Many children are adopted from Vietnam’s orphanages and children’s homes. At Tam Ky Baby Orphanage, a few of the smaller children were to be adopted by overseas parents, but not many. Five of the children were unknowingly waiting for their new families to collect them. It was lovely to hold these children and talk to them of the spectacular change that was journeying towards them.
I wondered if we would meet the adoptive parents of the babies and I learned this was down to chance, if we were there when the parents arrived then so be it. We were interested to meet the parents of course and share in this little moment, but more than anything I wanted to tell them how much we loved their baby. The days the parents were expected to arrive were jumbled and changed, so after a while our thoughts drifted from the specifics and we learned a little of the patience that the parents had no doubt been living and breathing.
One day, we arrived to find two babies gone. One of the volunteers managed to find out that they had been collected by their parents the evening before. We had no idea this was imminent and giggled with pleasure and surprise. We had not said goodbye, not seen the ecstatic faces of their new lives, not shared stories of these beautiful babies before they left for their new homes. Looking into the baby rooms we found their cots had gone too, as if they had never been there. A baby girl and a baby boy had disappeared in the night.
I found myself not sad that I had not said goodbye and waved them off. Instead I thought, Thank God. I hoped everyday from that day on to to come to the orphanage and find another little soul gone, to loving arms, without trace.
To any baby, any child, any teenager, any adult, that has left an orphanage with their parents, I will share the words I did not have the opportunity to say to the little souls I loved about the promises I had whispered to them as they were in my arms, in a strange language, in this bare place.
“Didn’t I tell you they were coming for you?”.