(Actually I think it was more a case of them scaring me - as most of you know I'm not really sure what to do when it comes to small people!!)
Carolyn, who is my partner in crime when it comes to Welfare stuff, had asked me if I would make up the numbers to go on a visit to Pakkred Orphanage. (Her daughter Louise had gone once a week whilst she was here and had been visiting a little boy who she had seen blossom over the summer. She didn't want him to regress so had asked if someone would continue visiting him which was why Carolyn was trying to arrange a trip). How could I say no - They will only put a bus on if there are more than four people visiting so I reluctantly agreed to be the fifth person.
So I was up at the crack of dawn this morning (Well, 6am - which is the crack of dawn for me!!) and, with strong coffee in hand, headed up to Soi 3 to meet up with everyone. It can take anything from 30 minutes to an hour to get there depending on the traffic which wasn't great for me......the longer it took the more nervous I got........I don't really do babies and I think I amused the others greatly when I said 'If it cries your going to have to tell me what to do!! ' followed by 'There is no way I am changing a nappy!!'
I'm not really sure what I was expecting (I think perhaps I've seen too many documentaries which show footage of kids living in hideous conditions with no toys) but the orphanage was lovely!! They have about 200 kids there ranging between 1 month old and about 3 years old and it had such a lovely feel to it. The kids were clean, well dressed as they get a lot of clothes donated, there was a big play area for them with swings and a shoot and they even had a toy library which I thought was brilliant. The downside is that there are enough staff to take care of the kids basic needs but not to give them the attention and stimulation that they really need in order to develop properly. When we arrived we were taken to one of the baby areas - there must have been about 14 babies lying on fluffy mats with their milk bottles propped up on pillows so that they could feed themselves - there were only two adults there to supervise!! (The amazing thing was that not one of them made a peep - if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I would never have believed that there were 14 babies in that room). (We were not allowed to take photo's of the babies but I found this one on a website about Pakkred)
Carolyn was handed the 1 month old little girl she has been assigned to (she is beautiful but does looks a little bit like a frog!!), Abbie has taken over the care of the boy that Louise was visiting so she went and got him and Jill, Allyson and I were given a baby each to look after.
So today I sat for two hours attempting to amuse a three month old little boy who looked like a small Japanese punk!! (He had jet black hair which stood straight up and had a small slant to his eyes which made him look more Japanese than Thai). Once I had got over my 'Oh my GOD it's a baby......what the hell do I do with it??' thing I decided that he was rather lovely. He was totally fascinated by me (probably thinking 'Who the hell is this weird pale lady with the funny hair??') - he lay there staring at me for ages and when I stuck my tongue out at him (well I didn't know what else to do....he was staring at me......I had to do something!!) he did it back......very funny!!!
Now, I want to say this before any of you start getting any funny ideas.....NO it did not make me want to have one of my own so you can stop getting excited/scared at the prospect!! A combination of Chris and I would not be a good idea - the hair alone would have people running for the hills screaming!!
These kids are all up for adoption (No......we're not going to adopt either!!) so it's really important that they are used to being handled, get some stimulation and get used to seeing white faces since most of the adoptions are to foreign couples. I'm going to go back and I have to say that my reaction surprised me.....I really thought I would hate it but when you see their wee faces......there is nothing else for it.......and I don't like kids!!!
For those of you that are interested - You have to be serious about going and visit at least once a week (obviously if you're going away you let them know in advance) and there are forms which you will need to complete. You will need to take a copy of your passport, your visa and provide three passport sized photo's of yourself - once you have done that you will then be assigned a particular child, given a visitors badge and all your information will be kept on file (and if you are looking to adopt and have come across this blog there is a webpage here that has some information - I have no idea if it will be helpful or not but I've put the link in anyway)