Saturday, March 1, 2014

Orphanage – The word conjures up a variety of images depending on one’s experience. The quality of care varies greatly by country and even within country. The variable is not the compassion and dedication of the caregivers. (Just about all are compassionate and dedicated.) The variable is resources.
We saw both ends of the spectrum in the Philippines. At the positive end is Samaritan’s Place, which provides nurturing love, holistic care, spiritual foundation and a family-like environment (husbands and wives as house-parents) for the kids in their care.

At the other end was the government-run orphanage, where in one room a single caregiver was watching over 24 boys, some with special needs. She was doing her best, but her task seemed nearly impossible. And yet she had been there for 20 years!
Somewhere in the middle was a private orphanage for mentally-handicapped kids. Certainly under-resourced, but creative with what they had. As an example, we witnessed a very moving scene which takes place at meal-time where the mildly-retarded feed those who are more severe. The “feeders” are very intense about their task. It was apparent that they felt a sense of dignity from handling this important function and it was touching to watch.

There is an ongoing debate in our field – build more orphanages vs empty the orphanages. It’s not hard to understand the legitimacy of both positions when you’ve had the opportunity to see the extremes.


Susan Berry said...

Hello Frank,
It was certainly a God ordained appointment for Kent and I to meet and spend time with you at Samaritan's Place! We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship between SP and Gladney, as we work together to build families through adoption.

Pam Moore said...

I certainly agree that Samaritan's Place is on the positive side of the orphanage spectrum. From personal experience and as a member of the Board for Friends of Samaritan's Place, I have seen how they love the children in their care and create a family environment while at the orphanage, while still getting them prepared and looking forward to a forever family. Marc and Marilen Morris are amazing!