Essay On My Visit To An Orphanage

This is an essay written by one of my Chinese students, Linda Huang, currently in Grade 6.

A Visit to an Orphanage

It was the May Day holiday, and I was so bored. Then mom asked me, “Would you like to go to the orphanage with me?” “Sure!” I replied heartily.

The orphanage was far from the downtown, we needed thirty minutes to get there by car. After thirty minutes, we arrived. That was my first time at the orphanage. The building was a villa, it looked very luxurious.

First I saw the playground, there were many things belonging to the orphans on it. The inside of the orphanage was pretty clean, but we also needed to wipe the floor. Mom and I worked hard there, after we wiped the floor, we went upstairs to clean the beds which the orphans slept on. This work used up much of my time. Because I have mysophobia, I could not let the bed go dirty.

After we have finished all the work, mom and I played with the orphans. They were so cute, and they were only one or two years old. I liked an orphan best, his name was Lele. He was lovely. I played with him all the time, he never cried when I was there. I felt excited when I was in the orphanage.

Soon it was time for me to go. I said good-bye to them all. I was so happy that I could help them, but sad because they have no parents. But the orphans were also happy, because now they lived in an orphanage. That day, I had a meaningful morning.

I ended the day with gladness and delight.


I’ve started this post several times. Each time, the blank screen stares back at me until I resign to turn off the computer and try again another day.

Day Four: visiting the orphanage

I really don’t know how to accurately describe the despair and emptiness and gripping desperation we saw and experienced that Tuesday afternoon in a small orphanage in Kinshasa. I feel the tears beginning to surface as I type and think back to that day.

As we drove through the dirt streets covered in garbage and waste and inhaled the fumes of diesel and charcoal and thick smog in the air, I strived to take a mental image of the scenes as we drove past {I so badly wanted to take a photo but knew it was illegal, so my mental images would be all I had to carry home with me}. I attempted to force to memory the image of the little boy running through the dirt with his handmade stick car being pulled by a tattered twine rope. I observed the women balancing heavy buckets on their heads while they carried young children on their backs. I tried to absorb the sights and sounds and smells and commit them to memory.

As we inched closer to the orphanage, her orphanage, I knew that we were passing the streets where our daughter spent her first months on this earth. My heart ached as I gazed out the window of our van. I had to remind myself to breathe, as I sat in disbelief watching this world, her world, pass by. It was truly unlike anything I had seen or experienced before. Knowing that our precious girl had lived here in this place left me numb.

Our arrival at the orphanage was met with shrieks of joy and sweet, quiet voices whispering “Thank you!” in an effort to express gratitude in our own language. I tried to look into each set of eyes as they came up for hugs. I wanted to just hold them all tightly and tell them they are dearly loved by our Father in Heaven. I wished I could sweep them away from this place and show them that the world outside of those gates can be bright and vibrant and beautiful.

Their eyes each told a story. A story of loss and despair. Each set of eyes reflected a haunted little soul beneath. I will never, ever forget these children. They are etched in my heart always. The way they eagerly reached out to touch our arms and legs, craving affection. The gratitude they felt for small things that I would normally take for granted. A soft mattress to sleep on at night, a cold drink, a small toy. Small, simple things.

The children performed a few songs for us and then we passed out snacks and some toys. We also distributed rosaries donated by Dave’s parent’s church. The kids were so excited to have something of their own.

These children. They are living in conditions that are literally worse than anything we would allow animals to live in here in the US. Yet, they are so sweet and kind. They look out for one another. The older kids take care of the younger ones. They laugh and smile. A flicker of hope still shines.

The floor above is where the boys have all slept. They will now have a mattress at night. Thanks to so many generous, kind people who donated to help us purchase these mattresses.

Bunks in girl’s room… before new mattresses. 
The mattresses. It was an honor to be able to deliver these.

Dave played soccer with the boys {with the small ball that was not taken by the customs authorities at the airport – yes, a lady actually asked us if the soccer balls were for the kids and when we said, “yes” she told us she was taking one} while I just sat and held children. They piled on my lap and played with the hair on my arms, thinking it was so funny. It was so hard to sit there, with these precious, innocent children in my arms knowing that this was a special luxury for them. They do not have anyone to hold them when they are sick or scared at night in the darkness {most nights, there is no power}. For this one day, I was able to give them the gift of a momma’s arms to hold them tightly. If only for a brief moment, I was given the awesome privilege of showing them that they are special and loved.

The kids loved to see their pictures on the screen…
Dancing 🙂 
Dr. Laure. She is such a gift to these children. Her joy is contagious.

We also learned more details about S’s past. It was harder to hear than I thought it would be. I hadn’t realized it, but I had subconsciously fabricated a story in my mind of what she had been through. When I heard the truth, well, I just wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was. Books and lectures and stories from other parents can’t prepare you for that information. It was a hard, hard day.

We left feeling heavy, exhausted and incredibly sad. Dave and I spent the drive home holding hands in silence as the tears fell.

**I’m recording memories from our time in Congo one day at a time. I want to share all of these precious moments, yet, it’s daunting to try to sit down and write out the entirety of our trip in one post. One day at a time is less overwhelming. Read Day One HERE, Day Two HERE, Day Three HERE & Day Four Part 1 HERE.** 

Filed Under: UncategorizedTagged With: Adoption, DRC, remember this

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