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.
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.
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.
About 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.