After our very indulgent Christmas Eve dinner where we stuffed ourselves with all the culinary sins my mom’s hands could make, she decided we spend Christmas day at St. Rita’s Orphanage in Sucat with the kids. We spent her birthday last year at the orphanage, too, and I had a lot of fun interacting with the kids. We brought food, had games, and gave gifts. I had a great time last year so I was looking forward to spending more time with the kids.
I love the kids at St. Rita’s Orphanage. They are sweet and well-behaved. They also cooperate during the games. They ask to be carried, they hold your hand, and they play with you. My theory is that they want more attention than what they get from the sisters running the place.
Surprisingly, St. Rita’s is well-maintained. All the kids have new clothes and footwear. Their beds, rooms, and interiors are clean. It’s all air-conditioned, and one of the rooms even has a TV. But because of the number of kids, only babies are “babied,” and those in advanced years are treated like adults.
One of the kids gravitated towards me during our time there. We’re not allowed to take their pictures, and we’re not allowed to publish their names, but let’s call the kid Rudolph. He wouldn’t participate during the games, so I would encourage him to go back to the group. One time, he was running away and he tripped. Just when he was about to cry, I scooped him up, and he spent the entire afternoon there, and would cry when I put him down. Once, one of the sweet girls sat on my lap and Rudolph cried and pushed her away. When the girl wouldn’t leave my lap, he lay on the floor and didn’t move, even when my brother tried to play with him. Rudolph is the sweetest, he would always offer his cheek to me when I say “Kiss.”
The infants were just as affectionate. We went up to the nursery to visit the younger kids, and as soon as you reach your arms out, they offer theirs in return to be carried. They’re trusting kids and it made me happy to carry them.
The last time we were there, another kid spent the entire time sitting on my lap. I forgot his name, and our photos together are in my broken iPhone (we can take pictures, but we’re not allowed to publicize it). There was also a problem child who wouldn’t participate and would spend the time sitting away from us. When we encourage him to play, he would cry. Right when we were about to leave, he went up to me and sat on my lap. Both kids were gone when I went there for Christmas, which is good because it means a family adopted them and gave them the love they deserve.
Most of the kids during Christmas were new, except for a few (some were just waiting for their paperwork, while others have not been adopted yet). While I’m glad that I got to see them again, it also makes me feel sad because they spent another year in the orphanage.
We spent two hours with the kids, and when we left, a sister had to peel Rudolph off my arms, and he cried as he was being led away. I couldn’t look at him because I was afraid I would cry, too.
In the receiving area, a framed copy of the poem Legacy of an Adopted Child is hung on a wall. It’s a heartbreaking poem about the two mothers an adopted child has. I took a photo, but below is a copy in case you can’t read it:
Once there were two women who never knew each other,
One – you do not remember, the other you call mother.
Two different lives shaped to make yours,
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first gave you life, and the second taught you to live in it.
The first gave you a need for love and the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality; the other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent; the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions; the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile; the other dried your tears.
One gave you up – that’s all she could do.
The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.
Now you ask through all your tears the age-old question through the years;
Heredity or environment – which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling – neither – just two different kinds of love.
I’m thinking of visiting them on my birthday. I hope our Christmas visit will become a yearly tradition. I hope you can go visit them and make their day a little special.
Soon, I’ll have my own child, and he or she will come from St. Rita’s. Rudolph, if you’re still there, you’ll be coming home with me.