We don’t remember much of our childhood. Call it a blessing or call it curse – we only hold onto what I like to call, the ‘highlight reel’ of our younger years. We have a vague idea of what our typical day-to-day was like but unless something extremely joyful or traumatic happened we won’t have a vivid memory of it.
One of my memories was a combination of overwhelming happiness & pain and I remember it like it was yesterday. I rolled out of the bottom bunk, looked around the totally rad bedroom I got to share with my big sister (think D.J. and Stephanie Tanner circa 1995), took a deep breath and said to myself, “today is the day.” It was time to dip into my kindergarten savings. I walked down the stairs, went straight to my life-sized pink crayon piggy bank and began to tug. After a 60 second struggle that felt like a lifetime, I hit myself square in the face with the lid of the ‘crayon’, knocking my front tooth to the floor. Through tears, snot and blood I smiled knowing that I was going to have my first run-in with the tooth fairy.
I’m going somewhere with this…..
The young versions of ourselves typically remember things that directly affect us, so I find it pretty remarkable that now, at age 25, I still get the chills EVERYTIME I think back to a documentary I watched when I was 5. My parents were a watching 20/20 episode all about Romania and either a) didn’t know I was paying attention or b) were too shocked and surprised to remember to tell me to look away from the screen. Hundreds of newborn babies were wrapped up and stacked on trays, similar to bread at a bakery, and wheeled into rooms of an ‘orphanage’. The eerie part was that none of them were crying. In the first few weeks of life they had already learned that crying didn’t mean help was on its way. They were silent.
The documentary went on to show images of toddlers tied to cribs, or pipes, lying in their own excrement. They were starving, sick and most (if not all), were mentally and physically handicapped.
Since airing the documentary, many Americans have done everything in their power to help these children but it’s not always successful. Americans interested in adopting STILL face bureaucratic roadblocks.
I’ve made it a mission of mine to get to Romania and spend time with children who need a caregiver, a teacher, or even a friend. I know that most of the children who were in that documentary are now my age, if they made it out alive. There are still THOUSANDS of children in that same squalor.
This kind-hearted Kiwi is doing a HUGE part in the movement to save these Children - What an inspiration she is.
You can't 'unlearn' something. I was educated about this country & its orphans for a reason. While I don't think I can go change an entire nation, I CAN make a difference in at least one child's life. (Remember Ollie from South Africa? She wasn't even crawling when we arrived and we had her STANDING in 4 short weeks!) There's always hope.
Will keep you updated!