This afternoon we went to Care Corner Orphanage outside of Chiang Mai. Susan and I were nervous about how we'd respond to meeting the 60 children living there. Would it be too much? Could our hearts handle it? They are incredibly adorable, ranging in age from 5 to 18. We played badminton, soccer, hopscotch and all sorts of hand-slapping and clapping games. It was an amazing experience.
I played Miss Susie had a Steamboat with a little girl who is now deaf because of HIV. I whooped it at badminton with a sweet little girl named lai-lai! Oh the kids. The sweet little kids (even the old ones are little).
Sometimes in the middle of our fun I would look around and realize these kids can't go home. It felt like we were at a camp that never ends. They wake up at 6 am for devotions, do chores, walk to school, come home, do chores/play, eat, play, go to chapel and then bed. Every day, with the exception of the weekend, is like that. Can you imagine what it would feel like to be at camp and to know that you can never go home? I started to feel that trapped feeling. Like, I want to go home, but I can't. I have no where to go. What would it be like to not be able to go home? Especially as a little kid? The world is so big and you're so little. It must be so overwhelming. There's no mom or dad to give hugs, kisses and "there's no place like home" kind of comfort. Really, put yourselves in their shoes for a minute.
I talked with our new friend Naret who is driving us all over the place here. He lived in an orphanage from age 6 to 18. I asked him if he felt lonely a lot. He said it came and went, but that every kid longs for a family. To fight those feelings, Naret said he tried to keep busy during the day "to fill up his time." That's so many years of filling up time.
While all this makes me feel overwhelmed and sad, I also strangely feel thankful. I'm thankful to serve a God who cares deeply for the orphans and widows. In societies that cast them out to the streets, God, creator of the universe, comes to the defense of the least and lost. “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless." - Ex. 22 Whoa. This is hard core. "For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing." - Deut. 10
Seriously, how amazing is this? God's love is so great for the fatherless and motherless that He hears their every prayer, defends them, demands that they be provided for. They may not have their parents caring for them and loving them, but they do have the full attention and affection of the God who created the heavens and the earth.