Back to Where She Once Belonged, Part III: The Foster Home

Read about the trip Lisa and Juliet too to China in Back to Where She Once Belonged, Part I

Read about the monuments in Back to Where She Once Belonged, Part II

Part III: The Foster Home

Story by Lisa DeNike Ercolano
Photos by Juliet Ercolano (photo of Juliet was taken by Lisa)

I still dream at night about the babies and children we saw at Alenah’s Home.

The big sunny playroom at Alenah's

The big sunny playroom at Alenah’s

Tucked snugly away amongst a series of other traditional Beijing hutong houses, sunny, well-scrubbed and cozy Alenah’s is home to about 20 orphaned babies and children with special medical needs.
This spirited little boy was very friendly and loves visitors!

This spirited little boy was very friendly and loves visitors!

There’s the baby girl with big, serious eyes and a rosebud mouth. She has a congenital heart condition and needs surgery, and all she wants is for someone to hold her and sing to her. (Juliet did — for about three hours!)

Juliet holding one of the babies at Alenah’s

And then there’s the six-year-old boy who is paralyzed from the waist down from a previous surgery to repair the meningocele he was born with. Certain that others will reject him, this clever boy puts up a defensive front whenever approached. But if you show him you are really interested in him, he opens up like the sun coming out from behind the clouds.

These children and more come to Alenah’s from orphanages and other sites throughout China to receive expert medical care available in the capital city.

But just as badly as they need medical care (surgeries, medicine, therapy), they need love — and lots of it. And they get it at the home, which is staffed by 14 gentle, caring “ayis” (the Chinese word for “auntie” or “caregiver”) and a series of loving volunteers.

The ayis and some volunteers in the back courtyard at playtime

The “ayis” and some volunteers in the back courtyard at playtime

Alenah’s is run by Children’s Hope International, the wonderful adoption agency that brought Juliet into our lives. (CHI is headquartered in St. Louis in the US and in Beijing in China.) Melody Zhang (Zhang Wen) is the director of Alenah’s and of the Beijing Office of Children’s Hope there. Deeply committed to children’s rights, Melody and her team at Alenah’s have managed to care for more than 70 of these children since the home opened in 2004, and 20 of them have been adopted.
Meal time is a very happy time at the foster home

Meal time is a very happy time at the foster home

Juliet and I fell in love with the children there and are looking for ways to help them. We would love to be able to return next summer and spend a few weeks helping the caretakers.

If you want to know more about Alenah’s Home and its mission, watch this little news clip about it:

http://www.adoptblog.childrenshope.net/2013/05/a-visit-to-chi-foster-home.html

Comments

  1. Lisa, another blogger who was adopted from India is writing about his first trip back to India and the orphanage he lived in. Here is a link to his newest post about meeting the children.
    http://stuckout.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/the-orphanage-part-ii-meeting-the-kids/ He’s been writing in different posts about his trip, too.

  2. That last picture gave me a massive smile. Really inspirational.

    Thanks for linking to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out

    • Lisa Ercolano says:

      Sarah, that little boy made me smile from ear to ear. He was happy and toddling around the entire time we were there. So cute — but then again, all of them are.

  3. Wow – what an amazing place this looks!

  4. Sue Henry says:

    Thanks so much for writing this, Lisa! And the photographs are perfect! (from Sue H)

    • Lisa Ercolano says:

      Sue! Thanks for reading! If you feel like writing something, my friend Luanne who runs this blog would love it!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Read about Juliet’s foster home in Back to Where She Once Belonged, Part III […]

  2. […] Back to Where She Once Belonged, Part III: The Foster Home (dontwelookalike.com) […]

  3. […] Read about Juliet’s foster home in Back to Where She Once Belonged, Part III […]

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