I was asked several questions the other day. Questions I actually had to ponder. They were:
Why did you decide to do volunteer?
Why do you believe in Maya’s Hope?
The thing with me is that I don’t do a lot of thinking, I just jump it. It has gotten me into so much trouble over the years it isn’t funny. My husband sees a situation coming and will give me little talk or a gesture saying “don’t do it.” But I do it anyway. If I see someone being treated unjustly – I say something. If a server in a restaurant is being nasty – I give it back to them. If I see an orphan treated badly – I write the Russian Embassy (true story). I am the person who writes her congressman and the editors of the paper. I want change and if no one else wants to change it, I have no problem doing so. When I saw that Maya’s Hope needed volunteers – I jumped in even though my life cannot handle any more responsibilities right now.
My life is full and like I said earlier, I do a lot of spontaneous things without thinking. I have ten month old twins (one with special needs), a high maintenance 8 year old, a husband and a full-time job with an hour commute attached to it. I go to bed at 11 at night and I am up at 5 in the morning. I have no time available and I am not exaggerating. Yet, the need to help was intense and I volunteered. Of course, I realized later what this entailed. But, I thought about it and realized it is possible. I had my lunch hour free and a lot can be done in an hour and a lot can be accomplished during that hour-long commute.
I laugh at people who say they don’t have time to volunteer. Everyone has an hour to donate. Everyone has an hour to make the lives of a child better. That reality TV show can be missed, the shopping trip can be combined with another, and you know that trip to Starbucks can be skipped here and there. It takes no time to make a donation, become a sponsor, or make a call for fundraising. No time at all.
Some of the following is hard to hear
I chose to volunteer at Maya’s Hope because I finally saw people actually make a difference for these children who suffer and live a loveless life due no fault of their own. Yes, there are many advocates for adoption out there with people always saying, “someone go get her” and “where is his mommy.” My problem is that despite good intentions, they never do anything productive. They never jump in to claim a child. They are like the rest of the world who whines and waits for someone else to make a change. If someone is advocating for a child to a group of people who are not looking to adopt what kind of response are you looking to gain? I saw Maya’s Hope as an organization that actually stepped up.
Yes, the main objective is to find parents for these children and get them out of these institutions. I am not denying that. But what about during the time they are waiting for parents (who may never come)? Should they still suffer while people on blogs are begging someone to step up? Should they be denied therapies, quality formulas, and proper caregivers while they wait? Many only complain about the conditions of the orphanages and the state that they live in. Many say we should protest, write letters, and make noise – but they don’t. A lot of talk with little action.
Finding Maya’s Hope
I found Reece’s Rainbow like so many others and I saw Reign and Salome. In my opinion, the worst of the worst and the most forgotten on the site. They didn’t have long glowing descriptions or several pictures like the others. The people of RR knew nothing about them. I decided I wanted to help the bedridden children hidden away in the farthest corner of the orphanage by people who believe they should be forgotten. I wanted to help the hopeless causes that people don’t value.
It took me a while, but I found out where “orphanage 50” was located. And it didn’t take me long after that to find Maya’s Hope. I must admit, I had never heard of it. But the website drew me in. Despite the bleak situations it helped, the website was bright pink and glittery – the happiest and most hopeful of colors. This is where I needed to be.
But, don’t forget I was looking for Reign or Salome and I wanted to help them. This website had a lot of pictures of the children of Kalinovka, but not those two. I tracked down the Happy Child Charity and found Mariya. After an email, she sent me a picture and told me their names were actually Yulia and Natasha. Later I received an email with a video of her. They became real, not a picture on the screen. Then, there came the ways to help them. It was wonderful and so gratifying to help someone on the other side of the world. I wanted to help more and more.
Maya’s Hope was making the difference with therapy, toys, quality formulas and money for surgeries. These children were getting help and the changes were clear. I wanted to be a part of. I contacted Maya and said I wanted to help. She said ‘yes.’
Why do you believe in Maya’s Hope?
I was challenged to ask myself why I believe in Maya’s Hope. Maya is a dreamer. She dares to see hope in the world. I see a big heart that wants to help others without having a personal agenda. Despite the fact that she lives in a city that is known to kill the soul and hope in humanity, she still pushes toward her dream. What is not motivating about that? How can someone not believe in that cause?
I want to instill that dream of hope into my 8 year-old daughter. She isn’t old enough to understand the world completely. She doesn’t know the cruelties and the fact that most people just don’t give a damn. She still thinks the best of people. She is naïve and innocent and it is a beautiful thing to behold. She believes in the changes she sees with the therapists. She sees the bedridden children smiling during massage and getting chubbier with better formulas provided by Maya’s Hope’s funding. She wants to help this “nice lady in NYC” who helps the children with like her brother. Her dream of a bake sale for Maya’s Hope has grown out of control, but she is still planning to go big for a good cause. Like Maya, she sees hope in the world.
We should all strive to make this world a better place, the type of place we thought the world was when we were children. If we don’t start with the most vulnerable of humans, than where? When I reflect on my daughter’s view of the world, her outlook isn’t naïve – it is how the world should be. Sadly, her view is slipping away day by day as she grows up. Eventually it will become what adults see – a harsh world that is often unjust and cruel to the weak. That isn’t fair and like I always do, I act without thinking.
I volunteered to help keep the world of her childhood alive.
Contributed by Heather Waits from Georgia, who just so happens to be a Guardian Angel.