Being a Chinese adoptee, I was super nervous about going to work at a Chinese orphanage. I had no idea what to expect or how I would be able to communicate with the language barrier. I did not know the age of the kids or the conditions of the orphanage. I came in with an open mind and open arms.
On the first day, the workers greeted us with welcoming faces and open arms and immediately led us to little kids who could not have been more than four-years-old. The kids were a little timid at first but their blank expressions quickly turned into smiles. In that moment I knew this experience was going to change my life.
The kids taught me a lot about myself. They were just so happy and all smiles despite what little they had. It made me more appreciative of what all I have. I was able to work with different children of various ages giving them individual attention and I think that is all they wanted. Seeing the kids faces light up by simply letting them sit in your lap or giving them a high-five was more than enough. I was very humbled and touched and these children will always have a special place in my heart.
This was my first service trip with Gladney and I was glad it was to China. Being able to come back to the country I was adopted from was an experience of a lifetime. I was able to experience Chinese culture (including some yummy food!!), work with and learn from wonderful children and staff at the orphanage, and meet some amazing adults and other teenagers who also were on the trip. This trip was more than I could have ever asked for and it would not have been possible without Gladney. I am so thankful for the love and support of Gladney and also very thankful for a life-changing trip.
- Meigan, age 18, Louisiana
When I heard about the Gladney trip to China, I was really excited. Not only was I going to spend about two weeks with other adoptees but, I would get to spend about three days with children in an orphanage. I have been to other countries to help children in need but, this was totally different. I have studied Mandarin for about two years and now I finally got to use it. I was extremely excited for the trip.
One the first day at the orphanage, I was blown away by what I saw. This was an orphanage that helped children with special needs. They help with children in so many ways and the staff were always smiling. The children were so excited to see us and jumped up and down when they saw us. The children have had much love from the staff and they were always smiling. Their smiles brighten my day when I saw them and their laughs were so cute.
The last couple of days went by really fast. They could pick up on English really fast and they loved being with us. They never ran out of energy and I was so sad for them to leave. They have left a hand print on my heart that would never fade. I will hopefully get to sponsor one of the children and they have changed me so much. I will miss them greatly.
- Sara Beth, age 14, Tennessee