This fall, WACAP’s Thailand Program Manager Lindsey Gilbert and Vice President of International Adoptions Mary Moo traveled to Thailand, returning with the faces of the children they met on their minds … and with an urgent message. Below, Lindsey paints a vivid picture of three children who need a family today.
“This is their last chance,” the social worker said during our visit to the Thai Red Cross, one of the orphanages we work with in Thailand. We were going through the list of children currently waiting to be adopted, and had come to the last three of the visit: Jason, Penny, and Kip. “If they do not find a family soon, we will have to send them back to the government orphanage,” the caregiver said.
Our hearts all sunk at this because we all understood that moving these children not only meant that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to be adopted, but it also meant them leaving the only home they’d ever known. Any new orphanage would be without the familiar faces of the caregivers they loved, and who loved them. And within a larger orphanage with more children needing support, their new caregivers would also be in higher demand.
I looked over at Jason, Penny and Kip, and heard the caregiver’s insistence.
Here were three children she knew today, that soon, would not be known to her. “This is their last chance.”
“No pressure,” I thought, feeling the urgency she felt.
Jason, Penny, and Kip are children WACAP has seen multiple times over the years as we’ve traveled to Thailand. We have watched them grow from toddlers into big kids, but as they’ve grown we’ve been able to see the incredible progress each of them has made! Beyond that, we’ve also had the chance to see beyond diagnoses and labels, and get a glimpse of the amazing child each one is.
I know that Penny loves dressing up princess dolls, and helping the nannies take care of the younger children. I can see what an amazing big sister she would be.
Kip has the kindest heart; whenever he buys something while at school, he will always share it with the other children. If a nanny looks tired, he will offer them a backrub. His mom would be so lucky.
Jason is always in a good mood! He loves to dance and has a great sense of rhythm. A helper at heart, his favorite activity at school is planting trees. I can just see him helping his dad in the garden.
Sometimes people ask me … “Why do you work in Thailand? If Thailand has such a small international adoption program and agencies like WACAP place just a handful of children for adoption every year … is it worth it?”
My answer … It is worth it to each of those children.
I know that if Penny, Kip, or Jason could find a family, it would be worth everything to them.
About Thailand Program Manager Lindsey Gilbert: Lindsey became a member of WACAP’s China adoption team in 2011, after joining WACAP as a volunteer. She’s helped numerous families through their adoption process as a case manager, and she currently dedicates her time to both managing WACAP’s Thailand program as well as advocating for waiting children in China. 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.