GO! It’s an experience like no other….
CHI arranged Lisa and Juliette Ercolano’s visit to China this summer. They spent only one day at Alenah’s Home, but they are planning now to return next year. They hope to spend more time playing with the kids, getting to know the staff and just connecting to the plight of special needs orphans in China, Below is a little interview with Lisa upon their return from this year’s visit:
What inspired you to return to China this year?
I had only been an adoptive mother for about three hours when I first began to think and talk about bringing my new daughter back to China to explore her country and her roots. “We have to make sure to visit China several times during her childhood, maybe when she is 8 and again at 12 or 13,” I told my husband. We had every good intention of making that plan come true, except something interfered: life! The main reason we didn’t return sooner was because Juliet is a serious, pre-professional level ballet dancer, and had to spend her summers in class and training. Suddenly, it was her senior year of high school and we hadn’t gone. So my husband and I made a decision: it WOULD happen this year, right after Juliet’s graduation. So we did. We knew it was important to Juliet and so, it was important to us.
How did you feel about visiting Alenah’s Home? Juliet and I did a lot of exciting, fun and rewarding things on our two week trip, but the morning we spent at Alenah’s was the absolute highlight. One hour into the visit, Juliet turned to me and said “I wish we could stay here for the whole two weeks.” She immediately felt a kinship with the babies and children at the home, and she reached out to them wholeheartedly. She fell in love with one of the babies (Ke Yu) particularly, and continues to talk about her, look at her photo, and so on. I felt much the same way. Even now, we are discussing how to make sure we can return next summer and spend several weeks to a month working at the home.
Do you feel your visit made a difference to the kids at Alenah’s?
I sure hope so!I have to believe that the babies and children could feel and see that we were truly concerned about them, and want the best for them.I also have to believe that having people like us come in and play with the kids, feed them and care for them communicates an important lesson to these children: that there are people out there who love them, and that they are important.
What did you learn? Are you changed in any way?
We both learned that we want to contribute in some meaningful way, through volunteer hours and perhaps donations of some kind, to Alenah’s. We also learned (did not know) that most of the children and babies available for adoption from China today are special needs kids.
How will your life be different now that you have visited China his year?
Juliet’s life is different now because this was the first visit she has made to her home country since she was adopted at six months of age. She no longer has to imagine what China looks like, smells like and feels like, or what it’s people are like. She knows first hand, at least on a superficial level. And she wants more: she wants to come back and work at Alenah’s, and she wants to study abroad in China as part of her college courses. She is now truly motivated to learn Chinese and has enrolled in a class. As for me, I dreamed all my life of visiting China and finally got to do so when we adopted Juliet. This visit back was amazing for me: I loved every moment of it (OK, except the squat toilets!) and I, too, look forward to going back.
What would you tell other mothers and/or daughters thinking about visiting?
GO! It’s a mother-daughter experience like no other.
CONTACT US to explore the possibilities for your RETURN TO CHINA and visit to Alenah’s Home.