By Brenda Jarjoura, WISS Parent

jarjoura-familyAs an adult, I look back on my childhood and think of the other children around the world who are going through the same thing. I was a foster kid who was later adopted. A strange woman came to my kindergarten classroom when I was little and insisted I follow her. The woman took me to her white car with a Commonwealth of Kentucky seal on the side door. I was scared and confused, but as I approached the car, I saw my four older siblings already sitting inside. The woman drove us to our home where we gathered the few belongings we had.  She then took us to our new home and new family. It was a scary and uncertain time for us kids, but we were lucky to all be together. We were also lucky to be healthy and considered “adoptable”.

Going through such an experience made me want to give back to children somehow.  Soon after moving to Shanghai, a friend of mine decided to take in a child from Baobei. He was a beautiful boy! He was always happy! He loved puzzles and he really loved yogurt! Mateo has hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is when there is an excessive amount of fluid in the brain. Thanks to Baobei, Mateo received surgery and was given excellent after-care through the volunteers of Baobei. Mateo later found his forever home and will now be able to live a life he never would have gotten the chance to live otherwise! Mateo’s story really left its mark on me.

Last December, I attended Baobei’s fundraising luncheon where I learned a lot about Baobei. Baobei provides life-saving surgeries and aftercare for Chinese orphans. To date, Baobei has provided over 200 surgeries to children in need. The most amazing thing to me about Baobei is that 100% of donations go directly toward the childrens’ surgeries. At the luncheon, I was in a room with about 100 other people. All of us were listening to Baobei success stories and even seeing and holding some of the beloved Baobei babies! It was quite a moving experience and there was not a dry eye in the room. I was completely humbled and overcome with emotion. The stories really resonated with me. I was truly moved and I knew I wanted to do more for the children of Baobei. Three weeks later, I had Millie in my home. Millie is a stunning eight-year-old girl who also happens to be deaf. Over the past year, Baobei has provided speech therapy for Millie and has even enrolled her in school! Millie will also be going to her forever home in early January!

Soon after I cared for Millie, I was approached and asked to be a part of the fundraising committee for Baobei! I felt honored to be given the opportunity to help and accepted immediately. I have two main roles for Baobei. One role is raising money for surgeries, as that is a huge part of what Baobei does. Another need for Baobei is finding loving, caring homes for the children. Some of the children need care for a short time, other children need to be in healing homes for longer amounts of time. The beauty of it all, is most of these children are placed with their forever homes after they receive the necessary surgeries and care provided by Baobei.

The heartwarming stories of Baobei are endless. I look forward to continuing my involvement with Baobei and I look forward to seeing more children heal and find the love and happiness they deserve. There are many ways to help the children of Baobei and I’m so grateful to play a part in it!

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