children they are entrusted with, who are doing all they can to meet the needs of children, often in spite of understaffing and limited resources.

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A nanny in China provides care and comfort to a child who waits for a family

In Liaocheng, the first orphanage we visited, volunteer physical therapist Pat Marcus had been asked to do a training in the afternoon to help them provide better care to children with cerebral palsy. When we came into the room, instead of just a few physical therapists it appeared that every nanny in the orphanage had come! They were all so eager to know how to help their children thrive and achieve more.

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Nannies learn physical therapy skills from WACAP volunteer Pat Marcus

In every orphanage we’ve visited, we have brought a photo book of children from that orphanage who are now home. Every time we hand it over to the nannies they all crowd around, so thrilled to see how the children they love are doing now. I love hearing them call out each name as they turn the page, commenting to each other how this one’s hair has grown and that one has gotten chubby! Whether it’s the nanny who holds a baby every time he sleeps because the doctor says it’s bad for him to cry while recovering from surgery, or the nannies who clap with excitement when they hear that  the first child with Down syndrome from their orphanage has been matched with a family, it’s clear that in all these places, these children are deeply loved. In the greatest act of love, these caregivers are the ones preparing the children for adoption, showing them photos of their new mothers and fathers, and ultimately helping them into their new families.

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Seeing photos of children they once cared for brings joy to a group of nannies


LindseyGilbertAbout China Case Manager Lindsey Gilbert: Lindsey became a member of WACAP’s China team in 2011, after joining WACAP as a volunteer. She’s helped numerous families through their adoption process, and now dedicates her time to advocating for waiting children and matching them with families. In addition to her work with waiting children, she manages WACAP’s Thailand program. When not at work, Lindsey can be found in the garden, on a hiking trail, or volunteering to help others, with husband Geoff and dogs Quincy and Ross by her side.

About WACAP

WACAP (World Association for Children and Parents) is one of the largest and most experienced international nonprofit adoption and child assistance agencies in the United States. Since 1976, we’ve placed over 10,000 children with loving adoptive parents and provided food, medical care and education to more than 200,000 children around the world.
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One Response to The Heart of Every Orphanage

  1. Pingback: Saturday Snapshot | wacap

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